Motion graphics help give more life and motion (literally) to anything ranging from title credits and presentations to projects that fall under the multimedia category. As a result, the sounds you add to these sequences can range from adding simple swooshes, pops and bangs all the way to full-blown audio sequences.
Similarly, this can be as simple as adding a swoosh to an animated title or slide transition in a presentation. Here is a classic swoosh sound that would be equally at home in a fight scene, accompanying a title sequence.
Another example of audio complementing a title sequence, the Marvel Studios introduction from the first “Iron Man” movie uses the sound of pages flipping and whooshing as the Marvel name flashes. Likewise, this gives the comic book style graphics more physicality and reinforces its look and feel.
Try it for yourself by editing and blending the page flipping sounds from the links at the end of this article.
Some browsing required
Once you have an idea of the type of sound that you want to use, you should take the time to browse and compare different variations. Furthermore, pick sounds that naturally fit your graphic. Look for clips that are close to the right duration and fit the overall style. Also, blending sounds is not uncommon, just remember to compare and contrast.
Try to use uncompressed files like WAVE or AIFF when possible. Compressed formats introduce unwanted compression artifacts and reduce fidelity.
These sounds are additive elements and most often sit a little further back in the mix. Avoid competing with dialogue and drowning out other sounds. First of all, this doesn’t mean that you should never give prominence to certain sounds. The accompanying sound effect can be pushed forward in the mix when using graphics as exclamations, for example. Just think back to the original “Batman” television series’ “POWs” and “BANGS”.
Likewise, you can also try panning sounds when working with a graphic that enters from either side and moves across the screen. A coordinating sound will give the graphic a greater feeling of movement. You can quickly tell if this adds value to your scene.
You can widen an effect’s profile with stereo imaging plugins that can change the stereo spread and give it a wider sound. The sound could still be centered but would be perceived as having more width or presence.
Finally, reverb and delay can be used to create scale. Imagine a graphic dropping in a like a giant weight — wouldn’t it be great if we used a bit of reverb or delay to give the imposing thud or bang a little bit more staying power?
What about music?
While being too continuous to be considered a one-shot effect, music can be used to create similar results. Seems like Monty Python’s Holy Grail uses several music beds to play along with the ever-increasing shenanigans taking place in the title text until the produces give up and switch to a bright blaring screen.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of commonly-used sound effects and where to find them. Use this list as a starting point when building your sound effects library. And don’t be afraid to manipulate the base sounds to better fit your production.
- Cartoon pop
- Magical zing with chimes
- Bamboo swoosh
- Classic bass drop
- Dirty bass drop
- Picture frame shattering
- Glass shattering
- Fast page flipping
- Slow page flipping
- Air raid siren
- Fire alarm
- Wilhelm Scream
- Female scream
- Male scream
- Crowd screaming
- Single gunshot
- Machine gun burst
- Heavy machine gun
- Car explosion