Using sound to enhance animation

Sound enhances animation, transforming visuals into fully immersive experiences. While animation relies primarily on visual storytelling, sound engages additional senses, enhancing emotional depth and drawing audiences into the narrative.


Setting the mood and creating an atmosphere

One of the primary roles of sound in animation is to build emotional resonance. A soundtrack can establish mood and atmosphere, directly influencing how audiences perceive a scene. A cheerful, whimsical tune can create a sense of adventure; an eerie, low-pitched score makes us feel tension. Even subtle atmospheric sounds like cars beeping or birds singing help us picture the setting and make it come to life, as demonstrated in an animation we created for Woodberry Wetlands, ‘Connect with nature – boost your wellbeing’. 

Sound libraries such as Premium Beats or pond5.com provide access to a range of music, and then sound effects can be added to build the atmosphere. 

For projects with larger budgets, we work with a sound studio, allowing our clients to participate in the voiceover recording and provide feedback throughout the process, such as suggesting adjustments to pace or intonation.


Bringing characters to life

Voice acting and narration are critical components, breathing life into scripts and animated characters by offering distinct personalities and emotional depth. Voice actors use tone, pitch, and intonation to convey emotions not easily portrayed through visuals alone. This ensures audiences connect with characters on a deeper level. Meanwhile, sound effects enhance character actions and mannerisms, such as a distinctive laugh, quirky footsteps, or signature catchphrases.


Script narration

In a previous article exploring the animation process, we discussed the importance of developing a script that correctly conveys your message and creating a voiceover tone that complements it. This feature will influence the overall effect of the animation. We work with several voiceover artists to find the right fit.


Pacing and story structure

Sound design also shapes pacing and story structure by emphasising the rhythm of crucial scenes. A gradual rise in music builds anticipation, while sudden silences can make a big reveal even more dramatic. Whether it’s a thrilling chase scene or a quiet conversation between friends, the rhythm of the soundtrack helps guide viewers through the emotional ups and downs.


Home recording opportunities for voice artists

Thanks to technology, voice artists can now create high-quality recordings from home. Setting up a home recording studio with affordable microphones, soundproofing materials, and editing software is relatively simple and affordable. This flexibility allows them to produce professional recordings at their own pace, save on studio rental costs, and cater to clients remotely. Home recording studios are a cost-effective solution for short-form animations.


A note on the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on voice artists

AI has mixed effects on many industries; voice artistry is no exception. On the plus side, AI-generated synthetic voices can broaden opportunities by automating dubbing and text-to-speech tasks, allowing voice artists to work on bigger, more creative projects. This tech also helps them expand their reach into new markets. 

However, there’s a downside, too. Since AI can convincingly replicate voices, it raises concerns about job security and fair remuneration. Artists worry their voices will be used without permission, affecting their earnings. Plus, the rise of synthetic voices could reduce demand for human performers. Finding a balance between tech and ethics is vital – not only to ensure fair practices but also for creating authentic, creative content.


In summary

Sound transforms animation into immersive experiences by setting the mood, enhancing emotional depth, and shaping pacing. Voice actors bring characters and scripts to life, while everyday sounds build rich worlds.