Universal Audio

  • Compatibility After Effects
    Please check exact version compatibility under the "COMPATIBILITY" tab below

Author: Steve Lewis

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Quick Overview

Now with KBar support and over 10 new features! Timing animations to VO or music? Make audio flow through all your comps with one button, always giving you audio reference along with markers to animate to, no matter where you are in your project.

Always Universal.

Animating or editing in time to music or voice can become a tedious process when working inside precomps, you may end up jumping back and forth between your main comp and your precomps, awkwardly placing markers at key points or copying your audio into your precomps and making sure it's always lined up correctly. Let's not even go into the times when you're working inside comps nested even deeper.

Get audio reference anywhere in your project with one click and never break your creative flow when timing to sound. The audio reference compensates for comp layers that have been retimed, stretch and even time remapped by applying stretch and time remap adjustments onto the reference audio that cancel out any stretch or time remap from within that comp layer. It also maintains any markers from your audio layers and providing several useful options, such as including time indicators on the reference layer, and providing visual reference throughout your nested comps to help you time to an animatic wherever you are.

KBar Support

Any of the Universal Audio buttons can be added to KBar, the functions available to KBar are named universalize, refresh, remove, options and view. This script also comes with icons for the KBar buttons to use.

The Panel


The Universalize Button

Select your audio then click this button and that audio will be placed into a new UA comp, which will then be spread into all the comps layers in your main comp, and timed to exactly line up with that main audio, all the UA layers throughout your project will be guide layers, so you never need to worry about this affecting your final render. Hold ALT while clicking this button and previous UA will remain in place while it adds a new set of UA. Rename the UA comp in the project panel and that name will be used for all UA layers throughout your project, allowing you to have different trees of audio in different comps at the same time.

Enable "single comp mode" in the settings and this will behave differently, with single comp mode enabled, UA only gets placed in the currently viewed comp, you no longer need to select any audio, the script works backwards from this currently open comp to pull any audio it finds in each parent comp until it reaches the primary comp, ie. The comp that has not been used in any other comps.


The Refresh Button

Clicking this button will update the timing and settings of all the UA layers so they match any changes you may have made to comps throughout your project.


The Remove Button

Clicking this button will remove all the UA from your project, if you have multiple UA added, then you can hold ALT while clicking this and it will only remove the latest UA.


The View Source Button

Clicking this button will take you to the comp that contains the audio that you made universal, your primary comp. If you have multiple UAs then clicking this multiple times will cycle through the source of each UA, you can also select a UA layer and hold ALT while clicking this and it will take you one comp backwards from the current comp, while also highlighting the layer that the selected UA was pushed into, ie the layer of the comp you just had open, you can use this to step backwards through the audio tree. This button also acts as a handy shortcut to take you to your main comp from wherever you are in your project.


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Overview Tutorial

After Effects 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, CC 2019, CC 2018, CC 2017, CC 2015.3, CC 2015, CC 2014, CC, CS6, CS5.5, CS5, CS4, CS3