Saturday, 8 November 2014

How to Use Sound Files in Maya - a Guide for Animators

Sine wave. Image: Wikipedia

Maya is a wonderful piece of software but its audio tools are not especially sophisticated. You only get one audio track, and it will only accept certain kinds of audio files (wavs and iffs).  So, how exactly should an animator approach the use of audio files in Maya? Below is our handy guide which should answer most of the vital questions.

What kind of sound files can you use in Maya?

1. wav files
2. .iff files

How to load sound files into Maya:

1. Copy the sound file to your Maya project audio folder

2. File/import/wav

3. In the Maya timeline, right click on the sound file and select it.

How Do You Adjust the timing of the Audio in the timeline?

1. Right click in the timeline on the audio file, select the options box

2. Change the offset values to adjust the audio timing.

3. Adjust the Offset. +10 to advance 10 frames. -10 to regress 10 frames.

How do you delete sound files?

1. Window/animation editors/trax editor

2. Select the audio file and delete it.

How do you edit a audio or sound clip? (You cannot do this in Maya)

1. Online: Allows you to edit sound files online.

2. Quick Time Pro is simple to use and good for editing clips.

3. Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro

Where can you find free sound effects online?




How Do You Convert a MP3 file into a wav?

1. will convert .mp4 files to .wav

2. Adobe Sound Booth

What If Maya doesn’t like your wav file?

1. Try opening the file in Quick Time Pro, or Premiere, and exporting it as a new wav file.

2. Go to and export it as a new wav file, or an .iff file

I want to record a voice-over. What shall I do?

1. Garage Band is good. Go to the podcast settings, and select male narrator.

2. You can use the microphone in your computer, but it is better to buy an external mike; you will get much better quality.

Why Doesn’t my Audio Work in Maya? – Troubleshooting Guide

1. Have you copied the sound file to your project folder?

2. Is it a .wav or a .iff file? If one kind does not work, try converting into the other

3. Have you tried converting it online using

4. Have you tried adjusting the offset?

For more on the experience of studying at Bucks New University, come and visit us at one of our Open Days,  take a virtual tour of one of our animation studios, check out what our students think of our course, and see why we're ranked in the top 12 creative universities in the UK. Find out why we're giving free laptops to all our students, and why we give all our students free access to videos at Also, see what financial assistance might be available to you. Learn which is better for animation, a PC or a Mac? Get hold of a copy of a map so you can find your way around campus, and learn about motion capture at Bucks.  

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