How to create sound effects using AI

Discover the key to adding unique sound effects to your next video with the latest AI tools.

Whether it be the crash of thunder, the soft patter of rain, or a 'HA!' from a virtual audience, sound effects have become a staple of content creator videos. Adding a new level of entertainment and creativity, you can't scroll for more than five minutes without hearing the signature Ru Paul's Drag Race 'rattlesnake' drama noise or 'bruh' from the iconic Vine of the same name.

While many of the most popular sound effects have their roots in popular culture (like movies and TV) as well as meme culture and gaming, other sound effects might go unnoticed. That atmospheric weather sound, the sound of applause—all are so ubiquitous that they've become simply a part of our video landscape.

If you're a creator looking to take the next step in your video creation, using sound effects is a fantastic way to do so. While you could, of course, purchase expensive sound effects from a music library or harness the use of royalty-free templates, the best way to enjoy sound effects is by using the magic of AI.

A great AI sound effect generator will create unique sounds from text prompts with just the click of a button, adding the next level to your videos and turning them from amateur pieces to excellently-produced pieces of content. In this blog, we'll dive into what sound effects are used for in media content and how to create them for yourself using the latest AI tools.

What are sound effects used for?

Sound effects improve the overall quality of your video or audio by adding interesting and quirky nuances to an otherwise one-note affair. Think applause following a particularly salient point or the side-splitting sound of laughter after an excellent joke.

You could even add in a drum roll, a scream, or a horror-inducing beat. Whatever it is, with generative AI, you can create and develop sounds that convey exactly what you need to create the next viral sensation. But what is the purpose of spending time adding these effects?

Expressing emotion

Firstly, AI-generated sounds help you express happiness, disbelief, hilarity, or even fear with your audio or video – there's a sound effect for every conceivable emotion. Describe the moment in greater oral detail and encourage the emotion you want your viewers or listeners to feel with the right sound effect (such as a raucous round of applause).

Is something super cute happening on screen, like otters holding hands? An emphatic "aww" would work well here. How about a sad scene in an animation? Perhaps a light melody would suit.

The reactive sound effects don't always have to be positive, either. Express shock and horror with sounds like a door slamming or opening to build suspense or even creepy noises like creaking and nails on a chalkboard to immerse your audience.

Reacting with flair

Another powerful use of sound effects is to dramatize a reaction to an event on screen. Adding a sound effect as a funny aside to your narration will add impact to a particularly great clip.

Emphasize your message and enhance the audio for your audience, whether that message is "this is the funniest thing you've ever seen and I want to drive that home with the best sound effect I can find" or "this is how I'd like the audience to react, so I'm going to insert the relevant sound effect to encourage them to feel a certain way."

Ultimately, sound effects can heighten your audience's reaction to what they see before them. Cracking a joke or introducing a sad, emotive moment can be signaled with the correct sound.

Explore sound effects as editing tools

Beyond the usual, side effects can also be used to help your viewer follow the narration.

One way of doing this is by using sounds to split up clips or as a sign of moving on to the next part. For example, a sound effect that includes speech, such as "and now for something completely different" (referencing comedy geniuses Monty Python) could be applied along with extra background sound effects to make it your own.

Other creators make use of a 'swish' sound when their scene changes location or another form of sound to indicate that a scene is coming to an end. In this way, the sound effect acts as a subtle guide for your audience to follow the plot.

Creativity with no limits

Sound effects aren't just for vlogs or reaction videos; they have plenty of other creative uses too.

Musicians have always found inspiration in everyday noises for their music - just look at Pink Floyd! Their hit 'Money' features cash registers opening, receipts ripping, and coins clinking to set the musical stage for the rest of the track.

Take inspiration from the music greats and include your own sound effects to emphasize a point, create a beat, create a unique soundtrack, or more.

How to create AI sound effects

Traditionally, sound FX would be made by a Foley artist or sound designers using physical tools such as sticks, pinecones, car doors, and more to create the sounds of cracking knuckles, flapping wings, and more.

These days, Foley artists still play a huge part in post-production for films, but for YouTubers, social media content creators, and more, AI has become the go-to for sound effects.

Foley actors, while pioneers of film, music, and stage, are often expensive. Each actor requires a large day fee, and the best sound is always recorded in a state-of-the-art recording studio — another expensive addition.

AI sound effects, on the other hand, can be generated for low costs and in record time. The best AI sound effect generators only need a few seconds to generate precisely the effect you had in mind and can even be created from a short text prompt. This makes AI sound effects the best choice for YouTubers, TikTok creators, small businesses, and more.

ElevenLabs: AI text-to-speech for your YouTube videos

It's not just sound effects that AI tools can help content creators with. AI voice overs are another big opportunity to enhance and experiment with niche sounds and voices.

For YouTubers, TikTokers, and more, AI voices are a great way to expand the kind of content on offer, translate videos into multiple languages, and generate audio content that keeps the creator anonymous. TikTokers will already be familiar with the in-built text-to-speech functionality in the app, but what about when it comes to generating voiceovers for YouTube, in-house business videos, and more?

That's where ElevenLabs comes in - the world's most advanced text-to-speech software. ElevenLabs works by blending advanced artificial intelligence (AI) with the ability to inject emotional nuances. Its biggest advantage? How the hyper-realistic voices work to generate short- and long-form content, plus the incredible ability to fine-tune voice outputs to harmonize clarity, stability, expressiveness, and utility.

Put simply, ElevenLabs TTS always delivers speech that's incredibly human-like, and indeed, is often mistaken as such.

That's where ElevenLabs excels in adding the finishing touch to video and auditory content. In just a few clicks and a few minutes, content creators can take a script and turn it into an exceptionally crisp, professional-sounding voiceover in multiple languages.

Final thoughts

The human mind responds intuitively to sound, which is why content that makes use of creative, unique, and varied sound effects is always memorable and engaging.

In the past, sound effects were expensive, requiring months of expensive planning and recording to supplement a piece of film or movie. Nowadays, sound effects are free and widely available for every type of creator to harness, meaning that creating professional-level videos is easier than ever.

With open-sourcing trained AI software capable of giving you the data and sound algorithms you need to create sound effects that pack a punch on any device, all you need to do simply generate, download, and play.

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