Underneath any good video with animation or motion design, is great sound. It’s easy to overlook, but it makes the difference between a video that’s just pretty to look at, and one that’s truly immersive.
When something flies onto screen, you expect it to whooosh as it appears, and thump when it lands. These sounds aren’t easy to choose though, especially when you want the same high quality and attention to detail you’ve given every other aspect of a production.
That’s why I worked with the foley artists at Impossible Acoustic and the motion graphics experts at MoGraph Mentor to create Motion Sound, a sound effect library and accompanying app for adding sound to motion.
A little ways back I met Michael Jones, the founder of an online motion graphics school. He’d recently met Brendan Hogan who had been amassing a stockpile of original sounds, all painstakingly recorded by hand in the wild or synthesized in his studio. With Brendan’s experience doing foley and sound work for a range of agencies and films, Michaels’ experience deconstructing the elements of successful motion work, I knew we had a recipe for something great.
We spent the next couple months pouring through Brendan’s catalog of work, breaking things out into what would become a sort of periodic table of sound design.
We started with a simple splash page, accompanied by a video Michael produced that demoed a handful of the sounds all working together in chorus showcasing their variety and flexibility. We put an email signup on the site, and started reaching out to folks on Twitter. By tapping into Michael’s community of motion designers and enthusiasts, we started amassing a following pretty quickly.
Then we got to work on the full website. We started by breaking down the product from all angles, looking at all the ways it could provide value, and all the things that might get in the way of people wanting to grab a copy for themselves. From there we created an outline of key talking points, and used that to define the flow of the website’s homepage.
We also wanted to properly communicate the scope of the product. With over 2,100 sounds, and with our fairly rigorous categorization system, we felt like we’d developed a grand unified theory of motion sound, and we wanted a visual presentation that made this clear.
Technology-wise, we kept it simple, leaning on Gumroad for managing payment and fulfillment right from within the site. After iterating on the product, packaging, and presentation for a bit, we were ready to launch.
Motion Sound ran successfully and largely unmodified for several years, recouping our investment in the first several months, and going on to generate positive return for all involved.
During the pandemic with a little extra time on our hands, we started considering what v2 would look like. Brendan was cooking up a library 4x larger, and importantly, was working on a new standard taxonomy for motion sound effects to guide both his production and use by motion designers.
But we knew we couldn’t just toss that many sounds over the fence to customers in a ZIP file. Drawing inspiration from Streamline we started work on an app to browse and play sounds, save lists for different projects, and download lists into your audio editor.
Version 2 launched in 2022. Try it for yourself!