I would like to make a YouTube video that has a music visualizer on it (like in Monstercat videos), but I don't want to have to pay for After Effects. Is there a free way to do it? I know I can get the trial, but I want to be able to use it more than 30 days from now. Also, I'm using OS X, so whatever it is can't be Windows only.

  • I've done some research, but haven't found a program that does this, free or not, other than After Effects. Other programs have visualizations reminiscent of Milkdrop, and simply save those to video. The closet thing I managed to find is zgameeditor.org If you want videos like Monstercat and most other music-based YouTube channels, I'm afraid you'll need After Effects.
    – mmphilips
    Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 21:27
  • I was afraid of that... Oh well. :/ Thanks for the help. Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 22:03
  • 1
    Related... video.stackexchange.com/questions/9644/…
    – AJ Henderson
    Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 23:23

11 Answers 11


A free alternative for After Effects is Jashaka. It runs on every plattform and has some decent features. While it wont have the comfort of after effects for creating such an effect its certainly possible.

If you just don't want to spend all that much but still willing to pay a small price you can go for Apple Motion which costs 50$ and is a fairly powerful tool for animation and motion graphics for the price. https://www.apple.com/final-cut-pro/motion/

Also here a tutorial on how make something react to music in Apple Motion: http://www.larryjordan.biz/motion-5-make-audio-move-video/

I personally have not worked in detail with both software so I can not give you guidance for actually creating the animation, expect for this tutorial.

  • While these may both answer the question, it isn't currently clear if/how those tools can be used to produce a music visualizer. It's probably ok as is, but if you can add any more detail on what effects can produce visual output from audio input, it would greatly improve the utility of this answer.
    – AJ Henderson
    Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 23:28
  • Also worth pointing out that Jashaka may possibly be a good answer for video.stackexchange.com/questions/7047/….
    – AJ Henderson
    Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 23:30
  • True, I read it more as a question asking for an alternative tool. Not how exactly to do it.
    – timonsku
    Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 23:33
  • @AJHenderson Jahshaka seems to be a bit of a dead project.
    – stib
    Commented Apr 27, 2014 at 14:02
  • Jahshaka looked good but it seems impossible to install on Linux. The installer is insanely buggy.
    – Ken Sharp
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 17:29

Quartz Composer is free part of the apple developer kit. this can allow you to create music visualizers. In fact, the music visualizers that are defaulted in itunes are quartz composer files.

  • Can quartz composer be used to make a video file? This question is more concerned with software that can make a video file that visualizes music than making a software product.
    – AJ Henderson
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 22:32
  • I have not used it much, but I think you could record the output of a composition which you could then sync to the audio track
    – sww1235
    Commented May 18, 2014 at 17:17

It's possible create using blender, watch this:


You can add a music visualizer to videos for free online using VEED. (Disclaimer, I am the developer of this software)


According to the this article, iTunes has a music visualizer. You would still need to get screen recording software (unless you want to point a camera at your monitor!). I'm sure that someone has asked about free screen recording software on this forum somewhere.

  • I know it does, but I was looking for a way to add a bar visualizer over a video. Sorry. Commented Apr 26, 2014 at 17:03

Another idea would be to use something like Fraps or some other screen capture or screen casting utility to capture the playback of a visualizer in a music player of your choice. The exact combinations of software to use would likely depend on your choices in music player though.

I know Fraps will only work with ones that are DirectX based.


Processing can do it, if you're not afraid of Java. There's a demonstration processing sketch that comes included with the application that does a frequency spectrum bar graph. It's relatively easy to save the output of a processing sketch to a video file. And it's free.


It's possible to screen record on macs for free using the program quick time. All you need to do is select File -> New Screen Recording and then you're good.

You can use this with any normal full screen visualizer of your choice.


For simple music visualization videos for YouTube, you could check out https://www.musicvideodispenser.com.

It automatically generates a finished video based on an mp3 file you provide.

Disclaimer: I'm one of the creators of the service.

  • Link is broken.
    – soundflix
    Commented Jan 17 at 22:20

A free Alternative for After effects(for audio spectrum like in Monstercat)


would be Sonic Candle.Its an open source project.You will need Java version 8 or higher in order to run.Best feature is the customizable bar visualizers.

Best alternative recommended is Rainmeter .You can add the Monstercat Visualizer by Marco Pixel Downloading from here.Just add it and customize to the way you want.


  • Customizable

  • Quick & Easy


  • No export option
  • You will need an extra monitor or you will have to hide all the icons when streaming or monitor capturing(The only choice)

Recommended: You can Screen capture the rainmeter(Saves time than rendering time in AE).


foobar2k themes and some video tricks is something that I've used for streams. It in involves using a foobar theme with a distinct background color like this: very bright green foobar2k 2 important things though:

  1. You have a foobar window design with a visualizer on the bottom.

  2. The gradient on the bars is black to white.

Afterwards in editing you change the Hue and Saturation of the visualizer and trim out what you don't need. If you want something really small, you can also use the visualizer at the very top the foobar window.

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