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Animating type tracking

Next, you’ll animate the appearance of the director’s name in the composition using a text animation tracking preset. By animating tracking, you can make words seem to expand outward as they appear onscreen from a central point.

Customizing placeholder text

Currently, the director’s name is simply a layer with placeholder text—Your Name Here. Before you animate it, change it to your own name.

  1. Switch to the credits timeline in the Timeline panel, and select the Your Name Here layer.
  2. Select the Horizontal Type tool (type.jpg), and then replace Your Name Here in the Composition panel with your own name. Use a first, middle, and last name so that you have a nice long string of text to animate. Click the layer name when you’re done.

Applying a tracking preset

Now you will animate the director’s name with a tracking preset so that it starts to appear onscreen shortly after the words directed by reach the center of the composition.

  1. Go to 7:10.
  2. Select the Your Name Here layer in the Timeline panel.
  3. Jump to Adobe Bridge, and go to the Presets/Text/Tracking folder. Double-click the Increase Tracking preset to apply it to the Your Name Here layer in After Effects.

  4. Drag the current-time indicator across the time ruler between 7:10 and 9:10 to manually preview the tracking animation.

Customizing the tracking animation preset

The text expands, but you want the letters to be so close initially that they’re on top of each other, and then to expand to a reasonable, readable distance apart. The animation should also occur faster. You’ll adjust the Tracking Amount to achieve both goals.

  1. Select the Your Name Here layer in the Timeline panel, and press UU to reveal the properties that were modified.
  2. Go to 7:10.
  3. Under Animator 1, change the Tracking Amount to −5 so that the letters are squeezed together.

  4. Click the Go To Next Keyframe arrow (go_to_next_kf.jpg) for the Tracking Amount property, and then change the value to 0.

  5. Drag the current-time indicator across the time ruler between 7:10 and 8:10. The letters expand as they appear onscreen, and stop animating at the last keyframe.
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