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Using a text animator group

Text animator groups let you animate individual letters within a block of text in a layer. You’ll use a text animator group to animate only the characters in your middle name without affecting the tracking and opacity animation of the other names in the layer.

  1. In the Timeline panel, go to 8:10.
  2. Hide the Opacity property for the Your Name Here layer. Then expand the layer to see its Text property group name.
  3. Next to the Text property name, click the Animate pop-up menu, and choose Skew.

    A property group named Animator 2 appears in the layer’s Text properties.

  4. Select Animator 2, press Enter or Return, and rename it Skew Animator. Then press Enter or Return again to accept the new name.


    Now you’re ready to define the range of letters that you want to skew.

  5. Expand the Skew Animator’s Range Selector 1 properties.

    Each animator group includes a default range selector. Range selectors constrain the animation to particular letters in the text layer. You can add additional selectors to an animator group, or apply multiple animator properties to the same range selector.

  6. While watching the Composition panel, drag the Skew Animator’s Range Selector 1 Start value up (to the right) until the left selector indicator (sel_ind_l.jpg) is just before the first letter of your middle name (the B in Bender, in this example).
  7. Drag the Skew Animator’s Range Selector 1 End value down (to the left) until its indicator (sel_ind_r.jpg) is just after the last letter of your middle name (the r in Bender, in this example) in the Composition panel.

Now, any properties that you animate with the Skew Animator will affect only the middle name that you selected.

Skewing the range of text

Now, make that middle name shake and shimmy by setting Skew keyframes.

  1. Drag the Skew Animator’s Skew value left and right, and notice that only the middle name sways. The other names in the line of text remain steady.
  2. Set the Skew Animator’s Skew value to 0.
  3. Go to 8:05, and click the stopwatch icon (stopwatch.jpg) for Skew to add a keyframe to the property.

  4. Go to 8:08, and set the Skew value to 50. After Effects adds a keyframe.

  5. Go to 8:15, and change the Skew value to −50. After Effects adds another keyframe.

  6. Go to 8:20, and change the Skew value to 0 to set the final keyframe.

  7. Click the Skew property name to select all of the Skew keyframes. Then choose Animation > Keyframe Assistant > Easy Ease to add an Easy Ease to all keyframes.

  8. Drag the current-time indicator across the time ruler from 7:10 to 8:20 to see how the director’s name fades in and expands onscreen, and the middle name rocks side to side while the other names are unaffected.
  9. Hide the properties for the Your Name Here layer in the Timeline panel.
  10. Select the Road_Trip_Title_Sequence tab to open its timeline.
  11. Press End, or move the current-time indicator to 9:29. Then press N to set the end bracket for the work area at the end of the composition.
  12. Press Home, or go to 0:00, and then play a RAM preview of the entire composition.
  13. Press the spacebar to stop playback, and then choose File > Save to save your work.
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