Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Animating Text

As you learned in Chapter 2, text in After Effects is set up with a wide range of properties that you can animate. In this chapter, you’ll explore a few more text animation techniques.

star.jpg ACA Objective 4.2

star.jpg ACA Objective 4.6

To follow along with the videos, first add a solid layer to the existing composition as demonstrated in Video 3.4. You created a solid layer earlier in this book, so you already know what to do. As you create this solid layer, use the default settings except for the following differences:

  • Set the Height to 200 pixels.

  • Set the Color to a blue color.

  • After you create the solid, lower its Opacity value.

In Video 3.4, the blue color is set using hexadecimal (hex) color values. Using hex color values isn’t a requirement for animation or video editing in After Effects. You can specify color values using any of the color models that you find in the color picker (Figure 3.4).


Figure 3.4 Entering color values in the color picker shows you the equivalent color values in other color models.

You’ll probably find that the RGB color model is more commonly used for specifying color values for animation and video. Hexadecimal color is commonly used in web design. If a client or art director gives you color values in any of the color models available in the color picker, you can enter those values in the color picker to see the equivalent color values in any of the other available color models.

What are hexadecimal color values? Unlike values expressed using the ten digits (0–9) of a decimal number system or the two digits (0 and 1) of a binary number system, a hexadecimal number system uses 16 digits (0–9 and then A through F). Hex values are common in web design because computer programmers are accustomed to working with numbers using hex values.

Adjusting Text Spacing

The text animation exercise shown in Video 3.5 is similar to the text animation you created in Chapter 2. Set it up by adding two separate text layers, such as a first and last name, over the blue solid layer as shown in Video 3.5, formatting the text as needed to make it fit within the blue layer (Figure 3.5).


Figure 3.5 Setting up text layers for the animation.

If you need to review the text formatting options available in the Character panel, see “Exploring the Character Panel” in Chapter 2.

One possible area of confusion is how to control spacing. There’s more than one kind of spacing that you can apply to text in the Character panel. Here’s a quick review:

  • Tracking. When you want to add or subtract the same amount of space across all selected characters, adjust tracking. This is the option adjusted in Video 3.5.

  • Kerning. When you want to adjust the spacing between two characters, click the Horizontal Type Tool between them and adjust the Kerning value.

  • Leading. When you want to adjust the spacing between lines of text on the same text layer, select them and adjust the Leading value. Note that this doesn’t apply to the text set up in Video 3.5, because the two lines of text that you see are actually two separate text layers of one line each. To adjust the spacing between those lines of text, you can change the vertical Position value of each text layer.

Applying a Text Animation Preset

By now, you know that you can animate the characters in a text layer by setting up keyframes for the property you want and changing the value of that property over time. For example, you could animate the Tracking property so that characters move closer together or farther apart over time.

Fortunately, it isn’t always necessary to animate properties manually. Remember the background presets you tried earlier? After Effects also offers text animation presets, and they work in a similar way.

To apply a text animation preset:

  1. Set the current time to the time when you want the animation to start.

  2. Select a text layer.

  3. Choose Browse Presets from the Effects & Presets panel menu to open the Presets folder in Adobe Bridge.

  4. In Adobe Bridge, open the Text folder.

  5. Open the folder for the text animation preset category containing the effect you want. In Video 3.5, the Animate In folder is opened in order to apply the Characters Shuffle In animation preset.

  6. Double-click the effect you want to apply, such as Characters Shuffle In.

    The animation preset should now be applied to the selected text layer in After Effects (Figure 3.6).

    FIGURE 3.6

    Figure 3.6 The Characters Shuffle In text animation preset applied to a text layer

  7. Apply a different text animation preset to the other text layer.

Animating Text Both In and Out

Notice that the text animation presets include both Animate In and Animate Out preset groups. So far, you’ve applied different Animate In presets to each layer. You can also apply Animate Out presets to the same text layers. All you have to do is make sure you set the current time to a frame after the last keyframe of the Animate In preset—in other words, after the Animate In preset stops playing.

If there isn’t enough composition time remaining to accommodate an Animate Out preset, you can extend the composition time as demonstrated in Video 3.6.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account