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Rork-n-scroll: A Guide to Scrolling Titles with Path Text

COW Library : Adobe After Effects Tutorials : Roland R. Kahlenberg : Rork-n-scroll: A Guide to Scrolling Titles with Path Text
Rork-n-scroll: A Guide to Scrolling Titles with Path Text



by Roland R. Kahlenberg, Singapore, Singapore
Video * Motion Graphics * Original Music

©2001 by Roland R. Kahlenberg. All rights are reserved. Used at CreativeCow.net by kind permission of the author.

Roland Kahlenberg

ARTICLE FOCUS:
As part of our Motion Graphics repertoire, we're occasionally requested to perform the traditional right-to-left and bottom-to-top text scrolls. Suffice it to say that it is one of the more frequent client-requests.

In this tutorial, Roland Kahlenberg explores a method to add some variation to the conventional look of a scroll while still maintaining a high level of legibility. Let's proceed.



Methodology:

Our main tool is Adobe After Effects built-in Path Text. With AE 4.1, Path Text added the capability to string the length of your text to follow the shape of a path. This path can be created in a layer's own Layer Window, or imported via Adobe Illustrator or even Photoshop.

A gentle warning though, the more complex your path, the more difficult it is (very likely impossible) to maintain a high level of legibility. It is an inherent deficiency within PathText itself. Having said that, I would like to add that it would be near impossible to find another software that will even allow for the basic alternative scroll that we'll be attempting.

For experienced AE users, you should just jump right in to the Final Comp to have a look at my settings. For the others, follow the routine below to gain more insight into the mechanics of this effect.

The Operation:

Let's start by creating a Comp in your preferred size. Add a Solid Layer to the newly created Comp and Apply PathText. Click on Options to type in your text. Type something short (about 4 words or 25 characters long in total) for this exercise. Keep in mind that our objective is to scroll beginning from off screen, start scrolling in from the bottom right; scroll upwards; make a left turn; and then continue scrolling left wards and exit to the left of our screen.

TIP: Choose a mono-spaced font for better legibility. I've chosen Courier for this example.

Now Double-click the Solid Layer in the Time line Window. This will open up the Layer Window, where you can now create a path for your text. NOTE: With AE 5, you can now create masks directly within the Composition Window. Create an open mask in the shape of a double inverted L. Start from the TOP LEFT and work your way to the BOTTOM RIGHT. This is a little counter intuitive, as we want our text to start from the bottom.

TIP: You'll need at least points mask points. With the Selection Tool selected, press CTRL while the cursor is at a mask point to change the straight point into a curve. See image to the right to see what the double inverted L-shaped path looks like.

Now close the Layer Window and select the same layer from the Time line. Then press F3. This is a shortcut key that opens up a layer's Effects Window. Click on the dropdown box next to the Path Parameter, and select the Mask that you have just created. At this point, ensure that Perpendicular to Path and Vertical Writing are deselected.

This tells PathText to conform your text string to the shape of the mask. The trick then is to add a two keyframes to the Left Margin. Go to the start of your Time line and create a keyframe for the Left Margin, or simply click on the text Left Margin from within the Effects Window. Now go to the end of your timeline and add another keyframe.

Jump back to the start of your Timeline, by pressing the Home key. Now increase the value for Left Margin until the top of your text just sticks out at the bottom of the screen. Then Option+Scub in the Timeline Window to get a near realtime update of your scroll. Select on Perpendicular to Path to get a slight variation. To speed up the speed of your scroll, simply go to the second keyframe and type in a value less than zero.

Here's the movie:


Well folks, now that you've found this little gem, go ahead and do some cool scrolls of your own. And if you've used this tutorial to create something cool, then do send it to the COW so that we can see the fruits of our labor.

And don't forget to come back for more fun tutorials at CreativeCOW.net.

Cheers and God Bless.








Roland Kahlenberg is the co-founder www.aefreemart.com and is now a herd leader in the Adobe After Effects COW. Pop in to comment on this article or ask questions.




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Comments

Re: Rork-n-scroll: A Guide to Scrolling Titles with Path Text
by Bianca Kloos
Im am confused by the end bit "left margin". I dont know where I must place the keyframes, in which property. Can enyone explain this in more detail? Please note im am using CS5.


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