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Part One: Animating a Signature using Photoshop and Premiere

COW Library : Adobe Photoshop Tutorials : Leonard King : Part One: Animating a Signature using Photoshop and Premiere
Part One: Animating a Signature using Photoshop and Premiere
CreativeCOW Photoshop/Premiere Tutorial

Part 1:Animating a Signature using Photoshop and Premiere
Leonard King Leonard King
Brisbane Australia

©2003 Leonard King and CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.


Article Focus:
One of the questions that gets asked time and again by users of Adobe Premiere involves creating animated handwritten text. Most of the time the immediate response is “look into buying After Effects.” However, if the budget doesn't stretch to new software, it is possible to create a quality handwritten text effect in Premiere, albeit using Photoshop, and a fair bit of work. In this article, Leonard King guides us through the steps. This is part One of a two part tutorial.


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Step one: Create your text in Photoshop



To start, make black foreground and white background.
Create a new picture using your project resolution standards with a white background.

Type in your text in the position you want it to be on screen. For this example I'm using the “Ancestry SF” font and the “Brushed Metal” action available from the Adobe Exchange site. You don't need to be as elaborate, but something other than plain text looks nice.

Make sure the text and the background are on different layers. If you intend on putting a drop shadow/black glow around your text make sure that it also goes on a separate layer. You can do this by selecting the type layer with the drop shadow, then selecting menu/layer/layer style/create layer. Voila! Your drop shadow is on a separate layer.

Note: Take note of the setting for the drop shadow blur. It will be used again later in the tutorial.

Create a new layer, above the background and below the text, and fill it with black. Name it “Track Matte”

Finally, use the magic wand tool on the text layer to create a selection of the text. Make sure you get all the inner areas of your text by going to menu/select/similar, then menu/select/inverse. Save the selection (menu/selection/save selection.) When prompted name it “text alpha” or something equally as entertaining. I've called it “alpha, but we don't use the alpha channel for anything in this exercise. It's just a name.

With the selection still active, on the “Track Matte” layer, fill the selection with white (menu/edit/fill). Turn off that layer for now.

Deselect the selection.


Figure 1.1


What we wind up with is three layers; the text layer, which I've imaginatively called “text”, the drop shadow, again stretching my powers of eloquence to call “drop shadow” and the “Text Matte” layer. The white background is also there, but we won't really use it for anything. See figure 1.1


Step Two: Creating the gradients



The point of this exercise is to animate the text using Premiere’s “Gradient Wipe” feature. To achieve this, we need to create gradients and lots of ‘em.

Turn off the “Drop Shadow” layer. Choose the pencil tool from the tool window. Pencil works better for me than paintbrush because it stays opaque from centre to edge, whereas paintbrush creates a slight gradient from the centre. Using the paintbrush tool will give you the “incredible expanding text” effect when you use it as a gradient wipe, rather than just look like it's being written on.

With the pencil tool selected, have a look up to the top right corner for the “brushes” dialog box. With it brought forward you get to see the range of possibilities Photoshop gives you for creating brush effects. Have a play around if you have time. Some of them are pretty funky.


Figure 1.2

For us, however, we need only a few options. First up, make sure your brush is circular, and of a width that can cover the widest parts of the section of text you are working on in a single pass. Then go down the brushes menu to “Other Dynamics” and click on it. Click the box next to it to turn it on. Make sure none of the other boxes for any of the other menu items are checked. Make sure “Opacity Jitter” is set to 0%, set the “Control” drop down box to “Fade” and select a reasonable number in the box next to it for the number of steps for the fade to happen. For short parts, something like 50 is fine. For longer parts on large text, you may need to use upwards of 400 or 500. See figure 1.2

Try drawing on the frame with your pencil tool. It should start black and fade through grey to white. This is how we're going to create our gradient. You will notice, however, that while the pencil is fine for the thicker parts of the text, it creates problems on the thinner parts of the text, and in areas where the letters cross over themselves.

Create a new layer. Name it appropriately. As I am intending to start with the first piece of the letter “C” I have called it “C matte 1”, once again proving that simple is often the best.

Click on this layer to select it. Then load the text selection. Suddenly we have a mask to restrain the pencil tool in the thinner areas of the text.


Figure 1.3

Choose the pencil tool if not already selected. Starting off the edge of the text selection, draw over the first part of the text. In my situation I have drawn over the tail of the “C”, across the main body of the letter and stopped at the top of the loop.

(Note: The pencil tool has an alarming property whereby it shifts between foreground and background colour. Should you be trying to draw black and it's drawing white, just go to the history palette, go back a step, and try again.)

You should have a line following the shape of the text that starts black and begins to noticeably fade to grey. See figure 1.3. Where the text crosses over itself, trim the spill with the eraser. The gradient line should follow the shape of the text as if it was being written on - the whole point of the exercise.

Turn off that layer, create a new layer and name it appropriately; in my case “C matte 2”. Do the same again, continuing from where you left off with the last stroke.

When you've done that and trimmed up the overlap, continue on with each stroke on a layer of its own.


Figure 1.4

The main body of text probably won't need new a new layer for each letter. See figure 1.4. It moves so quickly you probably won't notice spill in those areas, but you can make things easy on yourself. Most of the time its best to keep the + in the middle of the pencil tool in the centre of the text, but occasionally, when text curves and flows back on itself, you can keep the + on the inside curve, minimizing the amount of spill outside the stroke of the letter.

If you make mistakes, don't completely cover the text, or the fade isn't set correctly, just go back using the history function and do it again.


Figure 1.5

One thing you should be aware of, however, is crosses, such as in a letter “t”, or dots, such as an “i”. They really do deserve their own matte, making sure that the matte on the main body of the letter does not spill onto this area.

Step three: Output



By the time you finish you should have the original three layers, and any number of matte layers. I wound up with 7; two each for both of the capital C’s, one each for the body of text for each word, and one for the cross and dot on the t and i. Now we need to output each of these matte layers as separate files. It's best, however, to make sure your original stays in one piece. If you haven't done it already, make sure you save the file now!

Uncheck the eyeballs for each layer except the first matte layer. You should have a segment of gradient on a transparent background. Head on up to menu/layer/flatten image. Answer “yes” when the program asks if you want to discard hidden layers. You now should have that segment of gradient on a white background. Making sure there is no selection active, trim up any spill that may have occurred using the eraser tool. See figure 1.6. Save the file as the same name you gave that layer, just to make things easier to remember. MAKE SURE YOU REMEMBER WHERE YOU SAVE THESE FILES!!


Figure 1.6



Figure 1.7


In the history tool, go back to the step before you flattened the image, bringing back all your layers. Deselect the eyeball on the first matte, and select the second. Do the same as you did with the first matte, then repeat for each matte layer. See figure 1.7.

If you like you can also output the three original layers as individual files, however I chose not to, as we'll see next time

In part two we'll take the individual components you've worked so hard to create and put them together in Premiere.




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Comments

hi
by majoran szabolcs
i am from eastern europe and i've read your tutorial about handwriting in adobe photoshop an adobe premiere. I'm not using adobe premiere, i use sony vegas.
there is a site http://www.showstoppersfx.com where i've found a handwriting animation and i couldnt buy it beacuse they cant send it to romania.
my questions are:
1.how can i change the colour of the fonts to gold whitout making any backgrounds.The animation background must be the scene that ive shooted.
2.How can i put the stars and the magic wand that is writing te charachters ( like in the site above )
Thank you very much.


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