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Path Text: Advanced Settings

Path Text: Advanced Settings Path Text: Advanced Settings


from CreativeCow.net's ''25 Cool Things about After Effects 5.5'' Series


Path Text: Advanced Settings
Ben Unguren Ben Unguren,
Provo, Utah, USA

©2002 by Ben Unguren and CreativeCow.net. All rights are reserved.

Article Focus:
With version 5.5 of After Effects, Adobe has included some new features in the path-text filter that can be quite cool SUCH AS THE ABILITY TO TREAT TEXT CHARACTERS AS INDIVIDUAL OBJECTS, BUT RETAIN THEIR CONNECTION TO A PATH. In this tutorial, Ben Unguren demonstrates how to use the filter to generate a dancing type-on effect.


Download Movie Project file Download Stuffit Expander for Windows

This tutorial assumes you are familiar with the basics of After Effects, such as keyframing, previewing animations, and applying motion blur. If you are unfamiliar with these things, by all means continue, but be ready to do some consulting with the book or online help!
Four sections follow:
1. set up path text
2. typing it in
3. making text dance
4. little tweaks



- - - - - set up path text - - - - -


Download the project files, and open the START HERE.aep file. Apply the path text effect to Solid 1 in the path text composition.

click to enlarge
 

Choose your favorite font, and type in a nice long message, such as the one shown.

NOTE: in After Effects 5.5, path text can now have multiple lines of text. Press the return key (PC: enter key on the main keyboard) to make a new line, and the enter key (PC: on the numeric keyboard) to complete the operation.


Set the basic text controls:

Set your fill color (I'm using a dark brown)

Change the shape type from bezier to line

Adjust your Control Points, Size, and Line Spacing until your words more or less fit on the lines of the page.

click to enlarge


Your comp window should now look something like this.



- - - - - typing it in - - - - -


We won't be needing anything but the Path Text advanced settings from this point on, so collapse all the Path Text options except for the advanced settings.

We will give the text about 5 seconds to type itself in.

At zero seconds, set Path Text's Visible Characters attribute to zero and set a keyframe.
        Not surprisingly, zero visible characters hides all the type.

Now advance to 5 seconds, and slowly increase the Visible Characters number until all the text is visible. Keep the number as low as possible (114 works perfect for me).

Preview your first 5 seconds. The text should "type itself" in.

NOTE: at present, the letters instantaneously appear. If you prefer for them to fade in, increase the "fade time" attribute.



- - - - - making text dance - - - - -


At 5 seconds (or when all the text is typed in), set keyframes with a value of zero for all four Jitter attributes
(Baseline Jitter, Kerning Jitter, Rotation Jitter, and Scale Jitter)

Move ahead a couple seconds, around 6 or 7, and give the four Jitter attributes a positive number. (A negative number will also make them "dance," but at a much higher frequency--a little too quickly for this project, I think.)


If you want to preview your animation now, you should definitely enable motion blur for the layer and the composition.

Move ahead another second or so, and set all the jitter settings back to zero. The dance has ended.



- - - - - little tweaks - - - - -


Randomly set some keyframes between your two "Visible Character" keyframes,

and then slide them around a bit for some variance in typing speed. You may want to play around with your keyframe velocities as well. (Thanks to Trish Meyer for this great little technique!)



Scatter the Jitter keyframes around a bit for some dancing variety.



Add the typeding.mov audio included with this project to the part where the typing takes place, and the kidscheer.mov to the dancing section.

Render and enjoy!

see the final movie (472 kb)


If at this point you are wondering about the "mode" attribute, well, here you are:
If you change the mode from Normal to Difference, the text will turn black wherever it overlaps with other text, such as when jitter setting are high, or the tracking is low. The Normal mode will simply leave it the same color.

click here to see a sample of the difference mode (120 kb)

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Ben Unguren is a freelance motion graphics designer and documentary filmmaker in Provo, Utah.


Feel Free to discuss this technique in the After Effects forum here at CreativeCOW.






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