You need a few basic concepts under your belt to begin working with titles in Boris. The first is that this Boris offers a 3D compositing environment, and has from the very beginning (that's 1995 for those of you keeping score at home). That means that even 2D titles can be arranged in three dimensions.
The easiest way to see this is with the spin parameter. (Illustration 1) In past versions of Boris, I'd have recommended working in half scale and half resolution, but the text in RED 2 is so fast that I heartily invite you to work in full scale, full resolution. This thing is FAST, which is a cool enough feature on its own.
I've started with a background track of solid black, which I got by deleting all my layers and selecting "Composite Background Style" of black in the Interface tab of the Preferences. (This is a new feature in RED 2, and I like it a lot.)
Next, I begin by typing some text: "real title ANIMATION." Click in the degrees box, type "90," and hit return. Set the interpolation to Decelerate, and preview to RAM. You'll see the text spin from 90 degrees to zero.
This, by the way, is the second major concept to keep in mind, that, unless you specify otherwise, the default behavior of Boris is to automatically animate everything for you. Me, I think that this is exactly what animation software SHOULD do, even though that's the exact OPPOSITE of animation tools you may have used before. (Note for those folks who fear going through click withdrawl: if you select the default interpolation of Constant, Boris will behave like other applications, where changed parameters are global until you animate them.)
My personal favorite interpolation for title animation is Decelerate, which does exactly what the name suggests - brings the animation in for a smooth landing - so I've set this as the default in the Boris preferences.
Here's the next major concept: the "red button." Look, the name of the company's flagship software is RED, this button's red - do you think it might be important?? Well it is. The proper name of this button is the Track Selector button, and clicking on it toggles your selection between the Shape track to the Media track a given layer.
This may be the single most important concept of all. Think of every layer in Boris as a container, because that's what it is. Each layer in its nested state represents a vessel which CONTAINS additional tracks, which you can see when you click the disclosure arrow. The one I want to draw your attention to for now is the FACE track, where the layer's Media resides. Clicking on this track brings up a whole set of controls related ONLY to the MEDIA of this layer - in this case, text.
I'll go through this once more, because it's so important: selecting a layer's top track provides controls for the entire layer, selecting its face track provides controls for the layer's media.
Let me show you what I mean. Notice that there controls for tumble, spin and rotate on the text controls, just like there were on the controls for the layer's shape track.
Remember how we spun the entire layer before with those shape track controls? This time, we're only going to spin what's CONTAINED in the layer - as the control says, we're going to apply LETTER spin. So enter 90 again, and now see the LETTERS spin. The layer itself is staying flat, but the elements IN the layer are spinning.
No matter what media you're using - video, spline objects, gradients, anything at all - there are separate controls for the LAYER, and for the media IN the layer. This is absolutely crucial for you to know, which is why we've given this process a shortcut labeled with a red button: click here to select the Media track and to expose its controls.
I told you that so I could tell you this:
All of the tabs for controlling text media are important, but my current favorite is Type On. At its most basic, Type On is pretty darn basic. Bring the slider down to zero, and preview to RAM again.
Look, it's typing on. Okay, maybe a little lame, but does your titler do that this easily? Didn't think so.
Let's get a little less basic. Returning to our old buddy Spin: type 90 in the degrees box. Without changing anything else, we preview to RAM once more, and see the letters SPINNING ON, one at a time.
It doesnt have to be that way, though. Click in the Reveal Time box, where the default is to reveal one letter (or, to be precise, 100% of one letter) at a time. Let's change it to six letters at a time, that is, 600%. Watch how the effect now cascades down, across all of the letters, 6 at a time.
But for some "real title ANIMATION," let's undo that spin by setting it back to zero, and animate some of these other parameters. Well start with opacity, or FADE. Set it to zero, PTR, and it makes a nice little gradient wipe, progressively animating opacity over 6 letters at a time.
Let's add more. Tab to the position Y box, let's offset to a position of -250, tab to scale and type 3000 X, tab to Y and type 3000. Look at how gorgeous the text is at a scale of 3000%! Absolutely razor sharp. Even in this half-scale preview, you can get the idea.
I used one slider to simultaneously control ALL these parameters at once. Just for grins, I'm going to go back to the top track, and combine tumble and spin at layer level with the Type On. Here's the result.
And how many keyframes did I add in order to get all this this animation? NONE!!
On the one hand, this is still a pretty simple animation. On the other, can you imagine how many keyframes you'd need to add to get this much animation?
What about trying to scale text to 3000% in any other application? It would be a disaster, because the pixels would also scale, as in this illustration.
Illustration 4: pixels
The workaround in some applications is to go into Illustrator, create text, convert it to outlines, then bring it back into the compositing application to scale and animate. Just don't try to change the text from inside the compositing app, because you can't. You have to go back to Illustrator, retype, reconvert to outlines and reimport. Why bother, when Boris can do all that and more natively? The text stays editable, because it stays TEXT.
There are a couple of reasons why this works. One reason is precisely this distinction between a layer's SHAPE and its MEDIA. Most applications don't have this, so to scale text 3000% would require scaling the pixels in the layer 3000%, with chunky pixels galore. But we're not scaling the layer's pixels at all! We're scaling the media CONTAINED in the layer, and keeping the pixels the same size. See? I told you that the distinction between a layer and its media was important.
The other reason why this text looks so good as it scales is that Boris features native VECTOR text, which uses outlines instead of pixels to create text, which results in smooth display at any scale. This is also the basis for the remarkable speed of Boris text display and rendering.
Illustration 5: vectors
It also completely eliminates the need to go to Illustrator and convert text to outlines...although the fact is that Boris can both convert its own text to outlines, and import and animate Illustrator files in ways that no other desktop compositor can. That's for another tutorial, though.
A note about the movies you've seen here. Although I rendered them to QuickTime files from inside the standalone RED Engine, they're .swf files - Flash. This explains their size at rougly 40K (about 70K for the 2 second movie), but download them to your drive. Then inside QuickTime Player, scale any of these movies up. You can drag the corner of the window to scale, or fill the screen by pressing command-3 on Mac, control-3 on Windows. The letters stay razor sharp.
That's getting to the specific nature of the text, though, and RED's ability to export it. My main interest here is to get you excited about "Real Title Animation" with Boris RED, starting with the Type On feature. As a bonus, I'm providing all the settings that I've used in this tutorial to get you started. (I've provided a small Stuffit archive for Mac users, and a Zip file for PC users.)
Future tutorials will show how to combine simple animation tools like Type On with text on path, advanced extrusion, vector paint, and yes, converting text to its spline outlines, to create more kinds of text animation, more easily, than any application has ever offered before. And it can do all this from inside your favorite NLE.
That, friends, is real title animation.