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Animating Text in Adobe After Effects CC (2014 release)

Chapter Description

Adobe After Effects offers many ways to animate text. You can animate text layers by manually creating keyframes in the Timeline panel, using animation presets, or using expressions. You can even animate individual characters or words in a text layer. In this lesson from Adobe After Effects CC Classroom in a Book (2014 release), you’ll employ several different animation techniques, including some that are unique to text, while you design the opening title credits for an animated documentary called Road Trip. You’ll also take advantage of Adobe Typekit to install a font for use in your project.

Note: This excerpt does not include the lesson files. The lesson files are available with purchase of the book.

Getting started

Adobe After Effects offers many ways to animate text. You can animate text layers by manually creating keyframes in the Timeline panel, using animation presets, or using expressions. You can even animate individual characters or words in a text layer. In this lesson, you’ll employ several different animation techniques, including some that are unique to text, while you design the opening title credits for an animated documentary called Road Trip. You’ll also take advantage of Adobe Typekit to install a font for use in your project.

As in other projects, you’ll begin by previewing the movie you’re creating, and then you’ll open After Effects.

  1. Make sure the following files are in the Lessons/Lesson03 folder on your hard disk, or download them from your Account page at www.peachpit.com now:

    • In the Assets folder: background_movie.mov, car.ai, compass.swf, credits.psd
    • In the Sample_Movie folder: Lesson03.mov
  2. Open and play the Lesson03.mov sample movie to see the title credits you will create in this lesson. When you’re done, quit QuickTime Player. You may delete this sample movie from your hard disk if you have limited storage space.

    As you start the application, restore the default settings for After Effects. See “Restoring default preferences” on page 2.

  3. Start After Effects, and then immediately hold down Ctrl+Alt+Shift (Windows) or Command+Option+Shift (Mac OS) to restore default preferences settings. When prompted, click OK to delete your preferences.
  4. Click Close to close the Welcome screen.

    After Effects opens to display a blank, untitled project.

  5. Choose File > Save As > Save As, and navigate to the Lessons/Lesson03/Finished_Project folder.
  6. Name the project Lesson03_Finished.aep, and then click Save.

Importing the footage

You need to import two footage items to begin this lesson.

  1. Double-click an empty area of the Project panel to open the Import File dialog box.
  2. Navigate to the Lessons/Lesson03/Assets folder on your hard disk, Ctrl-click (Windows) or Command-click (Mac OS) to select both the background_movie.mov and compass.swf files, and then click Import or Open.

After Effects can import several file formats including Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator files, as well as QuickTime and AVI movies. This makes After Effects an incredibly powerful application for compositing and motion graphics work.

Creating the composition

Now, you’ll create the composition.

  1. Press Ctrl+N (Windows) or Command+N (Mac OS) to create a new composition.
  2. In the Composition Settings dialog box, name the composition Road_Trip_Title_Sequence, select NTSC DV from the Preset menu, and set the Duration to 10:00, which is the length of the background movie. Then click OK.

  3. Drag the background_movie.mov and compass.swf footage items from the Project panel to the Timeline panel. Arrange the layers so that compass.swf is above background_movie.mov in the layer stack.

  4. Choose File > Save.

You’re ready to add the title text to the composition.

2. About text layers | Next Section