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Animating Text

Chapter Description

In this sample chapter from Adobe After Effects Classroom in a Book (2020 release), authors Fridsma and Gyncild teach you to create and animate text layers. You will learn to stylize text using the Character and Paragraph panels, apply and customize text animation presets, and more.

Adding motion blur

Motion blur is the blur that occurs as an object moves. You’ll apply motion blur to finesse the composition and make the movement look more natural.

  1. In the Timeline panel, click the Motion Blur switch (motion_blur.jpg) for each layer except the FishSwim and LOCATION layers.

Now you’ll apply motion blur to the layers in the LOCATION composition.

  1. Switch to the LOCATION Timeline panel, and enable motion blur for the layer.

  2. Switch back to the FishSwim Timeline panel, and select the Motion Blur switch for the LOCATION layer.

After Effects automatically enables motion blur for the composition when you enable it for any layer.

  1. Preview the entire, completed animation.

  2. Choose File > Save.

Give yourself a pat on the back. You just completed some hard-core text animations. If you’d like to export the composition as a movie file, see Lesson 15, “Rendering and Outputting,” for instructions.

Review questions

  • 1 What are some similarities and differences between text layers and other types of layers in After Effects?

  • 2 How can you preview a text animation preset?

  • 3 What are text animator groups?

Review answers

  • 1 In many ways, a text layer is just like any other layer in After Effects. You can apply effects and expressions to text layers, animate them, designate them as 3D layers, and edit 3D text while viewing it in multiple views. However, they differ from most layers in that you can’t open text layers in their own Layer panels. Text layers consist entirely of vector graphics, so when you scale the layer or resize the text, it retains crisp, resolution-independent edges. You can animate the text in a text layer using special text animator properties and selectors.

  • 2 You can preview text animation presets in Adobe Bridge by choosing Animation > Browse Presets. Adobe Bridge opens and displays the contents of the After Effects Presets folder. Navigate to folders containing categories of text animation presets, such as Blurs or Paths, and watch samples in the Preview panel.

  • 3 Text animator groups enable you to animate the properties of individual characters in a text layer over time. Text animator groups contain one or more selectors, which are like masks: They let you specify which characters or section of a text layer you want an animator property to affect. Using a selector, you can define a percentage of the text, specific characters in the text, or a specific range of text.

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