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Animating Text in Adobe After Effects 7.0

Chapter Description

After Effects offers many ways to animate text. You can animate text layers by manually creating keyframes in the Timeline panel, by using animation presets, or by using expressions. You can even animate individual characters or words in a text layer. This lesson takes you through several different animation techniques, including some that are unique to text, while you design the opening title credits for an animated documentary called The Pond.

About text layers

With After Effects, you can add text to layers with flexibility and precision. You can create and edit text directly on-screen in the Composition panel and quickly change the font, style, size, and color of the text. You can apply changes to individual characters and set formatting options for entire paragraphs, including alignment, justification, and word wrapping. In addition to all of these style features, After Effects provides tools for easily animating specific characters and features, such as text opacity and hue.

After Effects provides a wide range of text controls accessible through the Tools, Character, and Paragraph panels. You can add horizontal or vertical text anywhere in a composition. After Effects uses two types of text: point text and paragraph text. Point text is useful for entering a single word or a line of characters; paragraph text is useful for entering and formatting the text as one or more paragraphs.

In many ways, text layers are 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 the 3D text while viewing it in multiple views. As with layers imported from Illustrator, text layers are continuously rasterized, so when you scale the layer or resize the text, it retains crisp, resolution-independent edges. The main differences between text layers and other layers are that you cannot open a text layer in its own Layer panel, and that you can animate the text in a text layer using special text animator properties and selectors.

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