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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.

Using a text animator group

Text animator groups let you animate individual letters within a block of text in a layer. You’ll use a text animator group to draw attention to BLUE CRAB CHARTERS, animating only the characters in the middle word without affecting the tracking and opacity animation of the other characters in the layer.

  1. In the Timeline panel, go to 9:10.

  2. Expand the BLUE CRAB CHARTERS layer to see its Text property group name.

  3. Select the BLUE CRAB CHARTERS layer, and make sure only the layer name is selected.

  4. Next to the Text property group name, click the Animate pop-up menu, and choose Skew.


After Effects adds a property group named Animator 3 to the layer’s Text properties.

  1. Select Animator 3, press Enter or Return, and rename it Skew Animator. Then press Enter or Return again to accept the new name.

Now you’re ready to define the range of letters that you want to skew.

  1. Expand the Skew Animator’s Range Selector 1 properties.

Each animator group includes a default range selector. Range selectors constrain the animation to particular letters in the text layer. You can add additional selectors to an animator group, or apply multiple animator properties to the same range selector.

  1. While watching the Composition panel, drag the Skew Animator’s Range Selector 1 Start value up (to the right) until the left selector indicator (sel_ind_l.jpg) is just before the C in CRAB.

  2. Drag the Skew Animator’s Range Selector 1 End value down (to the left) until its indicator (sel_ind_r.jpg) is just after the B in CRAB in the Composition panel.

Now, any properties that you animate with the Skew Animator will affect only the characters that you selected.

Skewing the range of text

Now, you’ll make that middle word shake and shimmy by setting Skew keyframes.

  1. Drag the Skew Animator’s Skew value left and right, and notice that only the selected word sways. The other words in the line of text remain steady.

  2. Set the Skew Animator’s Skew value to 0.

  3. Go to 9:15, and click the stopwatch icon (stopwatch.jpg) for Skew to add a keyframe to the property.

  4. Go to 9:18, and set the Skew value to 50. After Effects adds a keyframe.

  5. Go to 9:25, and change the Skew value to −50. After Effects adds another keyframe.

  6. Go to 10:00, and change the Skew value to 0 to set the final keyframe.

  7. Click the Skew property name to select all of the Skew keyframes. Then choose Animation > Keyframe Assistant > Easy Ease to add an Easy Ease to all keyframes.

  8. Hide the properties for the BLUE CRAB CHARTERS layer in the Timeline panel.

  9. Press Home, or go to 0:00, and then preview the entire composition.

  10. Press the spacebar to stop playback, and then choose File > Save to save your work.

12. Animating a layer's position | Next Section Previous Section

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