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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.

Creating and formatting point text

When you enter point text in After Effects, each line of text is independent—the length of a line increases or decreases as you edit the text, but it doesn’t wrap to the next line. The text you enter appears in a new text layer. The small line through the I-beam marks the position of the text baseline.

  1. In the Tools panel, select the Horizontal Type tool (type.jpg).

  2. Click anywhere in the Composition panel, and type Snorkel Tours. Then exit text-editing mode by pressing Enter on the numeric keypad or selecting the layer name in the Timeline panel. The text layer is selected in the Composition panel.

Using the Character panel

The Character panel provides options for formatting characters. If text is highlighted, changes you make in the Character panel affect only the highlighted text. If no text is highlighted, changes you make in the Character panel affect the selected text layers and the text layers’ selected Source Text keyframes, if any exist. If no text is highlighted and no text layers are selected, changes you make in the Character panel become the defaults for the next text entry.

After Effects displays sample text for each font. You can filter fonts to display only fonts from Adobe or favorites you’ve marked.

  1. Select the Snorkel Tours text layer in the Timeline panel.

  2. In the Character panel, choose Calluna Sans Bold from the Font Family menu.

  3. Set the Font Size to 90 pixels, and make sure no stroke is selected.

  4. Leave all other options at their default settings.

Using the Paragraph panel

Use the Paragraph panel to set options that apply to an entire paragraph, such as alignment, indentation, and leading. For point text, each line is a separate paragraph. You can use the Paragraph panel to set formatting options for a single paragraph, multiple paragraphs, or all paragraphs in a text layer. You just need to make one adjustment in the Paragraph panel for this composition’s title text.

  1. In the Paragraph panel, click the Center Text button. This aligns horizontal text to the center of the layer, not to the center of the composition.

  2. Leave all other options at their default settings.

Positioning the type

To precisely position layers, such as the text layer you’re working on now, you can display rulers, guides, and grids in the Composition panel. These visual reference tools don’t appear in the final rendered movie.

  1. Make sure the Snorkel Tours text layer is selected in the Timeline panel.

  2. Choose Layer > Transform > Fit To Comp Width. This scales the layer to fit to the width of the composition.

Now you can position the text layer using a grid.

  1. Choose View > Show Grid and then View > Snap To Grid.

  2. Using the Selection tool (selection.jpg), drag the text up in the Composition panel until the text is in the top quarter of the composition, centered in the surface of the water. Press Shift after you start dragging to constrain the movement and help you position the text.

  3. When the layer is in position, choose View > Show Grid again to hide the grid.

This project isn’t destined for broadcast TV, so it’s okay that the title extends beyond the title-safe and action-safe areas of the composition at the beginning of the animation.

  1. Choose File > Save to save your project.

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