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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.


Review questions

  1. What are some similarities and differences between text layers and other types of layers in After Effects?
  2. Describe two ways to preview a text animation preset.
  3. How can you assign one layer’s transformations to another layer?
  4. What are text animator groups?

Review answers

  1. 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. 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.
  2. You can preview text animation presets by choosing Help > Animation Preset Gallery, or you can preview presets in Bridge by choosing Animation > Browse Presets. Bridge opens and displays the contents of the After Effects Presets folder. You can navigate to folders containing various types of text animation presets, such as Blurs or Paths, and watch samples in the Preview panel. Then, double-click a preset to add it to the currently selected layer in the After Effects Timeline panel.
  3. You can use parenting relationships in After Effects to assign one layer’s transformations to another layer (except opacity transformations). When a layer is made a parent to another layer, the other layer is called the child layer. Creating a parenting relationship between layers synchronizes the changes in the parent layer with corresponding transformation values of the child layers.
  4. 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. Selectors are like masks: They let you specify which characters or section of a text layer that 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.