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Animating Text in Adobe After Effects 7.0

  • Sample Chapter is provided courtesy of Peachpit Press.
  • Date: May 4, 2006.

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.

Animating with scale keyframes

The The Pond text layer was scaled to more than 200% when you applied the Fit To Comp command to it earlier in this lesson. Now, you’ll animate the layer’s scale so that the type gradually shrinks down to its original size.

  1. Make sure the The Pond layer is selected in the Timeline panel.
  2. Go to 3:00.

Soloing a layer

You can isolate one or more layers for animating, previewing, or rendering by soloing. Soloing excludes all other layers of the same type from the Composition panel. Soloing is useful for speeding up refreshing, previewing, and rendering for final output. You’ll solo the The Pond layer now as you animate its scale.

  1. Click the Solo box in the Switches column for the The Pond layer in the Timeline panel.

Creating the scale keyframes

Now, you’re ready to animate the title using good old-fashioned Scale keyframes.

  1. With the The Pond text layer selected in the Timeline panel, press the S key to reveal its Scale property.
  2. Click the stopwatch icon (stopwatch.gif) to add a Scale keyframe at the current time, 3:00.
  3. Go to 5:00.
  4. Reduce the layer’s Scale values to 100.0,100.0%. After Effects adds a new Scale keyframe at the current time.

Previewing the scale animation

Now, preview the change.

  1. Drag the work area end bracket to approximately 5:10, shortly after the scale animation ends.
  2. Click the Solo icon (soloicon.gif) to unsolo the The Pond layer.
  3. Press the 0 key on the numeric keypad to watch a RAM preview of the animation from 0:00 to 5:10. The movie title fades in and then scales to a smaller size.
  4. Press the spacebar when you’re ready to stop the preview.

Adding Easy Ease

The beginning and end of the scale animation are rather abrupt. In nature, nothing comes to an absolute stop. Instead, objects ease into and out of starting and stopping points.

  1. Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) the Scale keyframe at 3:00 and choose Keyframe Assistant > Easy Ease Out. Notice the keyframe diamond changes to a left-pointing icon.
  2. Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) the Scale keyframe at 5:00 and choose Keyframe Assistant > Easy Ease In. This keyframe diamond changes to a right-pointing icon.
  3. Press the 0 key on the numeric keypad to watch another RAM preview. Much better!
  4. Press the spacebar when you’re done watching the preview, and then select the The Pond layer in the Timeline panel and press S to hide its Scale property.
  5. Choose File > Save.
7. Animating using parenting | Next Section Previous Section

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