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One of the cornerstones of motion graphics is creating and animating type. In this course, Trish Meyer shows how to typeset titles professionally and create custom animations, as well as apply and modify the hundreds of text animation presets that After Effects ships with. Additionally, Chris Meyer shows how to add audio to projects, including spotting "hit points" to align keyframes and video action.
The After Effects Apprentice videos on lynda.com were created by Trish and Chris Meyer and are designed to be used on their own and as a companion to their book After Effects Apprentice. We are honored to host these tutorials in the lynda.com Online Training Library®.
When we left this animation in the previous movie, we had a nice animated blur effect going on. Now, I'd like to add some animated tracking. I'll press Home to return to 0, and I'll press the Add button to Add > Property > Tracking to Animator 1. When I do that, I'll actually see two new parameters: Tracking Type and Tracking Amount. When I increase Tracking Amount, it will add more space between the characters. So you can see what's going on, I'll temporarily set the Blur value back to 0.
I'll press the Command key on Mac, Ctrl key on Windows, and so you're just tracking so that I can control it in finer increments. A value of 10 will place the characters just inside the comp area. The Tracking Type menu controls whether the extra space the tracking introduces is added before and after the selected characters, and this is the default. You can change it so that extra space is added just before the characters, or just after. I'll leave it at the default. What's usually more important is how the Align options are set in the Paragraph panel.
Currently it's set to center text, so tracking is added evenly to the left and right side. If I set it to left align, the text jumps as it's aligned to the left-hand side. If I increase, and decrease tracking, the text is centered around the anchor point. If I change it to align right, the text jumps so that it's right aligned to the anchor point, and in that case any extra tracking is added to the left-hand side.
So I'll return the Paragraph panel to center text, and we'll set a value back to 10. There is one more control you may need to use when you're tracking text. Occasionally, as you're tracking, the character that's in the center won't appear to move, and that happens when it's perfectly centered in the title. In this case, as I animated tracking, that R moves a little bit, so it's not an issue. But if you're finding that center character is sticking, you can also Add > Property > Line Anchor.
The Line Anchor parameter defaults to 50%. If you just shift it a little bit, you can scoot the text left and right, and then when you animate tracking, the center character will move. Of course, if you change the Line Anchor by a large amount, you may need to re-center your text. Now, since I don't have the problem with this title, I can delete Line Anchor. We'll set our Tracking Amount back to 10 and we'll RAM preview. I'm seeing something kind of strange going on.
I was expecting a nice smooth tracking animation; instead some of the characters seem to jiggle left and right a little bit. So what's going on? At the beginning when Offset is set to -100 and I'm using the Ramp Up shape, this means that all of the characters after end are using the maximum tracking value. In this case, that's 10. But as the animation progresses and Start and End move across the title, something else is going on.
At this point, because I have the Ramp Up shape applied, the tracking value is being applied from a low value on the left-hand side to a large value on the right-hand side, and then those values are scrambled because Randomize Order is enabled. If I disable Randomize Order, you can see more clearly that there is less tracking on the left-hand side near Start and more tracking on the right-hand side near End. So when I RAM preview, the Tracking Amount is not consistent.
So just because I set up the text animator to work well with an animated blur effect doesn't mean the tracking is going to be compatible with those settings. Of course, once you turn back on the blur, you may not notice that the text is jiggling a little. But if this is bothering you, it's very easy to isolate the tracking effect in a separate text animator. So let's do that. I'll turn back on my Randomize Order and I'll turn back on my Blur effect and I'll delete the tracking from this animator.
Let's just check that we still have our nice animated blur. That looks good. So we're done with Text Animator 1. We can twirl it up, and now I'll animate tracking. Because I selected the Animate button and I didn't have Animator 1 selected, it automatically added a second Text Animator with just Tracking applied. Because I know I'd like a nice simple tracking effect with a value of 10, I can simply animate this. I'll press Home, turn on the Stopwatch for tracking.
I'll go to 3 seconds, where my second offset keyframe is, and change the tracking amount back to 0. Just so you can see what the Tracking looks like in isolation, I'll turn off the eyeball for Animator 1. Now, this is the smooth tracking animation I was looking for. Notice because I'm not using Range Selector 1, I can actually delete it. I'll turn back on Animator 1 and preview. I quite like that effect.
So in the next movie, we'll create a mask path and animate this text along a curve.
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