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In After Effects CS5 Essential Training, author Chad Perkins discusses the basic tools, effects, and need-to-know techniques in Adobe After Effects CS5, the professional standard for motion graphics, compositing, and visual effects for video. The course provides an overview of the entire workflow, from import to export, as well as detailed coverage of each stage, including animating text and artwork, adding effects to compositions, working in 3D, and rendering and compressing footage. Exercise files are included with the course.
This movie is going to be kind of an introduction to how to animate text manually. We have our Hansel & Petal text here. Again, let's go to the Hansel layer and open this up by clicking the triangle to the left of its name here. And we have the basic transform properties and we could animate this the same way we animate everything else. I am just going to hit Command+Z to undo that. But if you can actually use the text animation power that's built into every text layer, we'll have much more control and flexibility with the animation of this text. If we close up Transform, open up Text, you will see that we have certain properties here that we don't find on regular layers, but the real power in text animation comes to the right of that.
We'll see this Animate with a flyout menu. Let's choose a property to animate and talk about how this works. I am going to choose Scale. Now what this does, it creates two things. It creates an animation property, Scale, which is what we just chose, and it also creates something called a range selector. And you notice that the property Scale and the range selector are grouped within one animator. This is going to be important in just a moment. Just know that the action that we just did by going to Animate and creating a Scale created an animator, which contains the range selector and the property. Okay.
So, let's go ahead and click and drag on the right for Scale to scale up our text and you will notice a very different scale than if we were to scale this text up with the layer. If I were to select this layer and hit Shift+S so that you could see the layer's Scale property, it's actually not showing it to us here so I am going to open up Transform, increase the Scale. It's scaling up everything. It's scaling up all of the characters uniformly. I am just going to take this back to 100%, but the Scale here for Text is scaling up each character individually.
So, again, much more power and control here. But the scaling is only taking place within the range selector. If you see this vertical line here with a little triangle next to it, this is the left side boundary of the range selector, and this is the right side boundary of the range selector. And the way this works is that only what is within the range selector gets this attribute applied to it, so everything else is just normal. So, if I click and drag this range selector and move it in, you could see that now this is the range that is being selected. Everything outside of it is just a regular scale.
So, you notice that 195% scale here, only these characters that are now in the range selector have that extra scale up applied to them. Now, let's open up the range selector area for one second here. We have a start, which is the left side and we have the end value, which is the right side of the range selector. And I am actually going to go and change this, so that only the letter N is increased in scale. It could be a little bit of A and S if you want, but basically 35-50% for my start and end values respectively, so that only one character is selected.
Now, you may want to have kind of like a shuffle through your text where like one character, it's kind of like the wave at a baseball stadium or something, and we can adjust the offset property, so that that one character kind of waves through your text. And what we are doing here is we are taking the entire range, which is only about one character big, and the Offset value moves that range throughout your text. And you could see here that it's not exactly 1 character big. It does get a little bit of the extra character next to it.
But if we want to, we could refine that by bringing in these values. But you get the idea. So we can shuffle through these different character attributes with the range selector. Now, if we go over to the Animator, you'll notice the animator is still here, so if we wanted to, we could add like another animator for rotation. What that would do is it would add a new range selector and a new property to animate. So, if we wanted to use the same range selector and maybe have the characters rotate a little bit, then we would go to the Add menu right across from Animator 1.
So, we go to the Add menu. We could go to Property. We could go to Rotation, and so maybe we could rotate this a few degrees, maybe 25 degrees positive so it's clockwise. So, now as we move this range selector, the characters not only scale up, but they rotate as well. So, again, I realize it's probably a little complex, because there is a lot of stuff going on with the animators and the range selectors and the properties that are added to the range selectors. It's definitely a complex subject. But you could also see the fun and power being able to manually control how this works.
There really isn't another program that I am aware of on the market that allows you to have so much control over text animation.
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