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Creating an animating text on a path is very much like creating and animating any other text layer inside of After Effects. What the path gives you is the ability to really control exactly where the text is moving throughout the scene. Now, if we look at our project we can go ahead and select Layer 1. Here notice it's point text and it's left-justified. Now in order to make this text inhabit a path, we need to add a path to our text layer. I'm going to go up to my Shape tools and click and hold 'til I get to my Ellipse tool.
You could go ahead and press Q on your keyboard to cycle through. Now, since I'm adding this text with the Shape tool, I'm creating a mask. And as we all know, masks can be anything. So I could copy this path from Illustrator or even Photoshop and then paste it into this text layer. But again, we'll just go ahead and use our circle shape. With Layer 1 selected, click and drag in the comp window. Then, hold down Shift as you start to drag, to make sure that you have a perfect circle. Notice, by default, the mask is already set to add. And it's cutting out parts of the word.
So let's change that setting to None by clicking on the pull-down and changing. Now, let's go to our text options. If we open our text options, the first group here under source text is path options. Let's open that option. Here where it says path, there's a pull down. (SOUND) Click on the pull-down, and enable Mask 1. Now, the text has been moved directly to that path. Now, at any point in time, I could make edits to that path. I'm going to go ahead and click right on the word, Mask 1 and press Command+T to open my transform handles.
And if I grab on any one of the handles here, I could change how the path is set up. And the text will flow accordingly. I'm just going to press Escape, and then undo, just to kind of get back to where we were. Woops, let's redo that. There we go. We've seen how we could move the path around the scene. Let's look at reverse path. If we click on that. It'll just choose the outside part of our path and flip the text around. Let's go ahead and turn that off for now. There's perpendicular to path. If you turn that on, it makes sure that the letters move in a perpendicular fashion to the path edge.
Force alignment will stretch the word over the entire length of the path. With force alignment selected, you can make adjustments to the last margin. That'll allow me to control exactly how much of this path the word inhabits. I can also click on this second alignment margin and drag directly in the comp window. Now last margin is only enabled when you have force alignment on. So let's turn that off just by clicking on the word on. Now the first margin will allow me to push those words around the path and it has the same control handle I can just click and drag. Adding text to a path doesn't seem particularly exciting. Notice, I could go ahead and keyframe this first margin, and just have it spinning around in a circle.
Where I think things start to get interesting, is when we transform this text into 3D space. So let's do that. I'm going to scroll up in my timeline to get to my text options here. And under the Animate flyout, I want to click on that, and choose Enable Per-character 3D. With that enabled, now I have a little bounding box around each individual character of my layer. I'm going to re-select Layer 1. Now let's go ahead and rotate our text layer and then press R to open the rotation parameters.
Let's click and drag on X, and we'll drag that to minus 90 degrees. Now we have our control axes. I'm going to click on Z and just move it down in the scene a little bit. Now notice this is moving the entire layer. Let's collapse Layer 1 and open it up again to get to our text section. In text, let's go over to the Animate menu one more time and enable Rotation. Now with an Animator applied, we have an option for X rotation, Y rotation, and Z rotation.
So let's click and drag on the X rotation and, sure enough, now our letters have sprung to life in 3D space. Now even though this has been achieved through an animator, we could still come back up under our text and go to our path options. Now under first margin we can click and drag and this text will move around in 3D space on the path. Using our first margin alignment. Now, just so this project didn't seem quite so stark, I went ahead and created some extra layers.
If you disable shy, and go up and collapse Layer 1, notice we have two lights, a camera, and a gray solid. So let's enable all four of those layers, and now we're working in the camera view. As I get an overhead view of the scene, I'm noticing that there are no shadows, on my text layer. So once you've actually created text, and moved it into 3D space, you want to go and select that layer and press AA rapidly on your keyboard to open up your material options. Now, I could go ahead and choose, cast shadows. And change that to on.
Now if we go back and select our camera, and grab our orbit around tool we can click and drag in the comp window. And notice that our text is clearly inhabiting 3D space. And if we wanted to animate any of the properties, all we have to do is just add some keyframes.
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