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Creating and editing text


After Effects CS5 Essential Training

with Chad Perkins

Video: Creating and editing text

One of the more common uses of After Effects is to create titles for movies and TV shows and also to create cool text when you are working with motion graphics. So, that's what we are going to be looking at in this chapter. This movie specifically is going to be on creating and editing text. I am going to go ahead and we are going to be making this Hansel and Petal text and I want to use this as a template. I want to try to emulate this text as closely as possible. So, what I am going to do, because I am using all these layers as templates, I don't want to inadvertently click to select one of them, like that.
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  1. 5m 40s
    1. Introduction
      1m 30s
    2. What is After Effects?
      3m 12s
    3. How to use the exercise files
  2. 28m 14s
    1. After Effects workflow overview
      2m 18s
    2. Bringing elements into After Effects
      2m 23s
    3. Adding elements to the Timeline
      1m 57s
    4. Working with layers
      3m 45s
    5. Creating animation with presets
      3m 24s
    6. Applying effects
      3m 34s
    7. Creating animation without presets
      5m 38s
    8. Previewing your work
      2m 46s
    9. Exporting content as a movie file
      2m 29s
  3. 27m 20s
    1. Touring the interface
      6m 2s
    2. How After Effects projects work
      4m 47s
    3. What is a composition?
      4m 52s
    4. Tips for adding content to compositions
      2m 49s
    5. Understanding the properties of video
      8m 50s
  4. 57m 8s
    1. Importing an Illustrator file
      4m 57s
    2. Animation basics
      7m 12s
    3. Animating opacity
      6m 40s
    4. Understanding anchor points
      4m 57s
    5. Animating position
      6m 8s
    6. Animating rotation
      4m 41s
    7. Animating scale
      7m 19s
    8. Using the Puppet tool
      7m 13s
    9. Copying and pasting keyframes
      3m 4s
    10. Animation shortcuts
      4m 57s
  5. 9m 42s
    1. Understanding precomposing
      6m 51s
    2. Navigating through compositions quickly
      2m 51s
  6. 1h 12m
    1. A showcase of effects
      2m 34s
    2. Creating a layer for effects
      3m 1s
    3. Applying effects
      4m 54s
    4. Animating effect properties
      4m 29s
    5. Using Glow
      5m 34s
    6. Creating patterns and textures
      6m 57s
    7. Creating a fireball
      7m 9s
    8. Using the Cycore effects
      5m 58s
    9. Adding blur
      5m 45s
    10. Creating a galaxy scene from scratch
      8m 38s
    11. Distorting objects with effects
      4m 7s
    12. Creating and using lens flares
      4m 21s
    13. Creating lightning bolts
      4m 3s
    14. Viewing random variations with Brainstorm
      4m 39s
  7. 30m 52s
    1. Shortening the duration of layers
      4m 23s
    2. Trimming in the Footage panel
      4m 14s
    3. Slowing and accelerating video speed
      7m 9s
    4. Applying video transitions between clips
      6m 7s
    5. Working with image sequences
      4m 47s
    6. Importing footage with an alpha channel
      4m 12s
  8. 36m 11s
    1. Brightening dark footage
      9m 12s
    2. Changing colors in footage
      6m 34s
    3. Creating cinematic color treatments
      8m 17s
    4. Creating a quick vignette
      3m 42s
    5. Colorizing black-and-white objects
      4m 50s
    6. Using adjustment layers
      3m 36s
  9. 21m 9s
    1. Creating and editing text
      7m 39s
    2. Applying text animation presets
      4m 41s
    3. Animating text manually
      4m 43s
    4. Applying layer styles to text
      4m 6s
  10. 28m 58s
    1. Let's get better
    2. Using work areas
      3m 37s
    3. Creating markers
      6m 17s
    4. Replacing layers
      2m 35s
    5. Mastering Timeline navigation
      3m 18s
    6. Aligning and distributing layers
      3m 4s
    7. Selecting layers quickly
      1m 56s
    8. Cropping layers
      3m 43s
    9. Adjusting comp resolution
      3m 51s
  11. 23m 53s
    1. Using the paint tools
      9m 35s
    2. Using the Roto Brush tool
      9m 25s
    3. Animating growing vines
      4m 53s
  12. 40m 29s
    1. Creating and using masks
      6m 42s
    2. Exploring mask options
      7m 57s
    3. Creating masks with Auto-trace
      6m 51s
    4. Masking objects with other objects
      5m 33s
    5. Making shape layers
      3m 43s
    6. Modifying shape layers
      9m 43s
  13. 30m 44s
    1. Turning 2D layers into 3D layers
      9m 22s
    2. Creating lights and cameras
      6m 14s
    3. Creating shadows
      4m 23s
    4. Using depth of field
      4m 42s
    5. Working with 3D effects
      6m 3s
  14. 18m 10s
    1. Removing a green screen background
      4m 37s
    2. Refining the matte
      4m 48s
    3. Compositing with color adjustments
      4m 50s
    4. Compositing with blend modes
      3m 55s
  15. 25m 44s
    1. Understanding spatial interpolation
      2m 5s
    2. Creating and adjusting motion paths
      3m 55s
    3. Orienting moving objects along a path
      1m 29s
    4. Drawing motion with Motion Sketch
      2m 51s
    5. Creating pauses in animation
      3m 6s
    6. Understanding temporal interpolation
      1m 56s
    7. Easing keyframes
      5m 57s
    8. About the Graph Editor
      4m 25s
  16. 12m 13s
    1. Stabilizing shaky footage
      7m 46s
    2. Tracking the motion in footage
      4m 27s
  17. 24m 58s
    1. Setting up parent layers
      5m 49s
    2. Working with null objects
      2m 31s
    3. What are expressions?
      7m 17s
    4. Modifying simple expressions
      2m 20s
    5. Using the wiggle expression
      7m 1s
  18. 6m 52s
    1. Understanding audio in motion graphics
      1m 22s
    2. Previewing and mixing audio
      3m 55s
    3. Enhancing audio tracks with effects
      1m 35s
  19. 11m 36s
    1. Adding comps to the Render Queue
      2m 30s
    2. Exploring key Render Queue settings
      4m 11s
    3. How should I export my video?
      4m 55s
  20. 7m 16s
    1. Using Photoshop with After Effects
      2m 10s
    2. Using Illustrator with After Effects
      3m 2s
    3. Using Flash with After Effects
      2m 4s
  21. 11s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course After Effects CS5 Essential Training
8h 39m Beginner Apr 30, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Understanding the After Effects workflow
  • Precomposing footage
  • Explaining the basics and beyond of animating
  • Creating glows, patterns, textures, and more with effects
  • Color correcting footage
  • Working with text
  • Manipulating video playback speed
  • Masking objects and shape layers
  • Removing backgrounds with keying
  • Compositing multiple pieces of footage
  • Integrating After Effects with the rest of the Creative Suite
After Effects
Chad Perkins

Creating and editing text

One of the more common uses of After Effects is to create titles for movies and TV shows and also to create cool text when you are working with motion graphics. So, that's what we are going to be looking at in this chapter. This movie specifically is going to be on creating and editing text. I am going to go ahead and we are going to be making this Hansel and Petal text and I want to use this as a template. I want to try to emulate this text as closely as possible. So, what I am going to do, because I am using all these layers as templates, I don't want to inadvertently click to select one of them, like that.

I want to go to the Timeline panel and there is this column here that has this lock and what I am going to do is click and just hold the mouse down and drag down to lock all of those layers. That makes them unselectable. So, now I can click and drag as much as I please and I cannot select these layers. Now what I am going to do is go to the Horizontal Type tool, which is here in the toolbar at the top of the interface, and we can create text in two ways. We can click to create type and then just start typing like that. That's referred to as point type.

If you continue to type, we would just make one long horizontal line of text until you hit the Return key and jump to the next line. You'll notice also that you don't need to select a layer to apply text to. Text is its own layer. Once you start creating text, it makes what's called a text layer for you. Now I am just going to delete that by pressing Escape. I want to show you the other type of text you can create. It's the textbox. I am going to click and drag a box roughly around hansel & petal. We are just going to ignore the ampersand in the background here. So, I am going to type hansel and then hit the Return key and type petal.

Now to accept my text, I am going to go and click the Selection tool, the black arrow again, and that again accepts my text. If I want to go back into it, I can just double-click the layer if I want to or I can select the Type tool again and then click in this text area to select it. And when you are working with a textbox, you could resize this. So, if I shrink this textbox so it's too small for that text, I get a little plus in the bottom right-hand corner here and again that indicates that I have what they call overset text, text that I am not seeing that is within this box.

So, basically we create a textbox so that text will stay in a given field. I might also resize this horizontally and then shrink this vertically and my text will automatically be taken to the previous line. Of course, I do have a carriage return here. That's why it's not working exactly correct. So, if I deleted that, you could see what's going on there. But again, if I were to resize this and select the Selection tool and move this over so you can see it a little better, and then double-click to adjust it. But if I were to resize this, then it would automatically drop the next line, if that's what I had to do, but it's not going to let text go outside of this box.

Now I am going to move this text over. Let's click and drag and we can't see it too great, but that's okay. I want to make sure this text is selected. If you need to, you could select the Horizontal Type tool again and then click and drag to highlight certain characters. We are going to select all of them. So, just click and drag as you would in Microsoft Word, and then the Character and Paragraph panels open up. These are the two ways that we adjust text that we have created. If they are not showing, you can click this little button here, which will actually hide and show the Character and Paragraph panels. Very convenient little button. If it's not showing you probably don't have the Horizontal Type tool selected.

So, make sure that is selected and you get that fancy little button there, and the Character panel, which is actually the one I use far more often than the Paragraph panel, but this top dropdown is our font. So, we can click one of those fonts. You can also click up and down with the arrows, which will help you scroll through my fonts. I can also put my cursor, if I have a mouse-wheel, over this field. Notice how it's selected with the gold outline around it, and I could use my mouse-wheel to kind of scroll through fonts as well, until I find one that I like. Now you may not have the same font as me, but that's okay because I don't know what the font was originally used anyway.

So, that doesn't matter. Just pick a font that you would like to use and another thing too that's important is the font size. Down right below here, we have the font style, like whether it's Regular, Italic or Bold. You are not going to have this for every font, but that's where you find those options and then the font sizes are below that. We just click and scrub, then we have this font size so we could make our font about the same as the original. Now let's talk about the color of our text. We have here a Fill swatch and then also a Stroke swatch. So, now the Stroke swatch is active, now the Fill swatch is active.

So, Fill is the basic color of the text, and the Stroke is the outline around it. So, if I double-click this swatch, then I can select a color and that works. We click OK and now I have that as an outline. If you want to change the weight, or in other words the thickness of the stroke, come down here to the middle of the Character panel and we can click and drag this left or right. You can see that I have a thin stroke and then I drag it to the right and I have a very thick stroke. So, you can play with that option. By default, we have Stroke Over Fill.

We could also change this to Fill Over Stroke, which makes the strokes happen behind the text. So, it's not really encroaching upon the fill itself. Now let's talk about a few of these other options here. We can adjust our text by adjusting say, for example, the leading. The leading is the vertical space between lines. So, if we look at our original text, hansel and petal are very close to each other. So, this is what you want from these two lines. By default, it's set to Auto. But if we click and drag on this, we can adjust the vertical height here.

We also can adjust the tracking, which is the space between all characters on a line. Now this looks kind of cool because you see this effect in the movie trailers a lot, where it's like "coming this summer" and the text like will spread out horizontally. This is not where you'd want to animate. There are no stopwatches here. But you can animate tracking and we'll talk about how to do that later on in this chapter. Now if I really wanted to line this text up, what I could do, I have a couple of options. I could hit the Spacebar to space out this text and actually I might want to go to the Paragraph panel and center align the text.

Right now, it's left aligned. Then you could center align it like that. Notice that it goes to the center of the text box. I could also right align it. I could also justify it so it spreads out over the field. I could center all lines, or justify all lines. They all spread out for the width of the entire box. For now, I am just going to go ahead and center this. Another thing, and actually what I would probably do is make this two separate words of text. So, that way I have total control of where I want to put hansel and where I want to put petal.

Now one other quick thing. If you want to play around with the colors of your text, you do that really easily here. I'd actually want a black fill and no stroke. The very quick way to do that is I can make sure that the stroke is active, and make sure it's in front of the fill swatch, and then click the No button right here, which will eradicate the stroke and make it so that there is no stroke on our text. I might need to select that first, then click that button. Very good. And then let's make the fill color active, and then because black-and-white are such common colors, we have a black and a white swatch right here.

If we wanted to use the Eyedropper, we could click the Eyedropper and then select a color from our scene, like this blue. We could do that if we wanted to, but again, we could also just click and use that black. And that way if I click the Selection tool, just select this selection and move it around. There we have text that closely kind of resembles the original hansel & petal and it's black, like we like it. And also again, we are not lining things up here because this probably should be two separate lines of text. But now that we are in the ballpark ready to start talking about bringing this to life with some animation, there are some very advanced and complex ways to do that, but actually, we are going to look at some very quick and easy ways to do that as well.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about After Effects CS5 Essential Training .

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Q: In the "Creating a fireball" movie in Chapter 6, the author showed how to make a fireball. Unfortunately, it all centered around a blob layer that he made without showing how to make a blob layer. How does one go about creating a blob layer like the one used in the video?
A: To create a blob layer, make a shape layer using the Pen tool. Animate the anchor points over time to make it move. These concepts are reviewed in depth in Chapter 4, "Learning to Animate."
Q: In the Chapter 5 video "Understanding precomposing," the exercise file provided does not seem to match up with the file the instructor uses. My file does not include a "Biker Body" layer. Is there an error in the exercise file?
A: Unfortunately, the exercise file originally distributed for this chapter was incorrect. A new file was issued in February 2011. If you downloaded the exercise files prior to then, you can download the corrected file on the Exercise Files tab of the course page.
Q: How do I transition from one piece of animated type to another in After Effects?
A: There isn't an effect that can create these types of transitions. It's really a matter of animating the type and camera, using basic keyframing and positioning.
If you understand the basics of moving the anchor point of a type layer, animating the parameters of that layer (Scale, Rotation, Position, etc.) and then separately animating the camera around the type layers, you can achieve different types of transitions.  Check out the following videos for more information:

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