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Creating the main title

From: After Effects Apprentice 16: Creating a Medical Opening Title

Video: Creating the main title

Next, I want to add our main title over this final Hero shot. Now the camera move is constantly pushing in on this shot. So to make sure that my title is visible at the end, hasn't gone outside of the frame, I'm going to press End on my keyboard. This is the closest we're going to zoom in during the length of this entire shot. I have my Action and Title Safe Areas turned on. I need to make sure that my title's final resting area is inside the Title Safe line, you can press apostrophe to toggle that off and on and now I'm going to double-click the Text tool to create a new blank text layer.

Creating the main title

Next, I want to add our main title over this final Hero shot. Now the camera move is constantly pushing in on this shot. So to make sure that my title is visible at the end, hasn't gone outside of the frame, I'm going to press End on my keyboard. This is the closest we're going to zoom in during the length of this entire shot. I have my Action and Title Safe Areas turned on. I need to make sure that my title's final resting area is inside the Title Safe line, you can press apostrophe to toggle that off and on and now I'm going to double-click the Text tool to create a new blank text layer.

Doing so opens up the Character and Paragraph panels automatically. I think I want to center my text and I'm going to make sure that I'm starting with the Center Text option but this is something I can always change later. The client has told me that the title of the show is "Surviving a heart attack." Heart attack sounds like it's the main words. Let's set those first. I'm going to type heart, press the Return on the main part of my keyboard, not the enter key, to start a second line and then type attack. Now I can press enter to accept the line of the text and I'll even press V to return to my Selection tool.

I want this text to move in 3D space following the camera that I've created for this composition, so I will enable the 3D layer switch for my text layer. And next I want to attach it to this null that's already tracking the camera's movement throughout this shot. You'll see that the text at its default position in the center of the roll already has some movement but it may not exactly relate to this foreground actor. So I'm going to press Shift+F4 to reveal the parent panel and for the Heart Attack layer, I can either set its pop-up to Track Null 1 or use its pick whip tool to attach it to Track Null 1.

Before I release the Mouse button, I need to make a decision here. Normally, parenting remembers the current offset between the layer's initial point and the null's initial point. Since my Heart Attack layer is pushed back in space, I really don't want to remember this offset, I want to jump to where that null is. So this is a nice little feature they've added in After Effects, if I press the Shift key while parenting, any offset between the child and parent, the text and the null in this case will be zeroed out. When I release my Mouse button, my text jumps to where the Null is, if I press P, I can verify that its offset is 0.0.0.

If you're using a version of After Effects before CS6 that does not support Shift parenting, just zero these values out. Okay, now that I see how my title is going to be at the very end of this frame, I can actually start typesetting it because I'm seeing it in context. I think I'm going to make my initial color white, there's also a little swatch you can click on to immediately set to white. I don't think I like the full Italic, I'm going take that off and you can choose whatever font you have installed to set this title. I am kind of limited to what was installed with After Effects, I'm going to assume you are, too, so I'm going to go ahead and use this Myriad Pro Semibold.

I think my title could be a little bit larger in size and I think I need to change the space between my lines of text, so they sit closer on top of each other, maybe like that. It might be a bit too big, maybe somewhere around there and change its spacing. Now it might be nice if the bar in the T and the K lined up with each other so I think I'm going to play you some games here with kerning. I double-click the layer which makes the Text tool active again. I'm going to place my cursor in between characters that could stand to be tightened up, like this A and C. Hold Option on Mac, Alt on Windows and use the left arrow to tighten these up a little bit.

That could frankly use a little tightening as well. The A could tuck more into this T. I'm going to keep an eye to also align the bars in the T and K just to make it look a little nicer, up in the center again. Finally, I need to offset the position of this Heart Attack title so it sits where I want at the very end of this composition. In this case, I think I like it centered, down here at the very bottom of the frame. So I'm going to scrub the X and Y positions to make it sit here on my Title Safe line and pretty much centered on my composition.

Now that I see it in context, I do see they could be larger. So let's go ahead and make this some larger type, get my spacing correct and then press V and drag it back up again to sit on this Title Safe line. Something else I might do just to improve the multiplaning experience, to make it appear just on a different plane than this actor's shoulder. So I might go ahead and pull it towards me in z space, just so it's a little bit in front of the actor. And let's get it back up in top of that Title Safe line, somewhere around there looks like a good starting point for me.

Of course, you can set this to your personal taste. I will drag it over here, be a little bit more centered. Get it away from this item he's holding. Let's see how that looks throughout the composition. Okay, it's pushing forward, along with the camera movement. It's still large enough at the beginning of the move and ends nice and bold. I like that.

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