After Effects CS6 Essential Training
Illustration by John Hersey

Creating type animators


After Effects CS6 Essential Training

with Ian Robinson

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Video: Creating type animators

Now it's pretty common to have to create type that exists over a busy background. So if we look at our project here, let's scrub in the timeline with the current-time indicator. And as you can see, most definitely we have a busy background. And if you look in the timeline, it's a QuickTime that's been prerendered. This is the perfect example for pre- rendering because it's going to save us a lot of computing power since all we're changing is the type. I mentioned type, obviously, we need to add type into the scene. So for this project, we're going to add one word, but we'll change it into another word and then we want to make that animation pop by animating its color and its scale.
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  1. 1m 8s
    1. What is After Effects?
      1m 8s
  2. 2m 53s
    1. Welcome
      1m 40s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 13s
  3. 1h 8m
    1. The six foundations of AE
      5m 3s
    2. Introducing the interface and the workspace
      7m 51s
    3. Understanding compositions
      8m 48s
    4. Getting comfortable with layers
      7m 33s
    5. Getting started with animation and keyframes
      8m 30s
    6. Understanding effects
      3m 26s
    7. Moving in 3D space
      7m 41s
    8. Rendering your first animation
      8m 20s
    9. Specifying preferences and cache settings
      5m 44s
    10. Staying organized
      5m 15s
  4. 38m 6s
    1. Creating compositions
      7m 19s
    2. Importing footage and compositions
      7m 54s
    3. Preparing compositions for animation
      8m 7s
    4. Introducing renderers
      3m 15s
    5. Understanding precomposing
      7m 16s
    6. Relinking missing footage
      4m 15s
  5. 59m 58s
    1. Defining layers
      6m 23s
    2. Creating type
      5m 58s
    3. Creating layer solids and shapes with masks
      7m 55s
    4. Building shape layers
      6m 17s
    5. Understanding switches and blend modes
      8m 26s
    6. Crafting custom shapes and masks
      6m 18s
    7. Creating variable-width feathered masks
      5m 1s
    8. Rotoscoping with the Roto Brush
      8m 20s
    9. Refining with the Roto Brush
      5m 20s
  6. 1h 8m
    1. Understanding keyframes
      6m 1s
    2. Adding and adjusting keyframes
      9m 54s
    3. Interpolating keyframes
      8m 5s
    4. Adjusting keyframes in the Graph Editor
      7m 17s
    5. Understanding positional keyframes
      7m 0s
    6. Controlling animation with parenting and the pick whip
      9m 57s
    7. Understanding animation paths
      6m 27s
    8. Timing to audio
      4m 41s
    9. Trimming and sliding edits
      5m 31s
    10. Swapping images
      4m 1s
  7. 29m 7s
    1. Layering multiple effects
      9m 13s
    2. Generating graphic effects with adjustment layers
      7m 28s
    3. Building backgrounds with effects
      6m 50s
    4. Creating animated strokes
      5m 36s
  8. 40m 16s
    1. Introducing cameras
      10m 3s
    2. Working with 3D layers
      6m 37s
    3. Positioning layers
      6m 13s
    4. Adding lights and working with Material Options
      9m 22s
    5. Using 3D precompositions
      2m 5s
    6. Adjusting depth of field
      5m 56s
  9. 28m 31s
    1. Caching and prerendering
      6m 33s
    2. Understanding the alpha channels
      5m 18s
    3. Using the Render Queue
      4m 34s
    4. Rendering with Adobe Media Encoder
      7m 15s
    5. Archiving finished projects
      4m 51s
  10. 44m 28s
    1. Creating type animators
      12m 17s
    2. Animating type in 3D space
      6m 35s
    3. Adding and animating type on a path
      8m 45s
    4. Composing 3D type
      8m 41s
    5. Animating shape layers
      8m 10s
  11. 32m 45s
    1. Creating stylized video
      6m 47s
    2. Retiming video footage
      9m 31s
    3. Retouching with the Rubber Stamp tool
      10m 19s
    4. Smoothing shaky camera footage
      6m 8s
  12. 14m 20s
    1. Understanding keying
      3m 19s
    2. Creating a garbage mask
      4m 27s
    3. Getting started with Keylight
      6m 34s
  13. 15m 57s
    1. Importing Photoshop documents
      6m 11s
    2. Importing Illustrator files
      4m 25s
    3. Working With Premiere Pro projects
      5m 21s
  14. 1h 15m
    1. Adjusting ray-tracing quality
      8m 19s
    2. Tracking footage
      8m 16s
    3. Extruding shapes
      8m 40s
    4. Bending layers
      8m 39s
    5. Adjusting ray-traced lighting and materials
      9m 22s
    6. Adding environment maps
      4m 58s
    7. Beginning compositing
      8m 52s
    8. Creating render passes
      10m 17s
    9. Building a final composite
      8m 14s
  15. 1m 8s
    1. What's next
      1m 8s

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Watch the Online Video Course After Effects CS6 Essential Training
8h 41m Beginner May 07, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, author Ian Robinson introduces Adobe After Effects CS6 and the world of animation, effects, and compositing. Chapter 1 introduces the six foundations of After Effects, which include concepts like layers, keyframes, rendering, and moving in 3D space. The rest of the course expands on these ideas, and shows how to build compositions with layers, perform rotoscoping, animate your composition with keyframes, add effects and transitions, and render and export the finished piece. Two real-world example projects demonstrate keying green screen footage and creating an advanced 3D composition with the expanded 3D toolset, an important addition to CS6.

Topics include:
  • Setting up the workspace, important preferences, and the cache
  • Importing footage and comps
  • Relinking missing footage
  • Creating type, shape layers, and masks
  • Rotoscoping with the Roto Brush
  • Adjusting keyframes in the Graph Editor
  • Timing animations to audio
  • Building backgrounds with effects
  • Rendering with the Render Queue and Adobe Media Encoder
  • Animating 3D type
  • Smoothing shaky footage and retouching footage
  • Keying green screen footage
  • Working with 3D: extruding shapes, adding ray-traced lighting, and more
After Effects
Ian Robinson

Creating type animators

Now it's pretty common to have to create type that exists over a busy background. So if we look at our project here, let's scrub in the timeline with the current-time indicator. And as you can see, most definitely we have a busy background. And if you look in the timeline, it's a QuickTime that's been prerendered. This is the perfect example for pre- rendering because it's going to save us a lot of computing power since all we're changing is the type. I mentioned type, obviously, we need to add type into the scene. So for this project, we're going to add one word, but we'll change it into another word and then we want to make that animation pop by animating its color and its scale.

So to get started adding a word, obviously, we need to go up to our Tool panel and click on the Text tool. Now if the Character panel and Paragraph panel didn't open, come over here to this button and toggle it in the top center part of the interface. With the Text tool, let's just add our text right here in the middle of our viewer. If you just click, we can add the word energy, and press Enter on your keyboard to set. I had yellow as a color, if you want to choose a different color, just make sure you have the first layer selected and then click in the Color Well and change your color.

Now I'm just going to make this a little more saturated and click OK. I do have a color palette that I would like to stick to, and that's in this Logo layer. Notice it's an Illustrator file. If we double-click this file to open it in its own footage window, any time we go to reselect the text the footage window is going to disappear. So let's select the footage window and click this lock on the left-hand side of the tab. If you click on little grippy icons, we can drag it to the left side of our Viewer window and now we can see our logo and our new animation.

Now let's just click in between the Viewer and the Footage window just to make it really small, and then I'm going to middle-click and drag on the Footage window to bring these shapes up. This way now, if I want my colors to match exactly my color palette, I can do that by just grabbing my Eyedropper and then choosing, let's say, this teal color. Now notice that didn't work and that was just because I didn't select my layer first in the Layers panel. Now when I grab my Eyedropper and click, it's going to change to the new color. Okay, perfect! Now as I'm looking at my type, I'm realizing the background is extraordinarily busy.

And since this isn't going to change and I just want to focus on the animation, let's turn off the video. Now we can focus solely on our text. So to animate the text we need to open up the Text Options. So open up the Options for the Text layer and then open up the Text sub-options. Notice with Text layers, we just have more and more little arrows that we can open up to give us more options. Right now, I want to add a keyframe for my source text. So let's move our current-time indicator to 1 second in the timeline and add a keyframe for the source text.

If we move our current-time indicator to 2 seconds, this is where we will change our word and the color of the word and the typeface. But before we do that, I want you to notice the keyframe that was created was a Hold Keyframe, I know that because it's square. Okay. Now to change the text, you should have the Selector tool active, if you don't make sure it's active. And now in the canvas, just double- click directly over top of the word. When you do that, the entire word is selected.

If you go over to the Character panel and highlight Rockwell here, we can scroll up and down and preview the typefaces with the Arrow key on our keyboard. I already know what I want to change my text to, so I'm just going to click on the pulldown and scroll up until we get to Arial. Okay, now with Arial selected, let's change the color. I'm just going to grab my Eyedropper and go over here and choose this yellow color. I like all these changes that I've made.

Let's grab our Selection tool, and you notice, now our second keyframe has been added. If we scrub in the timeline you can see here's energy and energy. We have the color and the typeface, let's change the word. To jump back in the timeline, just press J and double-click the word again. Now let's change it from energy to power. And you can press Enter on your keypad to set the type or yet again, grab the Selection tool. Okay, so now we have our two words changing.

So with source text, as you can see, you can change the actual source of the text and it makes reference to its color and outline and typeface, et cetera. If you want to create some more organic animations, you need to go to the Animate button. If you click on this button right here, it will bring up a flyout menu of all the different parameters that you can animate. So let's change the Fill Color for the word energy. Choose Fill Color > RGB and now you notice, this red color is overriding any of the other values that I have set for energy.

Even if we scrub in the timeline down to the second keyframe, notice the word in the typeface will change but the color value is overridden. Any time you create animators, those values will override the original source text, unless you change the animator. Let's scroll down in our timeline here so you can see an animator was added when we added the text with the Animate button. As a matter of fact, I'm just going to make my timeline a little larger here. Okay, in the category Animator, there is option for Range Selector.

If we open those options, I want you to click on Start. Notice when Start is selected, if we grab our Selection tool, here click on the left side and start dragging. And notice I'm selecting less and less of the word and the percentage for Start is changing. If we click on the right side and drag, you'll notice the end is changing. Now what's bothering me is the fact that these are percentages. So if you go to the Advanced Options down here under Units, you can change the pulldown to Index.

And sure enough, now within the Index, you can see it's starting at character two, so these two, and then it's ending at character four; one, two, three, four. So two out of the four are selected. So let's look at Offset. What I like to do when I'm animating is click and drag on a parameter so I can see how it might animate. So I like to scrub back and forth. As I drag back to the left, notice when I get to -5, I can see now my animator is completely off of the word and I'm ready to use this as my start point.

So let's add a keyframe for Offset. And let's move our current-time indicator down to 2 seconds in one frame just after the word changes. I'm going to scrub my Offset value to the right, and there we go, we'll set it to four. Now as I scrub through this, you can see, I have the color changing and when it gets just to the other side, the word changes and the color changes. So that looks pretty cool. Now I want you to move your current-time indicator to right in the middle of the animation.

There is something else I want you to pay attention to and that's the mode option down here. Now to accentuate what we're looking at, I want to add another parameter to the animation. So if you want to add another parameter to an existing animation, you go to that animator and there is an Add button. So if I click on that pulldown menu, let's add a Property of Scale. And notice these properties are the exact same options that I had up here under this Animate button.

The difference being, I know I'm adding this, specifically to the Animator 1 option. So now as I scroll down here to the bottom, you can see I have a scale set to 100%. If we look at the mode, it's set to Add. Now since I'm already at 100% scale for my layer itself, when I add it's not going to add anything else, unless I adjust the Scale percentage down here. So let's scale this up to around 130.

Now you can see how the scale is happening and the color is happening. If I click and drag you can see it's moving across. To bundle up these last couple of options here, we have Shape, Smoothness, Ease High and Ease Low. When you look at the Shape, that's how these selectors are moving across the letters. So right now, it's set to Square. Now if we bring the Smoothness all the way down, look at what happens to these letters. I'm going to scrub it down to 0 and we're not seeing anything.

We'll see something when we scrub. Notice how the letters are just popping from 0 to the 130 value? That's because the shape is square and it's not smooth at all. So it's like a right angle going through there. If you drag up to 100%, now you can see it's smooth across. By all means, you could click- through this Shape pulldown and see how the different options change your animation, but I think you understand how we can make some adjustments with here. Ease High and Ease Low, just smooth out the transition from the state before the selector and after the selector or the animator rolls over the type.

Now that you understand the basics of creating one animator, I just want to come back up to the top here and show you that you can create a second animator. The most important thing if you want to add a second animator is to make sure that you don't have the Animator 1 selected. So just to play it safe, I'm going to select the text up here and then go to Animate, and if we add another parameter, let's choose Position. Now I have a completely separate animator, and if we expand the Range Selector options, you can see I have a whole new set of range selections.

I don't want this animator applied to this word, so let's go ahead and select Animator 2, and if you ever need to delete one, you just press Delete once you've selected the word animator. So if we scroll back up to the top and collapse our Energy layer, there's one other thing I want to point out. After you get comfortable creating your own animations with animators, you should go up to the Animation panel. As long as you have a Text layer selected when you go to Animation, there's an option for Browse Presets.

I want you to click on that because there is a huge library of presets that Adobe's already made for you, and you can browse through those in Adobe Bridge. Now once the presets are open in Bridge, open the Text layer and within the Text layer, you can check out all the different kinds of animations. So let's choose Animate In. Notice here, I can select on any one of the preset animations and we'll get a preview here on the right-hand side.

If it's a little sluggish, don't worry that's just your machine loading up the previews. If there was something that I liked with these animations, you can easily apply them to your Text layer as long as you had the Text layer selected before you browse the animator. All you have to do is double-click your preset. So with that preset selected, you can open up the Text layer and notice, I have a second animator that's doing nothing but what I set from my preset. And I can also turn off the visibility of Animator 1, so as we go through the preset you can see its animating based on what we had set up using the preset.

This is a great way to go reverse engineer your animations and continue to grow with text animators.

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