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After Effects Apprentice 06: Type and Music
Illustration by John Hersey

Editing presets


From:

After Effects Apprentice 06: Type and Music

with Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer

Video: Editing presets

Once you've found an animation preset that you like, it's time to see if you can make it even better. I will set my work area to end here, and I will preview this. The first thing I want to do is examine how the animation is put together. So I will select my layer and instead of pressing U, which only shows me the keyframes, I will press UU, and that will show me all of the properties that have changed from the default settings. I will twirl up the animators, and the Transform position value is not that important.
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  1. 3m 35s
    1. Overview
      1m 35s
    2. Using the exercise files
      2m 0s
  2. 14m 51s
    1. Setting up
      2m 20s
    2. Entering, editing, and styling type
      5m 49s
    3. Using strokes
      3m 6s
    4. Working with paragraph text
      3m 36s
  3. 23m 21s
    1. Setting a title
      2m 31s
    2. Creating a text animator
      6m 54s
    3. Selecting by character vs. percent
      3m 0s
    4. Animating position
      2m 4s
    5. Animating more properties
      3m 31s
    6. Exploring text transitions
      2m 47s
    7. Randomizing order
      2m 34s
  4. 22m 49s
    1. The Cascade recipe
      2m 15s
    2. Exploring offset plus selection shapes
      4m 16s
    3. Working with ramp selection shapes
      4m 26s
    4. Using character anchor points
      4m 40s
    5. Further refinements
      7m 12s
  5. 9m 0s
    1. Working with selections based on words
      4m 16s
    2. Anchor point grouping
      4m 44s
  6. 15m 46s
    1. Using a vertical blur treatment
      3m 58s
    2. Animated tracking
      5m 46s
    3. Working with text on a path
      6m 2s
  7. 14m 56s
    1. Per-character 3D overview
      5m 45s
    2. Enabling per-character 3D
      4m 4s
    3. Exploring per-character 3D rotation
      5m 7s
  8. 18m 37s
    1. Separating fields
      3m 48s
    2. Exploring wiggly options
      4m 28s
    3. Animating wiggles
      3m 18s
    4. Rendering with alpha channels
      7m 3s
  9. 45m 29s
    1. Adding audio
      4m 8s
    2. Audio levels
      4m 27s
    3. Spotting hit points
      5m 33s
    4. Timing to audio
      5m 25s
    5. Spotting dialogue
      7m 32s
    6. Timing dialogue to music
      6m 45s
    7. Mixing audio
      7m 53s
    8. Exploring audio refinements
      3m 46s
  10. 23m 9s
    1. Applying text presets
      5m 50s
    2. Browsing presets in Bridge
      4m 35s
    3. Editing presets
      6m 49s
    4. Saving presets
      5m 55s
  11. 16m 27s
    1. Working with Photoshop text
      4m 58s
    2. Keyframing source text
      4m 21s
    3. The Buzz Words preset
      7m 8s
  12. 20m 43s
    1. Exploring faux styling options
      7m 42s
    2. Tracking and kerning
      4m 56s
    3. Using smart quotes
      4m 8s
    4. Using hyphens and dashes
      3m 57s

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After Effects Apprentice 06: Type and Music
3h 48m Beginner Apr 28, 2011 Updated Nov 20, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

One of the cornerstones of motion graphics is creating and animating type. In this course, Trish Meyer shows how to typeset titles professionally and create custom animations, as well as apply and modify the hundreds of text animation presets that After Effects ships with. Additionally, Chris Meyer shows how to add audio to projects, including spotting "hit points" to align keyframes and video action.

The After Effects Apprentice videos on lynda.com were created by Trish and Chris Meyer and are designed to be used on their own and as a companion to their book After Effects Apprentice. We are honored to host these tutorials in the lynda.com Online Training Library®.

Topics include:
  • The core text animation recipes
  • Animating text along a path
  • Working with text animation presets
  • Timing animation to audio
  • Per-character 3D type
  • Rendering with an alpha channel
  • Making Photoshop type editable in After Effects
  • Professional typesetting tips
Subjects:
Video Motion Graphics Visual Effects
Software:
After Effects
Authors:
Chris Meyer Trish Meyer

Editing presets

Once you've found an animation preset that you like, it's time to see if you can make it even better. I will set my work area to end here, and I will preview this. The first thing I want to do is examine how the animation is put together. So I will select my layer and instead of pressing U, which only shows me the keyframes, I will press UU, and that will show me all of the properties that have changed from the default settings. I will twirl up the animators, and the Transform position value is not that important.

So this gives me a nice overview of how the preset is built. In this preset, I have 2 animators, and because they're named, I can tell the first animator is animating rotation and the second animator is contributing scale and opacity. So as you can see, naming the animators is really helpful, especially if you are sharing projects with other people. The next thing I will do is RAM preview each animator separately. So I will turn off Animator 2 and just see what the rotation is doing. Now, the reason there were two animators is that in this particular preset each animator is using a different shape.

This is using the Ramp Down shape to animate rotation. If I preview the second animator, this is using the smooth shape, and both animators are using a variation of the cascading recipe. So if I was going to tweak this, a couple of ideas come to mind. Instead of rotating and scaling around the baseline, I could adjust the anchor point. Another feature that More Options offers is the ability to do inter-character blending, and this could be really nice when characters overlapping as they are here.

So let me show you how that works. I will twirl up Text, twirl it down again, and then twirl down More Options. Inter-character Blending offers the same blending modes that you see for the layer, and we covered these in an earlier lesson. If I select the Add mode, where characters overlap, each character is using the Add mode to composite on the characters behind. When you use Inter-Character Blending, it only affects how characters interact with each other. It doesn't affect how they interact with the background.

The layer itself still has its own blending mode to composite all the characters on layers behind. Feel free to play with those blending modes until you find one that you like best. I think I prefer the Add mode. To adjust the anchor point, I might want to turn off the animator that's adding the rotation. That will make it easier to see what's going on. So currently, scale and rotation are occurring around the baseline. But we know now that if we adjust the Y value for Grouping Alignment, we can center that so that scaling happens around the center.

So I think I like that better, so I will enable the rotation animator again and make sure it's still looking good. At this point, I think I will RAM preview the text animation with the audio enabled. I will turn back on the audio layer and let's look at its waveform. Select LL and I'll increase the height of the waveform, so you can see it better, and we'll will do RAM preview. (audio playing) Since I have a work area set, I will probably want to double-click the Work Area bar so I can RAM preview the entire animation. (audio playing) Okay, so I think this downbeat right around here is very important.

With the layer selected, I can press the Asterisk key on the extended keypad, and that will place a layer marker on that frame, and there is also a bass line that starts playing right around here. So this might be a good section for the text animation to play. I will select the text layer, press U to reveal just the keyframes, and I can either click on the word Offset to select the first set of keyframes and Command+Click to select all of the Offset keyframes, or I can just drag across them all. So let's move these into position.

I think for now we'll just line those up there and see what they look like. (video playing) I think that's close enough for jazz, don't you think? But if you want to continue tweaking, always remember that when you have an easy ease keyframe, you might have to go a few frames later before something really happens. In this case, the J doesn't really start moving until a few frames after the keyframe.

So if you'd like it to appear to be doing something at this frame, just keep moving them back until you see something happening. There we go! The same thing goes with the second set of keyframes. Because the range selector is easing into those keyframes, there is not that much happening at the end. Instead of moving the keyframes, you could leave the keyframes where they are, press the Command key on Mac, Ctrl key on Windows, click on those keyframes to convert them back to linear.

Now you will find, two frames later, the J is visibly moving. So now, I only need to move those keyframes 2 frames back for that J to appear to have moved when the big downbeat happens. (audio playing) So I think I like that better. Because this downbeat is very strong, it makes sense for the first few characters to animate vigorously. At the end of the animation, I quite like that it sits down softly.

Now, remember that these ease keyframes only affect the range selector. If you want the characters to land more softly, you would normally increase the value for the Ease Low parameter. But that will depend on what shape is being used. For the Ramp Down shape, you would use Ease High instead. So these are the type of improvements that you can do to a text animation preset. And remember, no preset can enable the Motion Blur switch. So, if I want motion blur, I'll have to enable it for the layer, and then enable motion blur for the composition, and that should give it a nice look particularly when it's rotating and scaling so quickly.

(video playing) So I hope that gives you some ideas. In the next movie, I'll show you how to save your own animation presets.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about After Effects Apprentice 06: Type and Music.


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Q: This course was updated on 11/20/2012. What changed?
A: We have added four new movies to the end of Chapter 8, "Working With Audio." All four of these movies (Spotting dialog, Timing dialog to music, Mixing audio, and Refinements) apply to all versions covered by the course. In addition, there are new sets of exercise files designed for After Effects CS5.5 and After Effects CS6 and a companion movie that shows our premium subscribers how to use the exercise files.
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