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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®.
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.
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