Start learning with our library of video tutorials taught by experts. Get started

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

Entering, editing, and styling type


From:

After Effects Apprentice 06: Type and Music

with Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer

Video: Entering, editing, and styling type

When you select the Type tool, the easiest way to create text is to simply click and start typing. This is called point text, by the way. In a later, movie I'll cover paragraph text. Now when I am done typing, instead of hitting the Return key which just adds more lines, instead I'll press the Enter key. Notice now I have handles around my text. Once I've pressed Enter, the layer name will reflect whatever words I just typed. If I want to rename the layer, I simply select it, press the Return key, type a more useful name, and press Return again.
Expand all | Collapse all
  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

Watch this entire course now—plus get access to every course in the library. Each course includes high-quality videos taught by expert instructors.

Become a member
Please wait...
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

Entering, editing, and styling type

When you select the Type tool, the easiest way to create text is to simply click and start typing. This is called point text, by the way. In a later, movie I'll cover paragraph text. Now when I am done typing, instead of hitting the Return key which just adds more lines, instead I'll press the Enter key. Notice now I have handles around my text. Once I've pressed Enter, the layer name will reflect whatever words I just typed. If I want to rename the layer, I simply select it, press the Return key, type a more useful name, and press Return again.

It's also worth distinguishing between Layer mode and Editing mode. When I press the Enter key and I see these handles, this is called Layer mode. And that means any changes I make in the Character panel affect the entire layer. That goes for changing the color, the tracking, the font, and so on. When I click inside the text, this is called Editing mode. Any changes I make only affect either letters that are selected or letters that I am about to type. For instance, if I now change the color, say to red, anything I type will be red.

But when I press the Enter key, I'll be back in layer mode. And if I then change the color, it will affect all of the characters. Notice that the fill color has a question mark. This is simply because there's a mix of two colors. And that will happen also if you change say the point size. If I make CS5 larger, press Enter, the point size will just have a dash. It simply means that there is a mixture of sizes. Now if you're familiar with any other Adobe program, you should be familiar with the Character and Paragraph panels.

But if any of these icons are new to you, simply hover your cursor over the icon and a tooltip will pop up and tell you what each one does. Now there are a couple of things I did want to point out though. Rather than click and select the new font, you can simply select the Font menu and use your up and down arrow keys to go up and down your Font menu selecting different fonts. This is when you can't remember what each one looks like. You can also use this technique for the Font Styles menu. Gill Sans happens to have a number of different styles.

So I can place my cursor in the field and use the up and down cursor keys to cycle among them. Next, I'd like to show you a good tip for centering type. I'll select this layer and delete it. In CS5, I simply double-click the Type tool and this will place the cursor in the center of the comp. If I also change the Paragraph panel from align left to center, when I start typing, the words will automatically be centered. Now when I said the text would be centered, what I meant by that is that the anchor point for the text, which is on the baseline, would be centered in the composition.

If I toggle on Action Title Safe, you can see exactly how they line up. And by the way, when you have the Type tool selected, you can press the Command key on Mac, Ctrl key on Windows, and that allows you to reposition the text anywhere on the screen; however, be aware that adding the Shift key does not constrain the movement to the Y axis only. If you want to make sure it stays centered, you might want to press P for position and scrub the Y axis.

I'll turn off Action Title Safe for now. There are a couple of other subtleties that are worth noting. For instance, when I have the Type tool selected and I hover over the type in Layer mode, the cursor is available for me to click and start editing. However, if I move the cursor away from the type, the cursor changes. You can click and start typing a new layer. I'll delete that. And generally speaking, when you're editing in After Effects, you have the Selection tool selected and you may not have your type selected.

So when you want to edit it, if you just click once, the entire layer will be selected. You don't have to change tools to simply change the color or the size. If you want to edit your type, you need to double-click, either in the Composition panel or in the Timeline panel. The entire layer will be selected and highlighted. But now you can place the cursor and start typing or make any other kind of change. Maybe we'll make the A a little bigger. Again, when you're done, hit the Enter key and you'll be returned to layer mode.

Now I mentioned that you could press the Command key when you wanted to reposition your layer. Be careful about doing that on one of the handles, though. That is actually scaling your layer. If you press S for scale, you can see I've now changed my Scale value. Let me undo back to 100%. Finally, note that when you scale type, the edges will always remain smooth, no matter how large you make the type. This is called continuous rasterization. So whether or not you scale the layer or change the point size in the Character panel, the type will always remain smooth.

However, as a rule of thumb I prefer to change the point size in the Character panel. I can then use the Scale parameter when I need to animate the layer. In the next movie, we'll look at adding a stroke.

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


Expand all | Collapse all
Please wait...
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.
Share a link to this course
Please wait... Please wait...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.
Upgrade now


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Upgrade now

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed After Effects Apprentice 06: Type and Music.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Welcome to the redesigned course page.

We’ve moved some things around, and now you can



Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked

Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.