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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®.
In this movie, I'll cover a few ways that you can refine your animation. We saw earlier how you can add the Blur property to any animation. However, when you add Blur, it's more like a Gaussian Blur, and it blurs in all directions evenly. On the other hand, because it's part of the text animator, you can save the Blur property and its value as part of a text animation preset. I will set the Blur property back to 0, and let's compare that look with the results you get from the regular motion blur.
To enable motion blur, you need to first enable the Motion Blur switch for the layer and then enable the master Enable Motion Blur switch at the top of the timeline. At this point, you can see that as the characters are animating from right to left, they are motion blurred in the same direction. The faster the characters are moving, the more blur they have, and as they slow down, they get less and less blurred. Now remember, the speed that the pixels are traveling is mostly determined by how many frames or seconds are between the two keyframes.
So if I was to speed up this animation by making it travel over one second, those pixels are traveling much faster. On the other hand, if I slow down the animation by moving the keyframe later in time, in the middle of the animation, those pixels are not as blurred, because they are not moving as quickly. Now, you can control the amount of motion blur you have. Under Composition Settings, click on the Advanced tab, and it's controlled by the Shutter Angle. The default is 180. I will double that to 360.
Now, the characters will be more blurred even though they are moving more slowly. Now, I also want to point out that the regular motion blur is also smart. If I increase the Rotation value, pixels that are rotating quickly are more blurred than pixels that are rotating more slowly, an effect you won't get with the Blur property in the Text Animator. As the animation completes, the blur fades away. One of the only drawbacks with using regular motion blur is because it's a switch, it cannot be saved in the text animation preset.
On the other hand, if you apply any of the presets that come bundled with the program, you can enable the Motion Blur switch for an even nicer effect. Now, one thing to watch out for is that as the animation slows down and characters are no longer blurred, they may appear to pop and be sharp. This is more evident when the animation is going faster--let's say only for a second-and-a-half. As characters sit down, they are very blurred on one frame, and on the next frame, they are very sharp.
One of the ways you can avoid this is by easing the characters into position. I'll return my keyframe to 2 seconds where it was originally, and in the Advanced section of the text animator, there is an Ease High and then Ease Low control. Now, this wording might be a little confusing. We're more used to Ease In and Ease Out, meaning into a keyframe and out of a keyframe. Well, when you are using the Ramp Up shape, which we are doing here, the high point are the characters that are most affected by the properties that are applied and the low point is when it's closer to being normal.
Remember, every shape will have a different high point and low point, but in general, the low point is as the characters approach being normal. Now, when I reduce it, very few of the characters are close to being normal. You can actually go to -100. In that case, characters would just pop in to position very quickly with no ease whatsoever. So let me increase it back to 100%, which is the maximum. When I step through frame by frame, you can see the characters slowly easing into position and the motion blur is fading away without that pop that you were seeing earlier.
Now, when I RAM preview, you can see the characters are landing more gently. Now, don't confuse this with easing into the second keyframe for offset. Remember, these keyframes control how the selectors move across the type. If I ease into the second offset keyframe, I'm simply saying, slow down the selector as you move across. But I would not be slowing down how the characters land. If you want the characters to land softly, then you need to increase the Ease Low value.
So let's see what else we can do to finish off the animation. Now, I mentioned earlier that we normally do not animate the properties; however, there's no reason why you can't animate any of these, with the exception of opacity which should remain at 0%. Let's say we don't like the Rotation to be so extreme at the end of the animation. I could turn on the stopwatch for Rotation and maybe set it to 300 degrees at the beginning, and then I'll go to my second offset keyframe at 2 seconds and I will set Rotation to 0.
Now, when I RAM preview, the characters are more rotated at the beginning and then less rotated towards the end. The Anchor Point value can also be animated, and this can work really well. For instance, let's say at the beginning I like the horizontal offset, but as time goes by, by 2 seconds, I'd like the Anchor Point value to be 0, and that should tighten up the animation as time goes by.
You don't even have to have things synchronized. I could take the Rotation keyframe and fade that out by 1 second. I can even apply Easy Ease into it, and now the characters are rotating for the first second and not for the second. And don't forget, you can also randomize the order of any animation. I will just enable it and I will see if I like that effect better. Now, as the characters are animating, for the first half of the animation they have a lot of rotation, and the characters that appear for the second half of the animation are not rotated at all.
So you can see the style of the animation isn't changing. It's just the characters are coming on in a random order. As a reminder, you can change the Random Seed value if you'd like some control over the order in which the characters appear. Now up to now, all of the text animation we've done has been character by character. In the next movie, I'll show you how to animate on your title word by word.
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