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In this chapter, you'll learn how to add a text animator. If you have the exercise files, preview what you'll be making. In the Comps_Finished folder, open comp 02-Dropping In_final. I'll RAM preview. The first recipe we're going to learn is how to animate one character at a time. In the next chapter, you'll see how to create a cascade of characters. Another option we'll learn in this chapter is animating one character at a time but in a random order. So, let's get started.
First off, I'll close all of my comps. In the exercise files, I've created a blank comp, 02-Dropping In*starter. If you don't have the exercise files, there is no problem; just open a blank composition and we'll get started. I'm using the Text workspace and this opens the Character and Paragraph panels. Just to be sure we're on the same page, go ahead and reset the Paragraph panel and reset the Character panel. If you're using CS5, double-click the Type tool and that will place the cursor in the center of the comp.
If you're using CS4 and earlier, select the Layer > New > Text, and that will have the same result. Now, I'll just start typing. Press Enter when I'm done, click Center on the Paragraph panel, and increase the point size, maybe 60 points or so. I have white type, by the way. Remember, the fill color does not change when you reset the Character panel. You can pick any font you like--maybe I'll pick Arial--but I really encourage you to keep things simple.
Don't get carried away mixing and matching colors and point sizes, and so on. That way you'll be able to understand how the text animator is working without being confused by what's going on in the Character panel. Now in the Character panel, there are no animation stopwatches for any of the properties. The After Effects text engine borrows heavily from the Photoshop text engine, and in Photoshop you can't animate text there either. So the After Effects team came up with this solution of adding text animators, and that's what we'll be covering in the next movie.
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