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After Effects: Principles of Motion Graphics with Ian Robinson covers some of the core principles used to create motion graphics, breaking them down into smaller groups of applied techniques in After Effects. The course explores everything from gathering inspiration to integrating traditional typography, transitional elements, animated textures, color, and more into motion graphics. Instructions for building a toolkit with templates and a style guide for future projects are also included. Exercise files accompany the course.
One of the great things about setting type in After Effects is just how similar it is to setting type in just about any of the other applications found in the Creative Suite. So, if you first cut your teeth setting type in Photoshop, no need to worry; you will find a lot of similarities when you set type in After Effects. As a matter of fact, we will touch on working with type from other applications in later movies in this chapter, but for now let's set some type for our first project. So as you can see, I've got an After Effects project open right now, and we've got some background footage.
Let's go ahead and just watch our RAM preview by pressing 0 on our keyboard. After it loads up a few seconds, go ahead and press the Spacebar so you can watch it back. (video playing) Okay, so as you can see, I've got footage that I shot one morning of Great Falls National Park. It doesn't look very exciting right now, but once we actually add our color correction and some type animation in here, this'll take on a new life of its own.
So before we get going any further, let's go ahead and select the Timeline and press Home on our keyboard so we can return our playhead back to the start of our Timeline. Now to set some type, press Command+T or Ctrl+T on the PC to grab your Type tool. You can also just grab it up here at the top from your Tool palette. Now, when we roll our mouse over our canvas, you'll notice we can see the I bar. Now, if we click anywhere in the canvas, we can start typing. So the name of the company we are going to be using is called King Wave Kayaks, and really all we want to do is add "King Wave" in the scene right now.
So go ahead and type "King" and press Return on your keyboard and type "Wave". Now if you are seeing a different font on your screen, don't worry; After Effects just loads up whichever font you had used in your previous project. So mine, I'd used Palatino most recently. So I am just going to press Enter on my keyboard. Now, just so we can actually make sure we have the same interface, go up to the Workspace pulldown in the upper right- hand corner and make sure Text is selected.
With Text selected, now you notice the Character panel and the Paragraph panel are first and foremost in the scene. So let's get to some keyboard shortcuts. Make sure King Wave is selected in your Timeline. Now in the Character panel, if you want to preview different fonts, just go ahead and select the name of a font by clicking in it. Now, with the name highlighted, go ahead and use our up or down arrows and as you scroll through the different fonts, you'll notice it will actually update in the scene. Now again, don't panic if you're not seeing the same fonts because we have some extra fonts probably loaded on the system.
So to choose a font that everybody has, I am just going to click on the pulldown and scroll up here to Arial Black. Now we have King Wave selected. Let's go ahead and actually tweak this a little bit. First thing we want to do is actually look at this with all caps. So in the Character panel, if you click on the flyout button, you can actually turn on All Caps just by selecting it from the set of options. Now, with All Caps selected, let's go ahead and tweak things a little bit more.
In your Paragraph panel, go ahead and select center text. Now with the center text selected, we have a general starting point for our type. Now, what I want to do is tighten up some of these areas in between each individual letter. And before I do that, what I want to do is make sure that the kerning is set to optical. So go to the Kerning section in the Character panel and you notice by default it's set to Metrics. If you click on that, you can choose Optical. Now what Optical will do is actually analyze the lines of each individual letter and space out the letters accordingly.
So visually it will appear as though there is the proper amount of space between each letter. Now I happened to be very particular with my type, so what I'm going to do is zoom in the magnification to around 100%. And now with my Type tool, I will just make sure to click in between two of the letters. I will click in between K and I. Now, you should see your cursor nice and bold here in between the letters. Now a quick, fast way of adjusting the kerning between individual letters is to hold down the Alt or Option key and then use your Arrow key.
So right arrow will add more space; left arrow will take space away. Notice as I'm clicking, the numbers are actually updating in the Kerning field. So what I will do is just get the K and the I set pretty close and then take my finger off the Alt or Option button and move to the next area, and again hold down Option as we make adjustments. I am going to have a very tight kern on this example. To go to the next line, just use your down arrow.
Now typically I recommend kerning from left to right when you are kerning letters within an individual word. Sometimes as you kern individual letters, depending upon the typeface, you'll get some strange shifting. So it's always a good idea to go from left to right. Okay, and then when you are done tweaking, to go ahead and set this word, all you have to do is press Enter on your keypad. Now, I've got a basic setting here, but let's say my client looked at this and said, "You know what, I just want the spacing overall for all the letters to change." Well, we could go through and select each individual spacing between the letter and kern it out, or we could adjust the tracking.
So again, with my Text tool selected, I am just going to go ahead and click anywhere between any of the letters, and I will actually move my cursor back here to the beginning of the word King. And if you hold down Shift and then use your right arrow, you can select across the word. Now with that selected, if I hold down Option and I adjust, I'm adjusting the tracking. Notice the tracking data is now updating, as opposed to the kerning. The other nice thing about doing this is the fact that it's keeping the general spacing that I had from the original kern that I did. Now it's just spacing things out accordingly by adjusting the tracking separately.
So if I want the word King to kind of match the word Wave a little bit better, I can go ahead and just space that out, adjusting the tracking setting. Now, if I use my right arrow, I can bring my cursor to the right side of the word King, and again, if I hit my right arrow again, I can do the same thing for Wave. So I'll just tighten up the space between the W and the A, and the A and the V. There we go. It's getting pretty close. Now, if you want to move the entire word, once you move your cursor all the way to the left, if you hold down Option, it is actually adjusting the kerning between the space before and the first letter.
But now, as you can see, I have actually got things set up kind of nicely the exact way that I want it. So this looks pretty good for now, and now that we've covered some of the basics with our keyboard shortcuts and different ways of previewing fonts right here in the canvas, I think all of our lives might be just that much easier when it comes to setting type in After Effects.
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