Using character anchor points
Video: Using character anchor pointsNow, in the last movie, I covered in detail how the cascading text animation works, and I used the Position property for that example. In this movie, we'll create another cascading animation, this time using Scale. I'll also show you how to adjust the anchor point so characters don't always have to scale around the baseline. I'll return to my Cascade*starter composition, and since I already had an animator, I'll select it and press Delete. If you don't have the exercise files, go ahead and create some white text on a black background.
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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®.
- 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
Using character anchor points
Now, in the last movie, I covered in detail how the cascading text animation works, and I used the Position property for that example. In this movie, we'll create another cascading animation, this time using Scale. I'll also show you how to adjust the anchor point so characters don't always have to scale around the baseline. I'll return to my Cascade*starter composition, and since I already had an animator, I'll select it and press Delete. If you don't have the exercise files, go ahead and create some white text on a black background.
The first thing I'll do is press the Animate button and select Scale. This will add Animator 1, the Range Selector, and the Scale property. I'll twirl down the Range Selector and just check that I am counting in percent. If I increase Scale, you can see that the characters scale around their individual anchor points. You'll even see a small x at the baseline of every character. This shows you the position of the anchor point, and that's a new feature in CS5. Let's change the Scale value to something quite large, let's say 400%. And don't worry for now how the characters are overlapping; we'll change that in just a second.
If you remember, to create a cascading animation, you need to set the Shape pop-up in the Advanced section to Ramp Up. Once you do that, the characters are transitioning from 100% to 400% between the Start and End selectors. Now I need to decide how many characters I would like to have animating on at the same time. Let's say I would like that to be about a third. If that's the case, I'll set the End value to 33%, press Return, and now one-third of the characters will cascade on at the same time.
To create the animation, I press Home and I animate Offset. The first keyframe will be a negative of whatever the End value is, so that should be -33%. And I'll set my second keyframe say at 2 seconds, and we'll set that to 100%. Now as Offset animates, the characters return to the normal 100% size. Of course, we shouldn't forget to Add > Property > Opacity and set its value to 0%, and that will make all the characters after the End selector invisible.
I'll stop here at about 1 second, so you can see some of the characters in transition. And I'll also increase Opacity, just so you can see what's going on. Now at the moment, all characters are scaling around the baseline. We can change that by adding the Anchor Point property. I'll click on the Add button again, and Add > Property > Anchor Point. You can adjust the horizontal and the vertical, and we'll just adjust the vertical for now. This might appear to be not unlike adding Position, but it does make a difference, because both Scale and Rotation are using this new Anchor Point Offset.
By adjusting the anchor point, you can also make characters rotate around the center. For instance, let's center the anchor point up and we'll Add > Property > Rotation, and we'll increase the value. And now our characters are rotating around their center and not around the baseline, like they were earlier. I'll just reduce Opacity back to 0, and there is our cascading animation using Scale and Rotation. Of course, you can also adjust the horizontal value for Anchor Point.
When I increase the horizontal value, it might appear the characters are animating in from the right-hand side. But it's easier to see what's going on if you set Rotation back to 0. Now, you can see that what's actually going on is the characters are appearing from left to right. If I change the horizontal Anchor Point value to a negative, characters will appear to stretch in from the right-hand side.
So have some fun playing around with the anchor point, and in the next movie, I'll cover a few ways that you can refine your animation.
Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about After Effects Apprentice 06: Type and Music .
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- 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.
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