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In this chapter, we will be animating text along a curve. The title will have animated blur as well as animated tracking. If you have the exercise files, you'll find this in Comp 05-Path_final in the Comps_Finished folder. The starter comp is 05-Path starter. If you don't have the exercise files, simply create some white text on a black background, and you can add an animated background movie later on. I'll turn off the background movie, so we can concentrate on the text layer.
I'll twirl it down. There is our text layer. The first property we want to animate is Blur. I'll set the Blur amount to a pretty high number, and it will blur in both directions. I'll Undo. If I disable Constrain Proportions, I can instead animate just on the vertical axis. That will give me a nice streaky blur. I'll set it to around 80 or so. Now, we have to decide, how do we animate the title so that the blur fades away, as well as how could we make it more interesting? For instance, rather than have the same Blur value for every character, if I twirl down the Range Selector and twirl down Advanced, I can set the shape to Ramp Up.
The Ramp Up shape will introduce a variety of Blur values, all the way from very lightly blurred near the start selector to a maximum Blur value at the end. In addition, if I enable Randomize Order, it'll scramble the values so that some characters are more blurred than others and there's no discernible pattern. To fade away the blur, I have a couple of options. One option is to animate the value from 80 down to 0. So let's see how that would work. At time 0, I will enable the stopwatch for Blur with a value of 80.
I can go to later in time, say 3 seconds, and change the value to 0. I'll RAM preview and the blur will gradually fade away between 0 and 3 seconds. It's a nice effect, but it's a little on the boring side, so let's compare this look with the look you'd get if you animate the Offset parameter. I'll return to 0 and I'll disable the animation stopwatch, so now we have a value for 80 for the entire animation. I'll turn on the Stopwatch for Offset, and I'll set its value to -100.
So just like the cascading recipe we saw earlier, we're going to use a negative of whatever the end value is. Since that's 100, Offset will be -100. Again, I'll go to about 3 seconds and I'll set it to its maximum of 100%. As the Offset parameter moves across from left to right, the text appears to get sharp as well. Now, as before, the blur will fade away, but this animation has a little more movement compared to animating the blur value directly.
Of course, another reason that the blur might appear more interesting is that we're using the Ramp Up shape, and when Offset is at -100%, all of the characters at the beginning of the animation are after the end selector, so they're getting the full effect of the blur. As Offset animates and Start and End move across, now you're getting a variety of blur values, and then it continues to change from left to right until the characters are sharp.
In the next movie, I'll animate tracking, and you'll see why sometimes you may need to add a second animator to get the effect you're looking for.
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