Learn how to use Illustrator Glyphs panel to create live type for After Effects, create repeating decorative shapes animation using the Text tool, and create text that flows on a path.
- Hey, everyone. Eran Stern here with another After Effects Weekly Tip. In this video, I will show you how you can create these animated, decorative shapes using only two text layers here inside After Effect. The main secret here is to use special characters that you can find in most fonts. In this case, I am using Arial with four lines of triangles, squares, circles, and diamonds. I'm going to stop the preview here and let's move to this beginning comp where I already have those four lines of text.
Now, currently as things stand today, there's no built in glyph panel in the application. So, your best bet here is to use either Photoshop or Illustrator to find and type those characters and then, you can copy and paste them into After Effect. So, I have Illustrator open in the background. I'm going to switch to this application and over here I'm going to select the type tool, and click somewhere. And then, I'm just going to go to the type menu and look for the glyphs panel.
Now, currently, I'm using the Arial font and you can see that I can get a sense of all the characters that are included in this font. So, if I'm going to go up and then, go a little bit down, we can see that we have those nice shapes that we can use. So, if I want to, for example, use this triangle, I'm going to double click on it and then, the glyphs panel is going to type it for me. Same for the other shapes that you are seeing here. So, heres the diamond, for example, and of course, we can take different cubes and there are plenty of other fonts out there with even more impressive array of special characters, but for now, I'm just going to close the glyphs panel and also, going to select the text and delete it.
I already have here the four lines of text that I've created so those are the triangles, squares, circles, and diamonds. I've colorized them over here, and then what I can do is select the type over here in Illustrator, go to the edit menu, and choose copy, then switch back to After Effect. And then I'm going to turn off the visibility for this text layer for a moment and I'm going to activate After Effect's type tool, double-click on it in order to create an empty text layer in the middle of the screen, and simply paste the same data that I just copied from Illustrator.
Now, of course, you can change everything over here. So, you can choose the character panel as well as the paragraph in order to constrain the lines, change the weight, change colors, or whatever you want to do. So, I already did this and I'm going to delete this group of characters, and select this one. Now, a very important thing that I need to say to you, I press the hub enter between each and every line meaning that from the After Effects perspective those are basically four words.
This will become important in a later step. Alright, so now let's do something interesting with this text using the very advanced and sophisticated text engine here inside After Effect. The first thing that I'm going to do is switch to the ellipse tool in order to create a circle mask. Now, I'm going to start and click here in the middle of the comp. And then, I'm going to start to drag up and hold down the command option and shift key on the Mac.
Those will be the Ctrl, Alt, and Shift on the PC side. I'm just going to expand this mask to somewhere over here. Now, I'm going to fold this mask back up. I don't need to see it. I'm going to open up the text properties and under the text, there are path options. I'm going to drill them down and select mask number one, which is the mask I've just created. I'm going to scroll also down here because I need to change a few of the settings here.
For example, I'm going to change the force alignment from off to on, in order to force the alignment, of course, of all of the characters that I see here. Now, you need to play with either the first or last margin just in order for the shape to look as seamless as possible. Now, it won't be perfect, I have to tell you because each one of those lines has different space between them, but I'm going to start with the value of 35 and I'm going to hide these very strange gaps over here in between those triangles where I'm going to animate this shape.
Alright. So, I'm going to close this and now, from the animate menu, I'm going to add three animators. So, I'm going to start with the position and then once this animator is in place, I'm going to this add menu to add additional properties to the same one. So, I'm going to choose scale. I'm going to go back to the add menu, and I'm going to choose line spacing. Now, I can control those values, and then use their range selector in order to animate between them.
So, first I'm going to change the exposition to 100, I'm going to tab to the y position and change it to negative 200, and obviously, I have some experience with this document so, I'm going to plug in some numbers which I know that should work. Alright, the next one is the scale, I'm going to change both the x and y to 150, and then for the line spacing, I'm going to take this to a negative value of 150 as well. So, we are squishing- we are condensing these shape and this will hide all the problems that we saw earlier.
Now, in order to animate it, I'm going to open up the range selector one and I'm going to do it using the offset. So, I'm going to start with the maximum or minimum value, which is negative 100 percent, create a key from here at zero all to the end of my composition five seconds, and take it to each maximum which is 100. Now, if I'm going to press play, we can get a sense of the animation and how it looks. Now, remember that I told you that from After Effect's perspective, those are words.
So, we can actually treat them instead of they're character animation, they're words animation, and you do that by opening yet another triangle under the range selector, which is the advanced. Over here, you can set your animation based on characters. Character excluding spaces, words, and lines. So, I'm going to go with words, and by the way, lines will gave us the same result over here because four words over here, in our case, are also four lines. This already starts to look very promising.
Now, you can play with the mode over here. So, in my case, it is set to add, let's try subtract. This will give us a different animation as you can see, which I fancy. I'm thinking I'm going to leave it like that. Then, in order to create some more madness over here I'm going to drill up and close all the properties under animator number one. And I'm going to select the word text and it's very important that you will select the word text and not the text layer because otherwise, After Effect will think that you may want to add additional animators for the existing one.
Now, I want to create a new one, so I'm going to choose animate and then add the scale animator. And to this animator, I'm going to add the rotation animator as well. Now, I'm going to create key frames for both of them at the beginning just in order to animate the whole shape. This time this animator will animate the characters inside the words. Alright, so let's go to the middle here to 12, in my case, and I'm going to raise it to, let's say, 130.
You can go your own way here, but I found that those values will give me something which looks nice. And then I'm going to return it to 100 percent, so we'll have the same frame at the beginning and at the end. For the rotation, I'm going to create two full revolutions and now we can see that we are animating. With the first animators, the words, and after that, with the second one, we are animating the characters based on what we are defining over here. So, this is a very powerful engine.
Now, in order to make it more vivid and happy and maybe modern as well, I'm going to close everything here and I'm going to click on my shy layers which will show us that we have yet an additional layer of text. I'm going to switch on the visibility for this guy and switch off the eye for the first one just so we'll see what we're starting with. So, this is tons of vertical lines. Usually this key stroke is located between the right bracket and the shift on your keyboard.
So, in this case, I'm going to use it in order to create the raise in the background. I'm going to start the same way meaning that I'm going to select the ellipse tool over here. Make sure the layer is selected, and then I'm also going to toggle the mask and shape visibility, so I can actually see what I'm doing. From the middle of the screen, I'm going to start and create once again a perfect circle. So, start to drag and then add those keys, which will be command, option, and shift on the Mac, ctrl, alt, and shift on the PC.
And this time we want to take this circle just outside the boundaries of this comp. So, something like this should work. Alright. Now, we can close this mask section, open up the text, open up the path options, set it to use mask number one, and as before, I'm going to force the alignment. Now, I happen to know that, in this case, I need to change the first margin to negative 4, but I may need to return and come back to it in a moment, let's see how this goes.
Alright. For now, I'm just going to fold it up and in this case, what I like to do is add another animator in order to scale only the y-axis of those vertical lines. So, I can do it very easily by adding, of course, a scale animator. Then, I'm going to disconnect the connection between the x and the y, and I'm going to start to drag this value, the y-value, holding down shift until I see fit. So, in this case, something like this. And this is a good opportunity to bring back the original shape, so we can see everything in concert.
So, I think something like this, let's see it in the beginning. Yes, I bet it is looking quite good. Alright. Now, in order to not oversell it, I'm just going to go to the main transformation over here and just reduce the opacity to, let's say, 25, as well as spin it in place. So, I'm going to use an expression in order to create a seamless look. I'm going to hold down the option key, alt on the PC, click once on the stopwatch, and I'm going to type time*4.7.
Once again, I know from experience that this should work nicely. Alright, let's give it a try. I'm going to start previewing by pressing spacebar, so we can see everything working together and I think it works beautifully. So, let's enjoy it in full-screen as well. Go to the beginning and start another preview, and this is it. I think it is quite amazing. This is only one example of what is possible with the sophisticated text engine of After Effect.
I hope this light a spark in your brain to what's possible here and I urge you to give it a try yourself and see what you can come up with. It's so much fun and it's very addictive, but in a good way.