Join Eran Stern for an in-depth discussion in this video Make Photoshop text editable, part of After Effects Tips and Techniques: Shapes, Text, Masks, and Path Effects.
- Sometimes it's more easy to work on a typographic design in our software. For example, in Photoshop. Then you can bring the text inside After Effects and animate it over here. However, if you really want access to the specific font and letter size, you do need to make sure that you are working with live text inside After Effects. This workflow is very flexible because it will allow you to add final touches to the text, as well as completely change its look and appearance on screen.
I want to share with you one possible scenario where you may want to use this kind of workflow between Photoshop and After Effects. So, I have this composition over here, and the background was designed using Video Copilot Element 3D. And on top of this, I laid out two 3D layers of text. The text was created using Adobe Photoshop, and of course, we can select this text and convert it to an editable After Effects text, but first, I just want to verify that indeed this is a live text inside Photoshop, because otherwise this trick will not work.
So, I'm going to select one of these layers and then press Cmd E on the Mac, Ctrl E on the PC, in order to open this frame inside Photoshop. And indeed we can see that both of these text paragraphs are live text, meaning that After Effects can actually access this information if we ask it to. So, let's say goodbye to Photoshop, this was just in order to verify that indeed we are starting with live text.
Then we can select both of those layers, so layer number 2 and layer number 3, go to the Layer window and choose Convert to Editable Text. Assuming that you have that same font, it will look exactly the same. So, in case you just received the document from a different designer, which worked on a different computer, you may see a different font here if you haven't installed the appropriate typeface. But now, we can actually ask After Effects to show us more options in terms of fonts, for example.
So, I'm going to highlight my first option over here, and then just verify that the font name is still selected, so I can use my down arrow key and just look for different fonts that are installed on my machine. In this case, I'm going to settle with Avenir Next Condensed, you may or may not have this font in your machine, it doesn't really matter, just choose something which kind of looks appropriate for this design.
And by that I mean some font which will look like the letters are not hanging out of the boundaries of these pages. So, for example, I can reduce the size of the font, say to 24 pixels, and then of course you can play with other properties inside the character panel as your heart content. But I actually want to distort the layers so they will feel more connected to the page layout over here, to the perspective of this book.
And I'm going to do so by selecting both of them and applying the Corner Pin effect, so I'm just going to start to type the word corner, and then double-click it, this will apply the effect for both layers. Now, I'm going to deselect, select the first paragraph, meaning the left one over here, and then select the effect and very gently move the upper pins, in this case the right pin, a little bit to the left, and maybe down, just in order to try and make the perspective better.
Now, a very helpful trick here, is to hide the layer boundaries, so I'm going to press Cmd Shift H, Ctrl Shift H on the PC, and just verify that I did a nice job, if not, then of course we need to work on it a little bit more. And as you can tell, this is a matter of trial and error and personal taste. Let's do the same for the other paragraph, I'm going to select the words Corner Pin in the Effect panel, and then I'm going to drag down, and just try to change and distort the perspective, so it will look like this is actually in the same angle of the page.
And you can also turn the effect off and on, to see if this looks better or it may need some extra work. Note that since we are working with live text, we can actually bend it and deform it and distort it as much as we can, and After Effects will still be able to render a pristine and sharp result because every layer of text inside After Effects is by default a vector layer, and you can see here in the timeline that you cannot even turn off the icon for the continuously rasterized option.
If we're going to zoom in, you may be able to see that there is a slight blur. Now, this blur is not something which is related to the Corner Pin effect or the text. This is actually a function of the camera which I've set up, so underneath the Camera Options over here, you can see that I've turned on Depth of Field. If I'm going to switch it Off, then the text will return to the sharp, previous focused version. But I do think that turning a little bit of Depth of Field on makes this look more natural.
Okay, now it's time to animate the letters, this is the main reason why we've converted them from a pixel-based image to a live text. For that I'm going to use one of my favorite text preset animations, which is actually shipping with After Effects, and this the Word Processor. So, I'm just going to start to type it, you can find it under Text, Multi-Line, Word Processor. And I'm going to select, once again, both layers, and double-click in order to apply the animation preset.
Now if I'm going to start and drag my seat here, we can see that, both of them at the same time, are going to start to type the text, and the nice touch of this effect, if I'm going to zoom in, is that we have a blinking cursor over here. So, we can actually modify, by changing the slider value, the speed of the blinking cursor. If you like, you are more than welcome to do so, I'm going to leave it as is, but I will press U in order to reveal the keyframes for the upper Type-on slider, and I will change those.
I want the first paragraph to maybe animate from zero to maybe four and a 1/2 seconds, or something like this, so I'm just going to drag the last key frame over here, and then I'm going to change the value of this text. Once again let's zoom out so we can see everything, until I will be able to see the end of the paragraph, so all the words are visible. Then I'm going to take the key frames for the lower layer, and I'm going to marquis around them, make sure that I'm starting this animation over here, once again I'm going to move the last key frame to almost the end, so something like this, close to nine seconds, then make sure that I'm on top of the last key frame and I'm going to repeat the same steps, just make sure that the slider is all the way over here, exposing all the letters that are visible on this text layer and I think that this is done.
I may want to run preview because I suspect that we are going to see this blinking cursor. Now if you want to change this appearance, if you don't want to see this blinking cursor while the first page is printing its words, then just go to the beginning of this animation, and I'm just going to time it to be exactly on the same frame, and then just start the layer from here. So, I'm just going to change the endpoint by trimming the end of the layer.
Then let's go to the beginning, we can, of course, close the text, and bring the Composition panel to full screen, let's also zoom to fit, and create our final run preview. And so, this is how you can convert pixel-based text from Photoshop to an editable text here inside After Effects. And then of course, modify the font, add some visual effects to help it constrain to the 3D perspective of the image, and also, add some life to it by using the Word Processor animation text preset.
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