Join Ian Robinson for an in-depth discussion in this video Using animators with type, part of After Effects: Principles of Motion Graphics (2011).
Now, I realize in this course we're looking at the overall process of creating, specifically, motion graphics. I'd argue that one of the biggest advancements in After Effects ever was the addition of animators for text. If you've been designing for a while, you might remember the days before After Effects ever had text animators. But to be quite honest, I have absolutely no idea how I got by without them. If you're unfamiliar, animators give us the ability to be very specific when we animate type, like animating line by line or character by character.
Now I'm now trying to verbalize how animators work doesn't really do you any good, so why don't we go ahead and get started by adding an animator to this first line of type, "the story begins." If you're joining me from the last video, I did go through and actually tweak the animation that we had last time. So let me just scrub through the Timeline here, and you can see, I added the fade-in and fade-out in the second line, and I did tweak this little animation just a little bit, as far as adding the keyframes so the text actually slides in.
In this area, don't worry; we're actually change the font a little later. But let's get back to animators, right here at the beginning. As this moves in, I want to control how this type appears on screen, because right now, right at zero frames, it's already here. I want this to be a little bit more subtle. So to do that, I could use a preset, or I can actually just come right down here and expand the Text options for the story begins. So let's start by opening the disclosure triangle for layer 3.
Next to Text, you should see this Animate option with this little flyout button. If you click on that, you'll notice we have all these different options. What I want to do is just a straight fade-in from left to right. So if we go ahead and choose Opacity here, you'll notice nothing is happened. So let's open our range selector, and you'll notice we have three main parameters: Start, End, and Offset. So let's go ahead and click and drag on the Offset, and you can see these brackets kind of appearing on the screen as I drag.
These brackets are the selectors. So whatever is inside of the brackets will be adjusted accordingly. Now if you go down and look at the option underneath Animator 1, we have our Range Selector, and then we have Advanced, which is actually another section within the Range Selector. But then down here, we have Opacity. This is the actual thing that we're adjusting. So, now as I click and drag this back to 0, notice the area within the selectors pretty much faded everything out.
Now, this one didn't fade out completely, and that just has to do with one of the Advanced options here, as far as how smoothly the fade-in or fade-out happens. If I click and drag on the Offset now, you'll notice each of the letters will slowly start to fade in and fade out as we select more of the text. So what I want to do is actually start with the text completely faded out in all areas. So we'll set the Offset back to 0, and now if we want this to fade in from left to right, all we have to do, let's click and drag on the Start.
Sure enough, if we just keyframe the start keyframe, this will deselect the letters and thus reveal our type. So let's go ahead and just click on the Start here to start our animation, and I want this to happen pretty quickly, so by about frame 12, let's click and drag on that parameter, and get it set over 200%. If we move our playhead back to the beginning and look at a little RAM preview, you can see now our text is fading in from left to right.
Now, that's beautiful, but what if I want the color of the type to change right after the fade happens? Well, I could come right back up here to the Add button and click on that and choose a specific Property, like Fill Color, and choose a specific RGB value. But the problem with this, when I choose that--here, let me go ahead and just choose that one, so you can see. I'll go to Fill Color and RGB. Anything that's inside of this selector will turn red. So in order to see that, we need to actually move back to where the selection is happening, and it's sort of hard to see, but you can see it right there on the edge.
Notice how the type is changing to red, just as it's fading out. The problem is this fill color is tied to the same animator, and what we want to do is actually add a second animator. So just be aware, when you're adding parameters, you can add multiple parameters to one selection. So you can have the type blur in and change color, all with only animating one selection. So let's go ahead and delete our fill color and just add a new animator.
So I'll collapse Animator 1, and with that closed, why don't we go ahead and rename the animator so we know exactly what it's doing? As long as Animator 1 is selected, you can just press Return on your keyboard and then rename it. Let's call this Fade. Now to add a second animator, what you have to do is be very aware of what you have selected in the layer. So let's go ahead and head up to the top part right here underneath the actual layer where it says T. Select the word Text.
Now when we press Animate, if we choose something like a Fill Color > RGB, it'll automatically create another animator. Now it went ahead and called this Animator 1 again, because we'd rename the original animator Fade. If we'd left the name the same, it would stay Animator 2. But now if you notice, all the type is red, and I have my typical Range Selector. So again here, I can look it exactly what's happening and decide how I want this to actually animate.
So let's scrub the End parameter, and sure enough, here with the end, I can actually control when the type turns red. What's nice about this, I could also address the type and then apply a fade back to this, as well. So why don't we go ahead and add two separate parameters to this individual animator. So first thing, let's keyframe our end to the animator. So adjust the End parameter to 0, and let's leave our playhead right at 10 frames, and add our first keyframe for 0.
Now just move your playhead down the Timeline, and I don't know, let's move down to about frame 20. And here we'll have the End actually go all the way to 100. Now this red is a little too bright for me, so as it's actually selecting the area and changing things red, I want it also fade this type back just a little bit, so this red isn't so prominent. If we click on the Add button right next Animator 1, we can just choose another Property. So let's go to Opacity and adjust the Opacity down.
So let's adjust the Opacity down to around 35%. There we go so. So now if we move our playhead back to the beginning and do a RAM preview, we have the type fade on and then it changes colors and opacity. I'm just going to stop playback. I think it's a safe bet to say that animators can give you some of the most precise control in After Effects, arguably more than just about any of the other tools. It's truly a wonder just how motion graphics folks ever got along without them.
- Converting type from Photoshop and Illustrator
- Creating shapes from text
- Using markers in animation
- Editing techniques for graphics
- Using type presets
- Animating type
- Exploring color correction tools
- Building animated textures
- Creating custom vignettes
- Understanding Lights and Material settings
- Adding dynamic transitions
- Rigging cameras for animation
- Working efficiently in 3D space