Cool text effects in after effects

Written by dan ketchum
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Cool text effects in after effects
After Effects manipulates texts in virtually endless fashions. (spring text image by Nicemonkey from

Adobe After Effects is film production software that allows users to create motion graphics and visual effects. Text effects and animations offered by the program include over 500 pre-designed text animations. Users create texts, transitions and titles using basic presets, modified presets or animations made from scratch.

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Pre-Set Animations

In the Creative Suite 5 version of Adobe After Effects, hundreds of presets allow users to animate onscreen text in a multitude of fashions. Animations cause the text to come in and out of the frame or animate while it remains in frame. Depending on the selected preset, text curves, spins, rotates, somersaults, flares, scales in and out or fills in. Presets animate single lines of text or multiple lines. Presets also display various words in succession (such as credits, subtitles, or title cards), flashing them rapidly or creatively animating them in and out. Once animated, presets apply lighting and optical effects to text, causing flashes, flickers, overlays, shadows and silhouettes. When applying colour to text, presets allow multiple colours to phase, flicker, pulse, change hue or slide through text. All presets can be applied as is, or they can be tweaked and modified to suit the user's needs.

Pre-Set Transitions

Transitions creatively segue from one text group to the next. Preset text animation transitions included in Adobe After Effects CS5 include dissolves, movements and wipes. Dissolves cause text to appear or disappear onscreen in quick phases. With this preset, text appears or disappears in a series of blocks, lines or other shapes, or quickly fades in and out of picture. Movement transitions bring or remove text from the frame by moving the whole text block in or out; the text appears to fly in or out from various parts of the screen, sometimes starting small in the background and growing larger as it fully enters the frame. Wipes creatively "reveal" text. As a shape (squares, circles, lines or stars, for example) widens and spreads across the screen, the text is quickly or slowly revealed. These transition techniques are all commonly used to segue between film scenes and can be applied as a preset text effect with just a few keystrokes in After Effects. The settings of each transition can be manually altered by users.

Manual Effects

In addition to preset effects, a virtually unlimited amount of text tricks can be applied manually by taking a few steps. Users create 3-D text by enabling 3-D type layers, adding drop shadows and properly positioning their lights and keyframes. Text appears to "shatter" when the Shatter effect is selected; users set "explosion" points that tear apart sections of any given layer, including text. Users with skill and patience create texts that morph, "write" themselves onscreen, assemble pixel by pixel or create themselves out of smoky wisps.

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