After Effects – Logo Animation – Part 2 – Text on a Path

By Tom Womack

In part 1 of Logo Animation we introduced the animator function built into After Effects text. This function presents several animation options including position, scale, rotation, opacity, just to mention a few.

What’s so special about text? In our fast internet web world, the highlights of your Web page are much like those of a billboard as your client drives by. Catch them with highlights, important keywords that link to your message and the keywords you have placed for search engines.

However, just as importantly, make your text look really cool ! This is important and there’s an interesting balance to strike being being ‘marquee offensive’ where the text activity actually distracts your viewer versus the kind of text treatment that is visually appealing while at the same time, sharing part of your message.

What do I mean by ‘sharing part of the message’?

Everything about your text, from it’s color, size, font, and texture share the personality of your message and share this with your viewers. The text tools in After Effects are nearly identical to those of Photoshop and Illustrator and other applications in the Adobe suite. Several text options are placed directly on the text tool, choosing font, size, color but also adjusting vertical or horizontal size, faux styling, subscript and superscript, stroke and fill settings.

You have a rich variety of options to stylize your text and that’s before we get into the animation possibilities!

A favorite text animation is using text on a path but that path can be anything! We are used to seeing text follow the description of a logo or have text follow a path that visually conveys part of the message, such as the excitement of fireworks or bubbles or steam rising from a warm appealing dish. In this simple way your text participates in your message is an actor in your sixty second play.

Applying text on a path is really easy too. Let’s go!

Create your stage or artboard. Decide what prop and which text your want to use. For the sake of example, I’m going to use steamy soup. From this steamy soup the word ”delicious’ is going to waft into the air with characters rising with a bit of a roller coaster motion.

Create your bowl of soup, create your steam rising then simply create the word ‘delicious’ using the text tool. Using the pen tool, create a mask path on your new text (highlight your text layer so it is chosen then choose pen tool), then describe the tip of your steam rising as you move across the timeline. The trick here is simple but subtle. The mask must be on your text layer to appear as a ‘Path’ option for your text. The path itself that you draw with the pen tool, describe the top of your steam rising. The shape is the steam so to speak, but the must must be on your text layer to appear as a path option for your animated text to follow.Rename this new mask ‘steam’. As this animation unfolds, steam is rising from this yummy bowl of soup! It’s a little too warm to eat just yet.

Now, in your path options for your text, you will see your new mask presented, ‘steam’ is a path option for your text. The simplest animation to get acquainted here is to use the margin settings. Scrub your first margin setting to see that now your text follows the path you defined sketching your rising ‘steam’. As you move back and forth you see your text move with the steam rising. Return to the beginning of your animation. Adjust the first margin setting so your text is aligned to left of your stage and click the stopwatch that initializes your animation.

Now move to end of timeline, scrub your margin setting to move your ‘delicious’ all the way to the right. Click your margin stopwatch setting again to create a second keyframe. Now preview your animation! You can play with distances and time settings but just to get the basic effect here, having your word describe you emotion and rise with the steamy warmth of you bowl of soup, this very basic exercise should do the trick!

Try it out!

Full Moons, Dogcreek, think globally, act locally.

Web Designer Tom Womack uses Adobe Design Suite creating dynamic sites with rich media.

Adobe After Effects is my application of choice having endless possibilities. I use Premiere Pro for video editing, Flash for final Web compatible movie. I am on a constant learning curve and regularly update my media page.

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