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Lesson 13. Creating Text Effects > Working with Text Parameters

Working with Text Parameters

Before we move on, let's take a quick tour through all the parameters that can be adjusted in the Text tab of the Inspector.

Open the Text tab of the Inspector by pressing F4, and click the Format button.

The Text Inspector consists of three panes: Format, Style, and Layout. The Format pane contains properties that determine the size and shape of the text. Here are some of the main parameters:

  • Font Type— Allows you to choose between system fonts and LiveFonts, Apple's animated font format.


    LiveFonts come from an application called LiveType, which is bundled with Apple's Final Cut Pro application. Motion ships with ten new LiveFonts, but LiveFonts already installed on your system will automatically show up in Motion ready to be used.

  • Collection— Allows you to narrow your font search to a certain group of font types.

  • Family— Names the specific font.

  • Typeface— Identifies the style of the font, such as bold or italic. Fonts will vary in terms of which and how many typefaces are supported.

  • Size— The point size of the font.

  • Tracking— The spacing between each of the letters.

  • Slant— The “tilt” of the letters.

  • Rotation— The rotation of each of the letters. Each letter will individually rotate around its base.

  • Text— This entry box, at the bottom of the Format pane, allows you to enter a string of text. Even if the text you're typing disappears off the edge of the Canvas, you can still see what you're typing here.

Click the Style button.

The Style pane offers options for the color and shading of the text. The important options here are the following:

  • Face— This is the fill of the text. By default, the face is all that's active, so you see solid text.

  • Outline— A border around the text. It's off by default, but you can create some really nice text effects by varying the Outline and Face settings. In fact, we'll be taking advantage of this later in this lesson.

  • Glow— Creates a glow in the color of your choice around the text.

  • Drop Shadow— Adds a drop shadow to the text, which is very important for separating text from its background.

Click the Layout button.

The Layout pane contains all the information about how the type is positioned. Its options include the following:

  • Layout Method— Allows you to choose among three types of layouts: Type, which creates single lines of text that can stream off forever to the right side of the screen; Paragraph, which creates a bounding box that forces the text to wrap around once it reaches the edge of the box; and Path, which allows you to draw a path along which the text will travel. Path is great for having text travel in an arc across your composite, for example.

  • Alignment— There are three alignment types: Left, in which the text starts flush with the left border and extends to the right; Center, in which the text spreads out left and right so that the center of the text is always where you first clicked to start typing; and Right, in which the text starts flush with the right border and extends out to the left.

  • Justification— Determines whether the lines of text end evenly at both left and right margins.

  • Line Spacing— The distance from one line of text to the next.

  • Type On— A quick way to animate the letters of your text so that they appear to type onto the screen.


    To quickly set up the Type On effect, throw a Ramp parameter behavior on the End parameter. Set the Ramp Start to 0 and End to 100, and then adjust the In and Out points of the Ramp in the Timeline.

  • Path Options— Determine how text follows a path when the Layout Method has been set to Path.

Now that you have an overview of the Text Inspector, let's take a look at some animation methods.



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