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Lesson 2. Ballet Special Bumper > Using the Basic Text effect

Using the Basic Text effect

When you're ready to add text to your projects, you will most often create the type in another program, such as Adobe Illustrator, and import it into your project. However, you can also create simple text in After Effects by using the Basic Text effect. In this section, you will create several text elements using that effect.

  1. Set the current time to 00:00 by pressing the Home key.

    The text effect is applied directly to a selected layer. Since there are several different text elements to be designed, you will create a new layer with a solid image, or solid, for each element, and then apply the text effect to the new solid.

  2. Choose Layer > New Solid, type Sunday for the name, set the size to 200 × 100 pixels, leave the color as the default gray, and click OK.

    A gray solid layer appears in the Composition window.


    Figure .


  3. Make sure the solid layer is selected in the Time Layout window, and then choose Effect > Text > BasicText from the Effect menu. The Type dialog box appears.

  4. In the text entry box, type SUNDAY (uppercase), ensure that the Center Alignment button is selected, and choose Adobe Garamond or a similar font in the Font menu.

Note

Note: To display text in the Basic Text dialog box using the font that you have chosen, the Show Font option in the lower left corner must be selected. Not all fonts can be displayed; if this option is unavailable, choose another font.


  1. Click OK.


    Figure .


    The text appears in the Composition window, in the default color red, and the Effect Controls window appears. You can set the font, size, color, position, and other type characteristics in this window. The Effect Controls window is displayed automatically whenever you apply an effect to a layer. When multiple effects are applied, a single tabbed Effect Controls window contains all controls for all applied effects. You can also display the window at any time by choosing Layer > Open Effect Controls.

  2. In the Effect Controls window, click the Text Color swatch, and then use the color picker to select a light color; we used a very pale. Click OK.


    Figure .


  3. To set the font size, click the underlined default Size value in the Effect Controls window, enter 45 in the Slider Control dialog box, and then click OK. You can also use the Size slider.


    Figure .


  4. Leave Composite on Original display deselected.

    Selecting the Composite on Original option will display the original layer to which the text has been applied. (Try selecting this option; if you do, you will see the type composited on the original gray solid layer.)

  5. In the Time Layout window, click the triangle to the left of the Sunday layer name to display the layer outline. Then click the triangle next to Effects to display the properties outline. Finally, click the triangle next to the Basic Text effect to display its properties. You can change text effect values here in the Time Layout window as well as in the Effect Controls window.

Tip

To show only the effects for a layer in the Time Layout window, press the E key.


If you need to edit the text, click Options for the Basic Text effect in the Effect Controls window or in the switches panel of the Time Layout window—to the right of Basic Text.

The text appears jagged because it is in the default Draft quality. (The Quality switch appears as a jagged backslash symbol in the switches panel of the Time Layout window.) Although you could change the quality to Best at this point by clicking the Quality switch, Best quality uses more RAM, so you may want to leave it in Draft quality while working. For more information on the Quality switch, see the After Effects User Guide.


Figure .


The Basic Text effect is for creating the most basic text; for greater flexibility and control in setting the type, you should import text from an illustration or imaging program, such as Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop.

  1. Close the Effect Controls window and click the triangle for the Sunday layer to collapse its outline.

Tip

To open the Effect Controls window, choose Layer > Open Effect Controls.


Viewing safe zones and grids

Television sets enlarge a video image and allow some portion of its outer edges to be cut off by the edge of the screen. This is known as overscan. The amount of overscan is not consistent across television sets, so you should keep important parts of a video image, such as action or titles within margins known as safe zones. You can view safe zones in a Footage, Layer, or Composition window. When you arrange layers in a composition, do the following:

  • Keep important scene elements, graphics, and actors within the action-safe zone.

  • Keep titles and other text within the title-safe zone.

—From the Adobe After Effects User Guide, Chapter 2


Safe zones

When preparing a composition that will be output to videotape or broadcast, you need to make sure that important elements are placed within the action-safe and title-safe zones. You can change the percentage of safe margin window area in the display preferences.

  1. In the Composition window, click the safe-zones icon to the immediate right of the Magnification menu.

    Safe zones overlay the composition's image.


    Figure .


  2. Drag the text to the upper left corner of the composition, within the title-safe area. The position point for the Basic Text effect controls is positioned directly on top of the anchor point for the solid layer. When you drag the layer, don't grab the text's position point or you might reposition the text on the solid layer.


Figure .


Tip

To display the safe zones, press the apostrophe key. Pressing the apostrophe key or clicking the safe-zones icon toggles the display off and on.


Animating the text opacity

Now you will animate the text opacity, making the text fade in at the beginning of the composition, and fade out at the end of the composition.

  1. Ensure that the Sunday layer is selected in the Time Layout window.

  2. With the current time at 00:00, click the triangle to display Transform properties for the Sunday layer, and then click the Opacity stopwatch to set an initial Opacity keyframe. Click the underlined Opacity value (currently 100%), enter 0 in the Opacity dialog box, and click OK.

  3. Move the current-time marker to 00:15, click the underlined Opacity value, enter 100, and then click OK. You should now have two keyframes creating a 15-frame fade in of the text.

  4. Move the current-time marker to 09:20, and click the keyframe navigator check box to the left of Opacity to set a keyframe that duplicates the settings of the previous keyframe. The opacity does not change between these two keyframes.

    Figure . Keyframe navigator check box

  5. Set the current time to 10:00, and set the Opacity to 0%.

  6. To watch the fade-in, return to the beginning of the composition; then click the Play button in the Time Controls palette (or press spacebar), and play the first second of the composition. Click Pause (or press spacebar again) when finished.

  7. In the Time Layout window, click the layer triangles to collapse the layer outline, and then save the project.

Using the In and Out panels

You will use the same techniques to create and format the second piece of text, and then position it in time by using the In and Out panels.

  1. Set the current time to 05:00, and then choose Layer > New Solid, type afternoon for the name, set the size to 200 × 100 pixels, leave the color as the default gray, and click OK.

  2. Choose Effect > Text > Basic Text.

  3. In the text box, type afternoon (lowercase), ensure that the Center Alignment button is selected, and choose a font such as Adobe Garamond or a similar font. Choose Italic for Style, and then click OK.

  4. To change the color to the same color as the word SUNDAY, click the eyedropper in the Effect Controls window, and then click the word SUNDAYin the Composition window to sample the color.


    Figure .


  5. Set the font size to 30 points. Close the Effect Controls window.

    In the Time Layout window, notice that the layer begins at the current-time marker. New layers automatically start at the current-time marker. To change the In point, you will use the In and Out panels.

  6. In the Time Layout window, click the Optional panel button at the bottom of the window to display the In and Out panels.

Figure . Optional panel button with panels displayed


The In and Out panels appear. Use these panels to display and edit values for In point, Out point, time-stretch duration, and other time options in the Time Layout window.

Tip

To move the current time marker to the layer In point, make sure that the layer is selected and press the I key. To go to the layer Out point, press the O key.


  1. Click the value in the In field for the Afternoon layer. Type 15 in the Layer In Time dialog box, and click OK. This moves the In point of the layer to 15 frames, without changing the duration of the layer.

    Figure . Duration remains at 11:00>

  2. Click the Optional panel button to collapse the In and Out panels.

  3. Drag the Afternoon layer to the upper right corner of the Composition window, slightly lower than SUNDAY, and within the title-safe area.

  4. Set the Quality to Best by clicking the Quality switch in the Time Layout window.


Figure .


Animating the text scale and opacity

You'll animate the Afternoon layer to scale up from 0 to 80% at the beginning of the composition, and then to fade out in opacity at the end of the composition.

  1. In the Time Layout window, set the current time to 00:15, and then click the triangle for the Afternoon layer. Click the triangle to display the Transform properties, and click the Scale stopwatch to specify an initial Scale keyframe. Set the Scale value to 0%.

  2. Move the current-time marker to 01:00, and set the Scale to 80%. A keyframe is automatically created.

  3. Move the current-time marker to 09:20, and click the Opacity stopwatch to set an Opacity keyframe, leaving the value at 100%.

  4. Move the current-time marker to 10:00, and set the Opacity to 0%. Make sure that you have four keyframes set: two each for the Scale and Opacity properties. Collapse the Afternoon layer outline.


    Figure .


  5. To watch the text scale up, return to the beginning of the composition, and then click the Play button in the Time Controls palette (or press spacebar) to play the first few seconds of the composition. Click Pause (or press spacebar again) when finished.

  6. Save the project.

Creating the third piece of text

Finally, you will create and animate a third piece of text.

  1. Move the current time to 02:00.

  2. Choose Layer > New Solid, type At The for the name, set the size to 100 × 50 pixels, leave the default color as gray, and then click OK.

  3. Make sure the At The layer is selected. Choose Effect > Text > Basic Text, type at the (lowercase) in the text entry box, select the Center Alignment button, and choose a font such as Adobe Garamond or a similar font. Click OK.

  4. In the Effect Controls window for the at the text, use the eyedropper to choose the same color for the text as SUNDAY and afternoon, and set the font size to 30 points.

  5. Position the At The layer below and slightly indented from SUNDAY and within the title-safe area. Set the Quality to Best.


    Figure .


    You will set Scale and Opacity keyframes similar to those you set for the Afternoon layer.

  6. Make sure the current time is set to 02:00, click the triangles for the At The layer to display the Transform properties, and then click the Scale stopwatch to set a Scale keyframe, and set the Scale value to 0%.

  7. Move the current-time marker to 02:15, and set the Scale value to 80%.

  8. Move the current-time marker to 09:15, and click the Opacity stopwatch to set an Opacity keyframe, leaving the value at 100%.

  9. Move the current-time marker to 10:00, and change the Opacity value to 0%. Make sure that you have four keyframes set: two each for the Scale and Opacity properties.

  10. Return to the beginning of the composition, and then click the Play button in the Time Controls palette (or press spacebar) to play the first few seconds of the composition. Click Pause (or press spacebar again) when finished.

  11. Collapse the layer outline, close the Effect Controls window, and save the project.

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