• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL

Chapter 4. Text > Animation Considerations

Animation Considerations

Now that you've learned to control your text and its appearance, there's only one thing left to do—animate it! By bringing your text to life, you can create visual effects such as stock tickers, scrolling text, and other animations. However, you still need to achieve a balance between text requirements and processor limitations.

Since each of the 100 or so letters in your text object represents an individual vector shape, animating this text block essentially entails animating 100 shapes simultaneously. Although Flash can handle this type of visual effect, it's extremely processor intensive. Thus, don't be surprised to see your upbeat, fast-moving presentation transformed into a lesson in patience on a slower machine.

Because each project is different, there are no hard and fast rules about when to animate blocks of text; however, the following guidelines should help:

  • Avoid animating large blocks of text. There are few visual reasons for animating a large block of text. Even if processor speed were not an issue, reading a large block of moving text can be difficult, and you don't want to frustrate your audience.

  • For visual effects, animate only a few words or letters (or even just a single letter) at a time. This type of text animation can liven up your presentation in ways that no other graphic element can. This also means that if you want to bring a large block of text to life, bring it into the scene a sentence at a time.

  • The smaller the text element, the less processor intensive animation will be. This means that if you want a full-screen scrolling text effect, you had better provide your audience with plenty of caffeine to keep them awake while they wait for the text to scroll. If you really want to animate blocks of text, make them as small as possible while maintaining their readability.

  • When animating text, avoid animating other elements. If you choose to animate text, avoid animating other elements at the same time so that you can devote as much processing power as possible to the text animation.

Text Animation to the Max!

Just because you need to be aware of some issues when animating text doesn't mean you can't have fun with it. In fact, quite the opposite is true. There are a number of Flash sites that make use of text in fascinating ways. And they do it not by meticulously animating each letter, as you might expect, but by using one of two animation tools: Swish (http://www.swishzone.com)or Wildswfx (http://www.wildswfx.com).

The sole function of these tools is creating interesting text effects for your Flash movies. Both let you enter a string of text, choose an effect, adjust the setting, and—bam!—instant text utopia. What at one time would have taken hours or even days to construct within Flash can now be accomplished in just minutes (Figure 4.22). Both of these tools create SWF animations that you can import into your main Flash movie—forever depriving you of an excuse for using dry, boring, lifeless text. Use these programs to take your text animations to the max!

Figure 4.22. Sophisticated text effects that would once have required hours of work can now be produced in minutes using available third-party tools.

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint