Recently I needed to create a look where rows of text animated vertically down, fading on in turn as they moved . This could have been achieved in a number of ways using multiple layers and keyframes, but that would have not only added complexity to the composition, it would have made updates and versioning more time consuming. With an understanding of how After Effects’ Type tool works, and a little consideration, I nailed it with one layer and no masks or precomps.
After Effects Type tool is amazingly powerful, and when you understand the basics it’s straightforward to create a wide range of type animation styles. Before you start duplicating layers and adding loads of keyframes or even using expressions, consider how you might be able to achieve the look with a single text layer.
If you find yourself confused by the type tool, check out this tutorial where I demystify Animator Groups, Animator Properties and the Range Selector, the key areas of the tool you need to know in order to master it.
Remember there are also a bunch of type categories in After Effects Animation Presets (Animation > Browse Presets). As with all presets remember to use them as a starting point and add your own flair!
In this example (insert your own movie star name) the original preset had the letters jumping up one after the other. I added a 2 new Animator Groups for Position and set the Range Selectors so one word slid in from the right and one from the left. The z-position was animated using the After Effects’ Position transform property. Presets are also good to deconstruct once you have your head around the basic functionality of the tool.
So if you’d forgotten or been avoiding the After Effects Type tool, get into it, it’s one of the many powerful tools in the motion designer’s After Effects arsenal.