Creating great looking text in After Effects – Part II



Following on from our last blog I’d like to continue the discussion about great looking text in After Effects.

It is important that not only our animation be designed and presented beautifully, but our text too. Text can achieve a great many things in animation, just look at how easy to watch this video narrated by Stephen Fry with the text alongside it!

We were using the example from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off –

“Yup. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Life moves fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you’ll miss it.”.

So far we’d hit the following points with our Kinetic Text:

  • We had laid out our text one word at a time
  • We added fading in time with breathing to make it read more naturally
  • We used subtle movement to draw our eyes to important words
  • We played around with the font size, bold and italics to emphasise certain words

The above is where we stand currently, it’s definitely looking good! But we want to take it a step further and really bring our typography to life.

At the moment our typography is still being presented in a somewhat constrained manner, bound within a single line or two in the centre of the frame. If you watch the Stephen Fry video I posted above, the text is coming from all around, brought into the frame in different ways to suit the words being said. There’s a lot more movement in that video and yet it still pleases the eye without being distracting.

The next thing I want to do with our video is give it some depth, everything so far has been presented on one plane with an X and Y axis. Let’s place a camera in our scene that allows us to zoom in and out of the text, adjusting the depth at which we view it. Another thing I’d like to do is to start thinking about what’s being said and ways we can present that uniquely. For example, the line “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again” is clearly two parts that match well together “I’ve said it before” and then “I’ll say it again”. We can play around with this by perhaps presenting them on the same line, one after the other. Let’s see how this looks below.

Now it really feels alive! The zooming and easing of our motion, as well as the adjustment to that line of text, has done wonders for our video. You might think the zoom is a bit too much perhaps, but that’s something you can play around with yourself!

I think the only thing left to do (without spending hours and hours on our video!) is to think further about the words being said. Perhaps adding some eyes to the O’s in “Look”, or trying to get our text to appear like the Stephen Fry video above with a lot more motion, or even playing around with different backgrounds and color. I’m going to make some further adjustments of my own to the last video. What will you do with yours?

About the Author

Charlotte Graham-Cumming

Director, Ice Blue Sky Ltd

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