Text Animators in After Effects

After Effects treats text as a bunch of vector shapes that can be animated like any other vector shape – which makes the Text Animators in the app powerful little buddies.

I’ve written down the steps to create the animation above. It’s cute. Use your imagination to set up the scene as you wish. These instructions are just about using the text and text animators.

Okay… let’s begin. Create a New Comp and import your background files to set your scene.

  1. Type in text, eg, ‘Motor’. I used Azo Sans, a free font. Give its a fill colour (swipe and copy the hex code for the colour) and a black stroke.

2. Twirl Down the text layer

3. Select Animate>Position

4. Change the Position on the Animator, eg, change the value on the x or y (or both) values for the position

5. Open Range Selector 1>Change units to Index

6. Set the Start to 1 (the number of characters in the word ‘Motor’ is 5 but the character count starts at 0, ie, 0 = M, 1= 0, etc)

7. Set the End to 2 (the T in Motor)

8. Add a second Selector Range

9. Twirl Down Range Selector 2

10. Again, change the units to Index

11. Set the Start to 3 (the O) and End to 4 (the R)

12. Set the Position on the Animator back to 0

13. Set Playhead to 1s

14. Click the stopwatch to keyframe it

15. Move forward to 1.5s

16. Change the Animator Position on the Y axis to drop down the ‘wheels’

17. Add Property>Fill Colour>RGB

18. Keyframe it and set the Colour to Black

19. Hold down CMD or Ctrl and press the Left Arrow twice to move back in time a couple of frames

20. Set the Fill Colour back to your original text colour – double-click the colour swatch to display the hex panel and paste in the text Fill colour. This prevents a transition or gradation from your fill colour to black.

21. Select the Text Layer and press P to select the Position properties and animate the text off screen as you wish.

22. F9 all the keyframes and tweak the Speed Graphs as you like. Add some Motion Blur if you want to indicate more speed. There is lots you can do to enhance the final render.

There you go! Just have fun and enjoy playing with the settings for different effects.