Animated Header

This was an excellent course!  I learned some very useful tricks as I traveled from "I've never done something quite like this before" -- using After Effects or animating anything like this -- to having a great handle on how to do this type of animation so much faster as I finished each step.

The videos were perfect, giving easy to follow instructions.  The first few letters took forever to get working.  I did not use any add-on plugins, so the manual process of breaking down the text to letter compositions was slow at first as I figured out how to do the tasks and began to figure out the shortcuts that I could use.  I did a "motion graphics" text banner first.  Then, when I finished that, started on one with my name.  At first I thought I would be starting from scratch, armed only with tricks learned along the way, but then it dawned on me that I already had most of the letters from the first banner, I just had to pull them into the new composition and arrange them!  After creating the missing three letters as compositions in the same style, I had the complete banner with my name.  Then I took the two banner compositions and put them into a new one so that the banner content toggles between my name and the "motion graphics" text.


I like the way that all of the letters came out, but I think I like the A and O best.  I used a little bit of overshoot animation to take advantage of the negative space in the middle of the characters.




Useful tricks to share:

These tricks really sped up my workflow.

  • Re-using outline animations.  (Also strokes and other animations.)

One trick that I learned that sped things up as I went was copying the outline animation at the end of the write-on for a letter I finished into new compositions, then replacing the shape content with the current letter.  For instance, copy the animated outline letter from the M comp and paste it into the new G comp.  At first the animation then is of an M outline over a G which is wrong, but drilling down into the outline layer -> Contents -> M -> M and replacing it with the G from the G shape layer -> Contents -> G -> G made it simple to change the shape while re-using all of the other animation and settings.

Get the outlines animation from the M composition and paste it into the G composition.


In the G comp, get the G shape used when you made that compostition.  Copy it.


Select the M shape in the outline animation and Paste.


The M outline is now a G outline.


Select the M container in the outline animation and rename it to G.


You now have a G outline with all of the settings (color, keyframes, and other adjustments) to reuse.


  • Manual composition creation from text shapes.

Lacking the plugins to explode and precompose the individual letters had some challenges until I figured out a trick to make it simple and quick.

Select the letter shape and Pre-Compose it.


Resize the new composition.  (In this case to 200 by 200.)  The letter shape is far from centered.


The purple outline on the right shows that the shape is still in th wrong place.


Reset the Transform for the layer.


After the reset, the anchor is positioned correctly in the center of the resized composition.


Select the Path of the shape.  Change to the pen tool and use it to move the letter shape to the center of the composition.  Note that the anchor and position are not changed, only the path location.  This is important:  reset the transform BEFORE moving the path and do not try to move the anchor point itself manually.  It took me a few frustrations to realize that the order is very important here.


The anchor and position are centered.  Select the Anchor Point field to see the anchor point displayed.


You will need to move the compostion back into the desired position in the banner comp, but it will be properly set for animations that need a centered anchor in a composition that is sized for the individual letter.

Thank you, Mike Martin, for this course!


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