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Word soup in After Effects

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Javier Saldivar
Word soup in After Effects
on Apr 10, 2014 at 3:51:55 pm

Is there a way to automate something like in the link below? I will need some words to grow while the rest shrink dynamically. The idea is to keep the frame always full of text and having no overlapping between words.

http://ladg.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/ladg-word.png

Thanks!


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Word soup in After Effects
on Apr 10, 2014 at 4:19:12 pm

These are created with Wordle:

http://www.wordle.net/

I believe it will let you save it as a PDF, which will give you the option of importing it into AE. I don't think you can bring it in as layers, but I don't remember - if not, you can always open in Photoshop and cut the piece into layers. The heavy work will have been done by Wordle.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Javier Saldivar
Re: Word soup in After Effects
on Apr 10, 2014 at 4:36:08 pm

Thanks Joseph!
This helps but I was hoping to find a way to automate the transition between some words shrinking and others getting bigger. This is for an explainer video where some words get bigger in synch with the voice over and the rest resize accordingly in order to keep the frame full. I know I can try to keyframe this but not sure it will look as good as something that is automated.
Any idea how to achieve that?



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Michael Szalapski
Re: Word soup in After Effects
on Apr 10, 2014 at 5:17:11 pm

The problem is that, when you make a word in the middle of a bunch of other words larger, it has to go somewhere. Wordle does a great job of placing words in such a way that they fit together, but if you were to change the size of any of them, you wouldn't be able to simply adjust the size of the others to make it work. Positions, and maybe even rotations of whole words would have to change. Literally the entire setup would be different.

I know of no way to automate this animation and, frankly, don't think it would work well even it was keyframed by hand.

To make it work, you would have to carefully plan out the position of every word in the group keeping in mind the ones that need to scale up and those that scale down so that, when animated, the mass of words still holds the basic shape.

Unless you want it to be chaotic, then go crazy.

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Word soup in After Effects
on Apr 10, 2014 at 5:55:10 pm

Michael has a good point - unless you were a master expression creator, and could link the size of one word inversely to the sizes of those around it (and even this wouldn't work well, given that the Wordle layout is a static puzzle, so to speak), the result would be chaotic. I suppose you could create a grid layout, tied to the maximum possible size of each word, and then size each word to match the VO timing, then hand animate every single word lying around all the other words, you might get there. But it would take an immense amount of time and effort.

I think you're better off rethinking this, and possible creating the Wordle layout, then using nulls on the words you want to highlight, then using something like VideoCopilot's Sure Target 2 to zoom in on the words, rather than animating the words themselves. This would achieve the same purpose, without the massive amount of work. You can see an example of this in my short demo (Demo 2014), towards the end, at:

http://bourkemedia.com/video-gallery/

I used SureTarget 2, and nulls placed where I wanted the camera to move to. It was fast to set up, and it's easy to time. Just make sure you go through the SureTarget 2 demos before you just jump in and try it. It's easy after you've learned how to use it.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Brian Charles
Re: Word soup in After Effects
on Apr 10, 2014 at 8:44:18 pm

Joseph's suggestion of SureTarget is worth considering.

An alternative is pt_Multiplane, which moves selected layers in 3D while maintaining the proportional scale of each layer.

http://aescripts.com/pt_multiplane/



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