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Writing on text ... is there an easier way?

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David TunnellWriting on text ... is there an easier way?
by on Sep 17, 2012 at 2:17:51 pm

I have a client that has a product that simulates hand written documents and marketing material.

They want a LOT of text written on. Using the pen tool/stroke method is time consuming and tedious. So I tried creating masks from text layers, The font is a hand written font, so you end up with holes where the masks overlap, now that creates another tedious problem fixing all of the masks.

Has anyone anywhere created a plugin or script that allows this to be done easily and fast?

Thanks,

David Tunnell
TunnellVision Productions


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Tom DaigonRe: Writing on text ... is there an easier way?
by on Sep 17, 2012 at 2:29:28 pm

Not that Im aware of.

Tom Daigon
PrP / After Effects Editor
http://www.hdshotsandcuts.com




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John CuevasRe: Writing on text ... is there an easier way?
by on Sep 17, 2012 at 2:38:28 pm

I had to simulate writing on a chalkboard for a series of educational videos once. What I did was animated every letter A to Z and numbers 0-9 once and then just dropped them into the project as needed. Course this only works with printed letters, not script...but I thought I would throw it out there.

Johnny Cuevas, Editor
Thinkck.com

"I have not failed 700 times. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work."
---THOMAS EDISON on inventing the light bulb.


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David TunnellRe: Writing on text ... is there an easier way?
by on Sep 17, 2012 at 2:48:05 pm

Looks like the text masking technique is my best bet then. Amazing all of the wonderful things AE can do, but this simple thing is not one of them

Thanks,

David Tunnell
TunnellVision Productions


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Joseph W. BourkeRe: Writing on text ... is there an easier way?
by on Sep 17, 2012 at 3:46:39 pm

Think about that statement, David - it's not a simple thing at all. Depending on the typeface you use, you have ascenders, descenders, serifs, bowls, and all other sorts of bits and pieces which are entirely different for every single one of the multiple thousands of fonts which are out there.

Now while I suppose someone could write a script which starts at the left hand side of the letter, and proceeds through the curve of the letter (oh...wait, this is the letter T, there's no curve!), then progresses letter by letter through each word, then line, it just isn't that simple. Look at the letter "T". When you write it, do you do the crossbar at the top first, or the upright? Even better, look at the letter "G" - do you write it from right to left - well I do - then the whole system falls on its face...because in handwriting there is no system. It's as unique as the person who writes, the country you're writing in, the script style you choose, and so on and so on. You can't write a plugin to mirror a system in which there is no system.

My suggestion is to charge the client what it's really going to take you in time, and prepare to see them run the other way. That said, if there are large amounts of text being written that aren't too close to the camera, you could use the Text Typewriter effect, and most people would be none the wiser.

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


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David TunnellRe: Writing on text ... is there an easier way?
by on Sep 17, 2012 at 3:48:56 pm

I meant "simple" compared to say 3D???

Thanks,

David Tunnell
TunnellVision Productions


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Dave LaRondeRe: Writing on text ... is there an easier way?
by on Sep 17, 2012 at 4:58:14 pm

[David Tunnell] "I have a client that has a product that simulates hand written documents and marketing material...

Has anyone anywhere created a plugin or script that allows this to be done easily and fast?"


Why don't you use the product itself? There has to be a way to record the screen. Do it in as high a resolution as you can over a solid color or black or white, and you ought to be able to generate a matte to isolate the writing.

Explain to the client that a little extra effort on his end will result in greatly reduced effects cost and far faster turnaround from you. There's your sales pitch.

Dave LaRonde
Former Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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David TunnellRe: Writing on text ... is there an easier way?
by on Sep 17, 2012 at 5:07:29 pm

I actually thought about having them do that, use the product and we actually see it write what they need. The problem is the expense of having the shooter come back out and do it.

What I have done, is explain the time it takes to do what they want and the expense f me doing it, which is slightly less than reshooting it and having one of their programmers set it all up.

So we have settled on 3 key scenes with me doing the write on, and then use the fade on character effect for the rest. It works pretty good.

I just thought I would ask. I have seen Maltannon, Dan Ebberts and others do some incredible things with expressions. Many times when I ask, somebody has figured it out. You never know until you ask.

Thanks,

David Tunnell
TunnellVision Productions


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Joseph W. BourkeRe: Writing on text ... is there an easier way?
by on Sep 17, 2012 at 5:17:13 pm

David -

Rather than shoot the screen, why not use something like Camtasia to actually capture the "writing on" process. It's way cleaner looking than anything you could ever do with video, and it's very quick to accomplish.

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


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David TunnellRe: Writing on text ... is there an easier way?
by on Sep 17, 2012 at 5:31:47 pm

The product is actually a hardware device,they program in the text, pick the type of handwritten font, ot even sample a clients handwriting, then the hardware actually uses a pen and it writes out the message, letter etc.

Thanks,

David Tunnell
TunnellVision Productions


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Dave LaRondeRe: Writing on text ... is there an easier way?
by on Sep 17, 2012 at 5:42:02 pm

[David Tunnell] "...the hardware actually uses a pen and it writes out the message, letter etc."

...then it sounds like you need to either 1) scan the written message to animate the writing, or 2) shoot the hardware in action, which has already been done. Or there may be other avenues to pursue.

It sounds as if this hardware device might use CNC control, not unlike a laser that cuts sheet metal in a factory. I think you owe it to yourself to investigate (with the client) the ways you can generate the text you need. There is certainly more than one way to skin this particular cat, and you owe it to yourself and the client to pursue all the avenues open to you.

Dave LaRonde
Former Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Laurence YatesRe: Writing on text ... is there an easier way?
by on Feb 23, 2014 at 10:05:40 pm

This may be too late for the OP, but there is now a plugin available for exactly this effect.

When I was faced with a project that was entirely write-on reveal I experimented with the Stroke Effect, Write-On effect and the Paint Effect. To bust through a lot of this kind of animation, I went for the Paint Effect and used my Wacom to trace all the line-work and text. You can then set keyframes for each Paint stroke individually, which gives you great control but gets a bit fiddly and tiresome so I wrote a script to help with this. In the interest of full disclosure, I'm selling this After Effects plugin on aescripts, but it is definitely how I would approach this kind of write-on effect.

http://aescripts.com/quickdraw

Check the Comments section on the aescripts page as there have been a few updates since the first release. One downside to using the Paint Effect is that it doesn't play well with layers that have the Constantly Rasterise asterisk turned on, but there are work arounds for that.

Laurence Yates
Motion Graphics Artist and Illustrator
Creator of QuickDraw - http://aescripts.com/quickdraw/
http://www.notbyhalf.com/


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David TunnellRe: Writing on text ... is there an easier way?
by on Feb 24, 2014 at 12:35:56 am

Laurence, I aw that script Awesome isn't it. By precomposing text layer it works fine

Thanks,

David Tunnell
TunnellVision Productions


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