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How to animate along multiple masks?

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Sébastien LavoieHow to animate along multiple masks?
by on Apr 4, 2013 at 5:59:54 pm

Hi, I am trying to animate a null along some text. I selected my text layer, used the *Layer > Create Masks from Text* and then tried to copy paste the mask onto the position property which works when pasting only one mask, but it doesn't work. Would there be a simple way to do this?


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Dave LaRondeRe: How to animate along multiple masks?
by on Apr 4, 2013 at 6:06:18 pm

Yes, there is another way: don't think about the text as a way to create a mask. Instead, think of the text layer as a way to create transparency.

I suspect you want to cut a hole that is identical to your text in another layer. If you use the text layer as a Track Matte you can do this, and you can animate the layer's position.

If you need something else, please elaborate.

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


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Sébastien LavoieRe: How to animate along multiple masks?
by on Apr 4, 2013 at 6:23:44 pm

Thanks for the quick answer but unfortunately no, I am not trying to cut a hole in another layer. I am trying to achieve some "text written by a hand" thing but with loads of text. So I attached an image to a null and set up a text animator with 0 opacity and a range selector. What I want is a way to tell my null layer to use all the letters as a path to animate on. Now, I know that I could give each mask its own layer and transfer the mask to position property and tell my image to go from null to null but it would make a really complex mess :/


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Dave LaRondeRe: How to animate along multiple masks?
by on Apr 4, 2013 at 7:39:53 pm

[Sébastien Lavoie] "I am trying to achieve some "text written by a hand" thing but with loads of text..."

That's very labor-intensive. Does your typeface LOOK like it has been written by hand?

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


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Kevin CampRe: How to animate along multiple masks?
by on Apr 4, 2013 at 7:51:17 pm

you should be able to copy/paste more than one mask path onto the position property, but you do have to do it one at a time... select a mask path, copy, select the position property, move the cti to the time you need, paste, then repeat that process for as many paths as you have.

another way is to use software like illustrator to edit the individual paths into a continuous path, then copy/paste that into ae.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Sébastien LavoieRe: How to animate along multiple masks?
by on Apr 4, 2013 at 8:05:09 pm

Thanks, copying it one by one works! Although it may not be as fast as possible it still what I was searching for. Illustrator also is a pretty good idea, thanks a lot.


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Rob BellonRe: How to animate along multiple masks?
by on Apr 4, 2013 at 7:56:12 pm

If I'm understanding you correctly, and if all your text is in one layer (or precomped into one layer), you might be able to do this with the stroke effect:

1) With your text layer selected, draw a bunch of mask-paths with the pen tool in the same way you want your text to draw on.
2) Apply the stroke effect, make sure "All Masks," "Draw Sequentially," and "Reveal Original" are selected. (Going from memory, so the names might be slightly off.)
3) Animate the endpoint of the stroke effect.

Thing is, if you have a ton of text, it might be a pain to draw all that — which is maybe why you're posting here. Or maybe you could combine this with your method and apply the stroke effect using masks from your text outlines. Won't look as good, but it's a quicker compromise.

I'll keep thinking…


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