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How do I make a Text Count Ddown (using characters not numbers)?

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Max MakhnykHow do I make a Text Count Ddown (using characters not numbers)?
by on Mar 7, 2014 at 6:14:58 pm

I would like to create a piece of text that works as a count down but instead of use numbers (4-> 3-> 2-> 1->0), I want to use characters to display something of my choice.

For example, if the counter was to display the word "Hello", we would see a bunch of letters filtering from, say A through 'H' and then it would stop. Right when we display the 'H', the second slot would begin spinning through, starting at 'a' and ending at 'e'. Etc all the way through the entire word.

How would one come about doing this? Thank you for your help.

After effects experience: (from 1-10) 3.


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John CuevasRe: How do I make a Text Count Ddown (using characters not numbers)?
by on Mar 7, 2014 at 7:04:15 pm
Last Edited By John Cuevas on Mar 7, 2014 at 7:05:22 pm

One method would be to use a couple of text animators. One would control opacity, so only one letter was on screen at a time, the 2nd would offset the characters.

So using the word hello as an example. Twirl down hello use the "Animate" flyout to add a "Character Offset". Open Range Selector > Advanced and change the Units to "Index" and the Mode to "Subtract". Set Range Selector "End" to 0 and set a keyframe. Now go the "Character Offset", click in it and use the down arrow(or math since you know H = 8, A =1, 8-1 = 7 and put a "-" before the 7) and that will give you an A. Put a keyframe there and make it a hold keyframe (Cntl + Alt + H). Move forward 1 second(or whatever) and change your "End" keyframe to 1. You should have just cycled from A to H. Now, change the Character Offset to do the next letter, for an E it would be -4. Repeat this for every letter.

Next you need to take care of the Opacity, so only one letter is showing up at a time. So Click your off of your current animator(otherwise the opacity would be connected to the offset and we need a second animator), hit the Animate pullout and add and opacity Animator. Change the Opacity to 0% and open Range > Advanced and Units and Mode to "Index" and "Subtract". Set the "Smoothness" to 0. Copy the offset keyframes from the "End" range Keyframes and paste them into your Opacity end range. Now Alt click the "End" stop watch and add this expression "Math.ceil(text.animator("Animator 2").selector("Range Selector 1").end)". That will use the timing from your range selector to bring on the character...so if you adjust your timing, you only have to change the first set of keyframes.

I made an example project for your to look check out: 7208_textanimatorcountup.aep.zip

Finally check out the Andrew Devis tutorials for more info on Text Animators, about 2/3's down the list.

***there maybe a way to automate this even more using an expression to figure out your letter automatically and subtract the correct amount, but that's beyond me.

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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Max MakhnykRe: How do I make a Text Count Ddown (using characters not numbers)?
by on Mar 7, 2014 at 9:43:44 pm

Thank you very much. I was not expecting such a helpful reply. You led me step by step. Thanks John! Now I can play around with the text. You're the best!


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John CuevasRe: How do I make a Text Count Ddown (using characters not numbers)?
by on Mar 7, 2014 at 11:12:04 pm

Thanks and glad I could help.

One thing I noticed, in the second paragraph there is the instruction to: Copy the offset keyframes from the "End" range Keyframes and paste them into your Opacity end range.

If you use the expression, you don't need to do that. You'll notice in the example file I uploaded, the opacity range selector doesn't have a keyframe. When I was working it out, I started by using keyframes, then came up with the expression...and forget to delete that sentence. Have fun with your project.

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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Max MakhnykRe: How do I make a Text Count Ddown (using characters not numbers)?
by on Mar 10, 2014 at 1:42:40 am

This is my finished product. I ended up following your first step of instructions. Although next time Ill try the second method for opacity.



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