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Curved margin

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Matthew Beall
Curved margin
on Mar 29, 2012 at 4:34:10 pm

Is there a way to have a curved margin?
I have a list of names (one name on each line) that I want to have follow around a curved shape..

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Ryan Hill
Re: Curved margin
on Mar 29, 2012 at 5:29:58 pm

Do you mean like text on a path?

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Dave LaRonde
Re: Curved margin
on Mar 29, 2012 at 6:42:54 pm

[Matthew Beall] "Is there a way to have a curved margin?"

That's something that may be accomplished in other applications, but multiple-line text layers in AE are limited to Left, Right, Center or (I think) Even justification. I'm not sure about that last one.

However, it you're willing to animate each line of text separately, you can do it with Basic AE Techniques. I'll assume this curve is on the LEFT margin, and you want the text to move down:
  • Create a line of text. Double click on the text layer in the timeline to highlight the text. In the Paragraph settings, change the Justification to Left-Justified if it wasn't already. This places the text layer's anchor point on the left side of the layer.
  • Put the timeline cursor at the text layer's in point. Move the text layer past the top of the screen. Position it so that it would be at the edge of the curve you want to follow. Set a Position keyframe.
  • Move the timeline cursor down the timeline a bit. Move the text layer past the bottom of the screen. Position it so that it would be at the edge of the curve you want to follow. AE automatically makes another Position keyframe.
  • Highlight both keyframes, and right-click on one of them. In the contestual menu that appears, select Keyframe Interpolation. Set the TEMPORAL interpolation to Linear, and the SPATIAL interpolation to Bezier.
  • You should now see the motion path and each position keyframe should have Bezier Handles. Adjust the handles until the Motion Path follows the desired curve.
  • RAM Preview. Note the speed at which the text layer moves. Move the second position keyframe up and down the timeline, and keep previewing until the layer moves at the desired speed.
  • Duplicate this text layer. Turn off the original text layer. Move the timeline cursor about halfway between position keyframes, and double-click on the layer to highlight the text. Change the text.
  • Turn on the original text layer. Move the newer text layer so that the in point is further down the timeline. RAM Preview and see how the two text layers are spaced as they move down. Move the newer layer as necessary until both layers have the proper spacing as they move.
  • Note the number of frames between the original layer's in point and the newer layer's in point. You now know how many frames each subsequent layer must be moved down the timeline to maintain proper spacing. All the difficult work has now been done.
  • Repeat the process of duplicating text layers, changing text and moving layers down the timeline until you're done.

That's the old-school way of doing it. I don't know of any new-school ways to do it any better.

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

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