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Creating Mis-Aligned Text

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Gates Bradley
Creating Mis-Aligned Text
on Feb 1, 2013 at 12:14:30 am

I'm trying to do something that is hard to search for, so apologies if this is redundant to another thread.

I'm trying to create mis-aligned text in After Effects so that the text looks not like it was laid out digitally (everything on a very straight line), but so that each line, and to a lesser extent, each character, is slightly misaligned with it's neighbors, the same way it would be if a person was writing.

There's some ancient documents I have to create. I've got the look down, save for the text's being perfectly aligned. I've tried turbulent displacement to varying degrees of success but it's still not quite right. The text is seen in an extreme CU, so cheating is a bit tougher than usual.

Much obliged for any suggestions.


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Todd Kopriva
Re: Creating Mis-Aligned Text
on Feb 1, 2013 at 5:24:02 am

Use a wiggly selector and a text animator for character position:
http://helpx.adobe.com/after-effects/using/animating-text.html#text_animato...

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Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
After Effects quality engineering
After Effects team blog
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Dave LaRonde
Re: Creating Mis-Aligned Text
on Feb 1, 2013 at 5:34:13 pm

[Gates Bradley] "There's some ancient documents I have to create. I've got the look down, save for the text's being perfectly aligned. I've tried turbulent displacement to varying degrees of success but it's still not quite right. "

How close to the real thing does this thing have to look? That's the real question.

Does the document need cursive writing? Does it need characters in ancient Sumerian, for example? Greek? Old English? Mayan?

Is the writing animated, and if it isn't, why are you attempting to do it in AE in the first place?

There are a lot of unknowns impeding a straightforward, helpful answer.

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


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Gates Bradley
Re: Creating Mis-Aligned Text
on Feb 1, 2013 at 8:24:32 pm

Sure thing Dave! Let me elaborate...

The writing is in Greek. I found a font that has support for Greek characters that looks relatively legit as a handwritten font. Actually handwriting the text would be a huge pain. There is no animating on of the text, but there is a camera move over the text (think macro lens).

I chose to make the text in After Effects 1) because I still think it handles text creation better than Illustrator or Photoshop, and 2) because I need to make templates for a number of texts, and it's easier to manipulate/make changes keeping it all in one program than bouncing back from Illus./PS to AE. (That being said, if creating misaligned text is a much easier process within either of those Apps, I'd give it a go).

Hope that clarifies things a bit.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Creating Mis-Aligned Text
on Feb 3, 2013 at 6:34:09 pm

Thanks for the clarification. I had visions of cursive typefaces not matching up.

Since Todd knows his stuff far better than I do, you owe it to yourself to check out his suggestion.

Since the text doesn't animate, I recommend prerendering each sheet. AE will work faster for the final animation.

Investigate the Source Text property on your text: you may be able to use it to your advantage, rendering an image sequence rather than than prerendering multiple stills. There's nothing that says you HAVE to use the sequence as a sequence, you can reimport then as a bunch of stills into AE.

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


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