The Easiest Way to Make Kinetic Typography

Kinetic Typography example.

The easiest way to get started with kinetic typography is in After Effects. It's the simplest program to slide around your text, and you could do it easily using keyframes. After Effects has a tool built in to make our kinetic type better and more dynamic while simultaneously making your job easier. Say hello to text animators.

Creating Kinetic Typography in After Effects

  1. Once you've got After Effects opened up, make yourself a new composition. Mine will be 1920 by 1080 and is 2 seconds long.
  2. Next, we need our text, for now, let's work without any voice over or audio and just focus on learning how the text animator works.
  3. Select your text tool in the toolbar on the top of your screen, or hit Command T. Now if we want to change our font or text color, we'll need to open up the Character window which is not open by default in the animation layout. So you can select Window and then Character to turn this toolbox on. Or you can hit Apple 6. With this open, we can choose our favorite font and color.
  4. After you've done that, click in your composition and a new text field will appear. Type whatever you'd like for now and then when you're done click on a different window in After Effects to turn off the typing. I usually click the timeline but you can click anywhere outside your composition window.
  5. So now that we have our text this is where you could animate it using keyframes, but we want something with a little more flair to it right? So let's get using the text animators. To find the text animator hit the drop-down arrow to bring up the attributes for your text layer in your timeline. You'll see two more drop-down menus appear, Text and Transform. You should see on the same line the Text drop-down is on, way over to the right, is "animate" with a little arrow in a circle next to it. That's the text animators.
  1. If you click that arrow you bring up the text animator options, and you'll see a lot of options like position, scale, rotation, and opacity. What the text animator does is it animates the text separately within the text animators and allows you to apply as many animators as you'd like. When I first learned about these it seemed a little confusing to me, but let's do an example to understand better.
  2. Let's choose rotation, this will add a rotation animator to your text. You'll see Range Selector 1 and Rotation appear underneath Animator 1 in your timeline. The way the animator works is you apply a rotation or other attribute to your text, and then the range selector controls the animation. Clicking the drop-down for Range Selector will show Start End and Offset.
  3. Change the rotation on your text so that your letters are all lying on their side, don't worry about having to animate using a keyframe here that's what the range selector is for. Once you've done that, click the 0% next to the offset and slide it back and forth. See how your letters animate from lying down to standing up? 0% is the beginning of the animation and 100% is the end of it. So add two keyframes in the offset, one for 0 and one for 100.
  1. Now, this already is easier than animating all of these by hand, but where it really comes in handy is when you add other attributes. Next to Animator 1 will be Add with another arrow, click that arrow and say property and then choose Opacity. Make the opacity 0 and watch your animation again.

The Benefits of Using Text Animators

Text animators make creating kinetic typography a much easier task. Using the example above, just by clicking one button you've added an opacity animation to your text without having to do anything besides change one value. Say you want all your text to rotate up at once, not one letter at a time. Click the Advanced drop down arrow and change Based On to Words. The benefit of text animators is easily being able to tweak and change the animation quickly, as well as being able to change the text without having to tweak the animation. Should you want to change the word, you would just type the new word and the animation and timing stay the same.