The Easiest Way to Make Kinetic Typography

Kinetic Typography example

 Johnny Chew / Lifewire

The easiest way to get started with kinetic typography is in Adobe After Effects. It's the simplest program to slide around your text, and can easily be done using keyframes. After Effects has a tool built in to make kinetic type better and more dynamic while simultaneously making your job easier.

Creating Kinetic Typography in Adobe After Effects

  1. Once you have After Effects open, create a new composition. An example of a size to start with is 1920 by 1080 at 2 seconds long.

  2. Next, you'll want to edit text. For now, it's best to 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. If you want to change the font or text color, open the Character window.

    The Character window is not open by default in the animation layout. But, to open it, you can select Window and then Character to turn this toolbox on. With this open, you can choose your favorite font and color.

  4. Next, 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. One way is to click the timeline, but you can click anywhere outside your composition window.

  5. Now that your text is where you could animate it using keyframes, you'll want something to add some flair to it by using 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. On the same line you should see the Text drop-down is on, and to the right is "animate" with a little arrow in a circle next to it. This is the text animators.

  6. By clicking that arrow you'll bring up the text animator options, and you'll see a lot of options like position, scale, rotation, and opacity. The text animator will animate the text separately within the text animators and allows you to apply as many animators as you'd like.

  7. To try out a sample, choose rotation, which 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.

  8. Change the rotation on your text so that your letters are all lying on their side. But, don't worry about having to animate using a keyframe. That is 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? Zero percent is the beginning of the animation and 100 percent is the end of it. Next, add two keyframes in the offset, one for 0 and one for 100.

  9. 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 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. 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.