The Easiest Way to Make Kinetic Typography

Text animators in After Effects fine-tunes your intended visual product

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 offers a tool built in to make kinetic type better and more dynamic while simultaneously making your job easier.

This procedure applies to Adobe After Effects CC 2020. Previous versions of After Effects CC perform similarly.

How to Create Kinetic Typography in Adobe After Effects

  1. Create a new composition.

  2. Edit the 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 press Cmd+T on Mac or Ctrl+T on Windows. To change the font or text color, open the Character window.

    The Character window is not open by default in the animation layout. To open it select Window and then Character to turn this toolbox on.

  4. Next, click in your composition to create a new text field. 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. Add some flair to your text by using text animators. To find the text animator, press the drop-down arrow to reveal 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 animator.

  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 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 adds 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 shows Start End and Offset.

  8. 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—that is what the range selector is for. Click the 0 percent 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.

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.