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After Effects and Photoshop: Resolution Independent Text

How to create scalable text for your motion graphics projects By Dave Nagel
For resolution-independent text, it's hard to beat the precision, depth and functionality of vector-based graphics packages like Adobe Illustrator or Macromedia Freehand. But for a lot of you, these types of programs might be a bit of overkill. Here's a quick and easy way to create scalable graphics with transparency for After Effects using just Adobe Photoshop.

If you've experimented at all with bringing Photoshop text into After Effects, you've probably encountered one of two problems. The first is the problem of scalability. With most formats that Photoshop creates, text is rasterized,so you can't scale it up in After Effects without the problem of jaggies. he second problem is that most other formats exported from Photoshop don't allow you to include transparency.

Most, but not all.

To create scalable graphics in Photoshop, the answer is to export your artwork in the Photoshop PDF format using the following method.

1. After you've created your artwork, choose File > Save As, and then select the Photoshop PDF format. Make sure you have the "Layers" and "Alpha Channels" options selected, if you want these preserved. The alpha channel in this case will not be the same as transparency, which is an option available on the next screen. Transparency, unlike your alpha channel, will take into account Layer Styles, such as drop shadows. (See my separate tutorial on using Layer Styles with alpha channels here.) Note that the "Layers" option will preserve layers for Photoshop only, not for After Effects. AE reads a Photoshop PDF as a single-layer file.

2. After you click OK, set up the options as in the example below, making sure the "Preserve Transparency" option is selected.

That's it on the Photoshop end. Now open up After Effects 5.0 or 5.5. (These are the two versions that currently support PDF import.) Place your graphic as either footage (for a single layer) or a composition.

When you first place the graphic and then scale it, it might look something like this.

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Related Keywords:After Effects and Photoshop: Resolution-Independent Text How to create scalable text for your motion graphics projects


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