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Effortless Text Animation in Boris Red 3GL

Part One: Text on Path By Chris Vadnais

One of the most interesting and amusing capabilities of Boris Red 3GL is its vector text animation features.  Red 3GL allows you to animate beautiful, clean vector titles in ways youve never imagined.  In this short tutorial, well see how easy it is to make your text move along a path using the Text to Path feature.

Youll need this photo of a small mountain in Palermo, Sicily to follow along with me in this project.

Open Red 3GL and put the palermo.jpg photo in track 2 of your timeline.  On track 1, select text for the Track Media type, then type ?Palermo, Sicily into the text window.

You should have something like this:

Next well create the actual path we want our text to move on.  Lets outline the peaks of the mountains.  In the timeline, cick the ?twirly on track one to reveal the contents of our text.  Now click on the face track.  In the Controls window youll now see an option box that says ?Make Path Track.  Click that box.

The Make Path Track option in the upper left of the window.

Once that box is clicked, an new track called Text Path shows up in the Timeline window.  The default Media Type for the track is spline object.  Clicking on the track brings up the tools window (if it doesnt, select Window | Show Tool Window to see the tools).  Using the pen tool, trace the path of the peaks of the mountains.  Remember that when using the pen tool each click creates a new point and each click with a slight drag creates a new point with Bezier handles to help hug the curves of the path you trace.  Create your first point off screen to the left and finish with your last point off the screen to the right, like this:

The spline path will serve as the path for our text to follow.

Obviously, it doesnt have to be a perfect path.  Close is good enough, and you can go back later and adjust the points if necessary.  While you were creating the path the text probably started to snap to it, and you can stop that from distracting you by simply turning the texts visibility off before creating the path.  To do this, just click the eyeball icon on the Face track.

Now that we have a path, all we have to do is tell Boris where we want the text to be at the beginning and end of the effect.  On the first keyframe, with the Face track visible and  selected, adjust the On Path Motion value in the Controls Window to situate the text off-screen to the left.  In my example its somewhere around 116 degrees, but it depends on the size of your text.  (My text is 63 Point Verdana.)  Choose your favorite interpolation.  Now go to the last keyframe and adjust the On Path Motion value to situate the text off-screen to the right, for me this is around 335 degrees.

Press the spacebar or render a RAM preview to watch your text follow the path.

My default effect duration is one second, which is far too short.  If I make the effect 5 seconds, I get something closer to the effect Im after.  But now Ive decided I want the text to stop on top of the slopes so the viewer has time to read it.  No problem.  At 3:15 Ill set a new keyframe on the Face track and adjust the On Motion Path value to rest my text in the middle of the screen (still on the path).  I choose Hold for the interpolation at this keyframe, which will hold the value for the rest of the effect.

One more thing I want to adjust is the way the letters themselves rest on the path.  I dont like how closely each individual letter follows the path, turning sometimes too much and creating more of a distraction than legible text. 

The end of the word ?Palermo? is jumbled and almost illegible because the text is riding the path so closely.

This is simple to fix.  We click the face track under the text track and the Controls window shows us an Angle To Path option.  The higher the number here, the closer the text will hug the path.  If we drop it down to zero, our text will stay straight up and down throughout the entire effect while still following the path.

The last thing Ill do is spice up the text a little by adding a shadow.  Here is my final effect:

You can create any kind of path one far more complex than this one or one that may even be simpler.  You can create a shape path instead of the line we made.  This allows you to create a text-wrap effect around a circle or oval, for example.  Using the On Path Motion controls as we did above, you can tell Boris when and where you want the text to start and how long you want it to take to complete a revolution or end up off-screen.  Adjust the Angle To Path settings to get the exact wrap-look you want.  Experiment a little bit with this, and get ready to explore Type-On Text in part two ...


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Chris Vadnais works for the US Air Force Broadcasting Service. He is currently stationed at Aviano Air Base in Italy. He heads the News department at AFN Aviano, the Air Force's television and radio station in northern Italy. At work he uses Boris RED with Avid Xpress, while at home he prefers to use RED through Sony Vegas and Adobe After Effects. Vadnais has been working in broadcast production since 1997. He is the host and producer of the Class on Demand DVD training series Boris Basics, Tips, & Tricks and the author of Instant Boris Effects, a CMP Books/V.A.S.S.T. Instant Series book. He also likes to produce music, play pinball, and snack on red Swedish Fish candies. He also serves as the DMN Boris FX Forum Host
Related Keywords:Boris Red 3GL tutorials, Boris Red 3GL

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