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Text Tool Tip

Copying and pasting paragraphs into After Effects By Stephen Schleicher
If you didnt read last weeks Star Wars Intro tutorial, you may have missed a really neat tip on how to use the Text Tool to enter large amounts of copied text.  For those of you who missed it, heres the highlight reel.

Step 1:  Launch After Effects and create a comp using one of the AE Presets.  I will be using the DV NTSC preset.

Step 2:  Open your text document and copy the contents.  The first problem you will encounter in After Effects if you try to paste the text from the clipboard will be a single very long line of text.


This is something we definitely do not want.  With this method, if you try to resize the bounding box of the text layer, you will simple squash and stretch the text.  In other words, simply pasting text into After Effects will not generate the word wrap you expect.  Instead you need to use the Text Tool to draw a bounding box.

Step 3:  Select the Text Tool from the Tools Palette and in the Comp Window click and drag out a text bounding box.

Step 4:  With the text bounding box selected, you can now paste the clipboard text into the region complete with word wrap and line breaks.

The only thing remaining is to resize the bounding box so all of the text is visible.  But how do you know how large to resize the bounding box?  If you look carefully at the lower right and corner of your text bounding box, you will see a small plus sign (+).  This is the overflow icon.

This is there to let you know there is more text than the current bounding box size.  With the Text Tool selected, click and drag this control point until all of your text is revealed.  In the case of the Ipsum Lorem text I used, I had to resize quite a bit to get it all in. 

HINT:  In After Effects 6.5 if you need to zoom in or out of your composition, use the scroll wheel of your mouse while the cursor is in the Comp Window.


Once you have resized your text box and all the words fit, you can then select an appropriate font style for your project. 

Plain Ol Typin
If you wish to simply type a paragraph of text into the comp window and wish to have everything wrap automatically, select the Text Tool and draw your bounding box in the Comp Window to the size you desire.  All you have to do is click and drag diagonally to create the bounding box.

Once the bounding box is created, enter your text.  If you need to create a new paragraph press the Return key.  To exit out of the Text Tool, press the Enter key on the Numeric Keypad.

This was a short and simple exercise, but one I know several people have asked about, and hopefully it serves you well in the future.


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Stephen Schleicher has crossed the country several times over the last couple of years going from Kansas to Atlanta , Georgia, and Southern California. In his time traveling, he has worked as an editor, graphic designer, videographer, director, and producer on a variety of video productions ranging from small internal pieces, to large multimedia
corporate events.

Currently, Stephen shares his knowledge with students at Fort Hays State University who are studying media and web development in the Information Networking and Telecommunications department. When he is not shaping the minds of university students, Stephen continues to work on video and independent projects for State and local agencies and organizations as well as his own ongoing works.

He is also a regular contributor to Digital Producer, Creative Mac, Digital Webcast, Digital Animators, and the DV Format websites, part of the Digital Media Online network of communities (www.digitalmedianet.com), where he writes about the latest technologies, and gives tips and tricks on everything from Adobe After Effects, to Appleā??s Final Cut Pro, LightWave 3D, to shooting and lighting video.

He has a Masters Degree in Communication from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas. As a forward thinker, he wrote his Thesis on how Information Islands and e-commerce would play a major role in keeping smaller communities alive. This of course was when 28.8 dialup was king and people hadnā??t even invented the word e-commerce.

And, he spends what little free time he has biking, reading, traveling around the country, and contemplating the future of digital video and its impact on our culture. You can reach him at schleicher@mindspring.com

Related Keywords:after effects, schleicher, text tool, copy and paste, bounding box

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