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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Kinetic Typography

Kinetic Typography, the technical term for 'moving text'. This is something I've been recently learning on Adobe After Effects. What I thought may be fairly easy to learn is proving to be very difficult. My inspiration for such a project has come from watching typographic animation by Sebastian Jaramillo, and Matt Rodgers of Rodgers Creations.

This video is quite simplistic in its idea; matching the words to the timing of Stephen Fry's commentary. The camera follows the words being arranged into each shape which is fully comprehensible later, but the angle or the orientation of the camera rarely changes.
Therefore the video is 2D and less complicated in the sense that by changing camera orientation you create negative angles to observe motion. Type should correspond to the angle of the camera, if you change the angle then any previous work either has to be out of shot or correspond in some aesthetically pleasing way to the new angle.

The Chemical Burn video appears 2D except the letters appear to be floating off the background, this could be due to the way in which the video has been produced, the choice of background or the style of type i'm not sure. The floating effect is used to layer words, so the 'Z rotation' of each text layer is pushed further back behind text or pulled forward in front depending upon the visual importance of the word.
For example text isn't necessarily arranged left to right top to bottom as it would normally be read. Alongside audio this format is redundant. Our brains follow the words as they appear on screen and read them as one sentence, aided by the audio commentary which provides a tone of voice and a pace of which to interpret the meaning or purpose of the animation.

Key Points  I have learnt from my first attempt at creating typographic motion animation:

  • Always keep your letters in capitals or lower case, as continuity of this is vital. 
  • By changing this particular element, the animation look messy and disproportionate. Capitals does always seem to look better, i realise my own work is own lower case but i thought it worked better and by the time i decided capitals would work easily well it was too late.
This does not restrict you to the same type style throughout, as shown above this aids in changing the tone of voice or visual hierarchy of the word.

  • If you wish to animate text rather than just making it appear in a timed order, each layer needs to be 3D.
  • Try and keep the 3rd position value constant between each layer, this will make it a lot easier when introducing camera angles.
  • Introduce audio first before any animation as this will provide a constant timing throughout the video. No matter how similar you think the timing is, text or any layer can quite easily change from a steady pace to frantic appearance. If this is what you want to achieve for specific projects then fine, however if the audio does not change pace then neither should your animation.
  • Render your video frequently to help you notice any problems as early as possible.

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