I was goofing around one weekend, and made this video. I tried using Kinetic Typography in this video. It’s an unsolicited fan video. I used Illustrator to make the text and imported it into After Effects. And yes, that’s me dancing like a fool in the video.
I was goofing around one weekend, and came up with this. The song is called Celebrity Wedding by a swell bunch of guys that call themselves Baby Teeth(MySpace, LastFM). You can actually download the MP3 here. I’ve seen a bunch of these kinetic typography videos in music, movies, and I’ve seen a lot lately in commercials. Since the style has trickled down into the main stream media, it’s probably not cool anymore, but what the heck, it was fun.
First of, if you’re going to do this, make sure you have the lyrics exactly correct before you start anything. Going back later and changing text isn’t a HUGE deal (I’ll get to that later), but it’s a pain in the ass just the same. I emailed the band and asked them, but I was too stoked to do the project, I just listened to the song over and over until I could hear the words. For instance, the line: “Nursing all the old wounds of a Hollywood attaché” was actually: “Just another old ruins of a Hollywood out of shape.” and had to go back later and change it once I heard from the band.
So I’m going to do this in an ordered list just for those who might be trying to recreate this. To make this video, I used Adobe Illustrator and Adobe After Effects.
- First, get a font you like. I got mine from Dafont.com.
- Get all your lyrics written down in notepad or something similar and paste it into Illustrator.
- Convert all of the text to outlines (Type->Create Outlines)
- The text will all be in one group so you’ll have to select it and ungroup it all.
- Now each letter will be its own group. You’ll have to go through each word, select all of the letters and group them, so each word is its own group. (Ctrl – G)
- You’ll want all of the words on their own layer now. So open up the layers menu. All of your words should be in Layer 1. Click the little drill down arrow and right click Layer 1.
- Click Options->Release to Layers->Sequence
- All of the words are now on their own layer, but they’re all within Layer 1. So select the first word, scroll down to the last word and select them all. Drag them out above Layer 1 so they’re outside of it. Now delete Layer 1
- Now you’ll have to lay the words out so they look nice and not in a paragraph.
- One note here: I found that importing the whole song into After Effects choked up my computer pretty good. I eventually had to cut/paste each stanza of the lyrics into its own Illustrator file (and oddly put it in its own directory, not sure why but it helped with the import). This way, when you’re animating the text later on in After Effects, you can do it piece by piece and your computer wont choke.
- So lay out your text so it looks nice. You’ll lay it out they way you want it to look when it’s done being animated.
- Go into After Effects and create a new composition that’s the same length as the music or source material you’re going to use.
- Import your Illustrator files one by one. And make sure you import them as Composition with Cropped Layers
- Now you’ll go into each composition and animate the words. Go about 15 frames into the composition and select all of the layers of words and hit P for position. Hit the stop watch icon to make a key frame and go back to the first frame.
- For each word, drag it out or away (preferably off the screen of the composition so they don’t show up before they’re ready to fly in and they appear to come in from off screen) from it’s initial position so it flies into place.
- You want the words to appear to ease in, so select the second keyframe of each word and right click. Select Keyframe Assistant->Easy Ease In. You’ll see they slow down as they come in.
- You’ll want to insert the audio into the composition at this point to get the timing of the words just right. This is the hardest part of the whole thing. You’ll have to adjust the timing of the animation so that words are in place at the same moment the voice says them. This involves a lot of previewing (Hit ’0′ on the keypad) and tweaking to get it just right. Make your workspace a reasonable size (the white bar on top of the timeline) for your previews. Take your time here and make sure everything is accurate to the frame. Drag the whole layer so the end point matches up.
- Once you have all of your compositions set up, you’ll want to go into your main composition and drop in all of the compositions. Make sure to remove the audio from each composition or turn it off so they’re not playing in the main comp.
- Another note: Make sure you have the Continually Rasterize option set on (looks like a /) so when you zoom in, the text appears smooth.
- Now you can go through and animate all of the comps. Make them visible only when they should be.
- This take a bit of tweaking, but you can set the position, scale, and rotation of each comp to create nice effects. You’ll have to play around with animating the anchor point to to get it to rotate at different points. This will take a little doing if you go this route. If you rotate the layer, move it and want to rotate it again, you’ll have to set a key frame just before you want to rotate it, go to the next frame, move the anchor point and adjust the position of the layer so it’s in the same position it was in before. You’ll have to eyeball this, but if you zoom in and flip between the frame before and the next frame you can do it.
- You’ll want to create keyframes on the composition so there are some points where the comp isn’t moving. This way you can actually read the text and it’s not always shifting around.
- Turn on motion blur.
- Make sure you import the audio into the main composition.
That’s pretty much it. You should be able to make your own using those instructions. The dancing part of the movie is me in my kitchen. I hung up some red bedsheets and used them for a green screen. Here’s a link to apretty good tutorial that you can use. Have it open while you’re working and follow along, step by step.
If you make a video using this method, I’d like to hear about it. Drop me a line.
About changing the text after you’ve done all of this: You can go back into your Illustrator files and change things and the changes will propagate into your After Effects composition. You might have to go back and tweak the animation and you’ll have to re-render the file, but it’s not a huge pain in the butt.