Text Layout-Related Tasks

These tasks are useful when editing text Layout parameters, which include working with text on a path and creating a type-on effect.

Creating Text on a Path

To place text on a path, you create the text and then apply the Path layout method (via the Layout Method pop-up menu). Use the Path Options parameters to modify the text on a path.

To create text on a path
  1. Select the text you want to place on a path.

  2. In the Layout pane of the Text Inspector, choose Path from the Layout Method pop-up menu.

    The Path Options parameters become available.

  3. Select the Text tool (or press T) and click the text in the Canvas.

    Important: Step 3 is important—the Text tool must be selected in order to view or edit the text path.

    The path appears below the text. The default path shape is set to Open Spline and contains three control points.

    Figure. Canvas window showing text object with path visible.

Working with Text on a Path

You can create text on a line, circle, rectangle, wave, or along the edge of a shape or mask. An Open Spline text path can be manipulated to move through 3D space. You can change the shape of a text path, add or remove control points, as well as animate the text along the path. Text on a path can still be edited—you can change text characters or fonts, tracking, kerning, and so on. Text Style parameters can also be modified for text on a path.

Using Behaviors with Text on a Path

Text, Simulation, Parameter, and Basic Motion behaviors can be applied to text on a path. This allows for the creation of some very clever and complex animation.

Figure. Canvas window showing text moving along a path.

For more information on using Simulation and Parameter behaviors, see Using Other Behaviors with Text.

Modifying the Path Shape

Keep in mind that the Text tool must be selected to view and edit the text path. Use the following guidelines to modify the shape of the path.

To adjust the text path
  • With the Text tool selected, drag a control point to change the shape of the path.

    Figure. Canvas window showing text object with modified path.

When additional text characters are added to text that is already on a path, the default path may appear too short. In the following images, the first image shows the original text placed on a path. The second image shows additional text. Notice that in the second image with the added text characters, the path is shorter than the text.

Figure. Canvas window showing text on a path being edited.
To extend a text path
  • With the Text tool selected, drag the last control point toward the end of the text.

    Figure. Canvas window showing control point being dragged to extend to the end of the new text.

    When dragging, press Shift to constrain the path to a straight line. Once a path has been extended, you can add control points for extra control over the shape of the path.

To add or modify text path control points
  • Option-click or double-click the path to add a control point.

    Note: Control points can only be added to Open Spline or Closed Spline paths.

  • To remove a control point, select the point, then press Delete. You can also Control-click the point and choose Delete Point from the shortcut menu.

  • To create a linear point, Control-click the point and select Linear from the shortcut menu.

  • To create a smooth (Bezier) point, Control-click the point and select Smooth from the shortcut menu.

    Note: When Path Type is set to B-Spline, the Very Smooth option becomes available in the shortcut menu.

  • To lock a point, Control-click the point and select Lock Point from the shortcut menu. A locked point cannot be edited.

  • To unlock a point, Control-click the point and select Unlock Point.

    Important: Text paths are modified in the same way as shape control points. For a complete information, see Using Shapes, Masks, and Paint Strokes.

    Note: Clicking any path control point and holding down the mouse button displays an info window containing the point number (based on the order the points are drawn on the path) and X, Y, and Z coordinates. All path control points are also listed by number in the Layout pane of the Text Inspector.

To adjust the text path in 3D space
  1. If there is no camera in your project, add a camera by doing one of the following:

    • Click the Add Camera icon in the Toolbar.

    • Choose Object > New Camera (or press Command-Option-C).

      Note: If none of your project groups are set to 3D, a dialog appears asking you if you want to switch your 2D groups to 3D groups. Click Switch to 3D to allow the camera to affect the groups.

  2. To change the default camera view (Active Camera) to Top, do one of the following:

    • Click “Active Camera” in the upper-left corner of the Canvas to open the Camera menu, then choose Top.

    • Choose View > 3D View > Top.

      The text is no longer visible because the camera is now looking down perpendicularly (on the Y axis) at the text on a path. The text path and its points are still visible. (The yellow wireframe camera icon in the Canvas represents the Active Camera you added in step 1.)

      Note: The text path onscreen controls are available for all camera views. This example uses the Top view.

  3. With the Text tool selected, drag a control point to adjust the text path in X, Y, or Z space.

    Note: Manipulating text on a path in 3D only works when Path Shape is set to Open Spline or Closed Spline.

    Figure. Canvas window showing top view of 3D text path.

    If you lose the path selection, select the text layer in the Layers tab.

    Note: To enter specific values for the control point locations for the Open Spline or Closed Spline, click the Control Points disclosure triangle in the Path Options group of the Layout pane. The first value field is X, the second value field is Y, and the third value field is Z.

  4. To change to a different camera view, choose another camera view from the Camera menu in the upper-left corner of the Canvas.

    Figure. Canvas window showing Right camera view of text on a 3D path.
  5. To reset the camera view, do one of the following:

    • Choose Active Camera from the Camera menu.

    • Choose View > 3D View > Active.

      Tip: When working with text in a 3D project, especially text that moves close to the camera, set the Render Quality in the Render pop-up menu (in the Status Bar below the Inspector icon) or the View menu to Best before exporting (choose View > Quality > Best). Use Normal when working in your project, as Best mode dramatically slows your project’s interactivity. You can also set the Render Quality on export in the Export Options dialog: Choose Export, click Options, then choose Best from the Render Quality pop-up menu. To customize an export, turn off the “Use current project and canvas settings” checkbox.

Isolating a Group or Layer to Work with Text on a 3D Path

When working with text on a 3D path, the text may become difficult to read depending on its orientation and distance from the camera. If you need to edit the text, you can quickly snap the text layer to its original face-forward orientation using the Isolate button in the Layers tab (or Timeline layers list) or the Isolate command in the Object menu.

To isolate a group or layer
Do one of the following:
  • In the Layers tab (or Timeline layers list), click the Isolate button.

    Figure. Inactive Isolate button in the Layers tab.
  • Control-click the layer or group, then choose Isolate from the shortcut menu.

  • Choose Object > Isolate.

  • Click the Isolate button again to return to your previous view.

    Note: Clicking a camera’s Isolate button activates that camera’s view.

Using Geometry for a Path Source

The following section describes how to use geometry as the source for a text path.

To use geometry for a text path source
  1. Import (or draw) the shape you want to use as the path source.

    Figure. Canvas window showing bowtie-shaped object.
  2. Select the text on a path, then choose Geometry from the Path Shape pop-up menu.

    Figure. Path Shape pop-up menu set to Geometry in the Layout pane of the Text tab.

    The Shape Source well appears in the Inspector.

  3. From the Layers tab, drag the shape to the Shape Source well.

  4. When the pointer becomes a curved arrow, release the mouse button.

    A thumbnail of the shape appears in the well and the shape is used as the source shape for the text path.

    Figure. Canvas window showing text arranged in bow-tie shape.

    Note: You may want to disable the source shape in the Layers tab so it is not visible in your project.

To select another geometry source for a text path shape
  • Click the To pop-up menu (located next to the Shape Source image well) and select the layer you want to use as the text path’s shape source.

Animating Text on a Path

Text can be animated to move across the text path.

To animate text on a path
  1. Create the path for the text to travel along.

    Figure. Canvas window showing text moving along a path.
  2. Go to the frame where you want to begin the animation, and enable Record.

    Note: Remember that using shortcut keys while in text editing mode may result in adding characters to your text.

  3. In the Layout pane, adjust the Path Offset slider or value slider to the amount you want to move the text on the path.

    A keyframe is added to the Path Offset parameter.

    Figure. Inspector window showing the Path Offset animation pop-up menu displaying the keyframe icon.

    A positive value moves the text toward the right and a negative value moves the text toward the left. You can enter values greater than 100% or less than 0% in the value slider. A value greater than 100% moves the text completely off the path to the right; a value less than 0% moves the text off the path to the left. In the following image, the Path Offset is set to 105%, so the text is completely off the right end of the text path.

    Figure. Canvas window showing beginning of text path animation.
  4. Go to the frame where you want to end the animation (or set the next keyframe).

  5. Adjust the Path Offset slider or value slider to reposition the text on the path.

  6. Play the project to see the text travel along the text path.

    Figure. Canvas window showing text path animation.
  7. Disable Record.

Creating a Type-On Effect

There are two ways to create a type-on text effect: Use the Type On parameters in the Text Layout controls, or apply the Type On behavior (in the Text Animation behavior category). This section discusses using the Type On parameters in the Layout pane of the Text Inspector. For information on the Type On text behavior, see Type On Behavior.

In this example, text is set to type on from left to right.

To create a type-on effect
  1. Select the text.

    Figure. Canvas window showing selected text object.
  2. Go to the frame where you want the animation to begin.

  3. Enable Record.

    Figure. Canvas window transport controls showing Record button enabled.
  4. In the Layout pane, set the End value of the Type On parameters to 0.

    The text disappears (is “typed off”).

    Note: You can also use the Animation menu rather then enabling Record in the transport controls. Click the Animation menu icon beside the End parameter, then choose Add Keyframe.

  5. Go to the frame where you want the animation to end (where you’d like the type-on effect to be complete).

  6. Set the End value to 100.

  7. Play the project.

    The text is appears character by character, from left to right (is “typed on”).

    Figure. Canvas window showing text typing on over time.

    To create a type-on effect in which the text characters “pop” on, turn off the Fade In checkbox.

    Note: You can use the Type On parameter when the text Layout Method is set to Type, Paragraph (multiline text), or Path.

    Tip: Remember that you can apply Parameter behaviors to nearly any parameter in Motion. For example, to make the text from the above example stutter and flash as it appears, apply the Randomize parameter behavior to the End parameter:

    • Control-click the End value in the Type On controls, then choose Randomize from the shortcut menu.

      The Behaviors tab appears and displays the Randomize parameters. The text characters pop into view more roughly, with irregular timing.

    • To make the stutter effect more dramatic, adjust the Randomize parameters (such as changing the Apply Mode or increasing the Noisiness parameter).

      For more information on working with Parameter behaviors, see Applying Behaviors.