Animating Text with Keyframes

You can create keyframes for most of the text parameters. As with all layers in Motion, there are two ways to create keyframes: the Record button in the transport controls or the Animation menu in the Inspector.

Note: Most text behaviors automatically animate the text parameters without creating keyframes. For example, when the Tracking behavior is applied to text, the tracking occurs at the rate specified in the behavior. For more information, see Text Animation and Text Sequence Behaviors.

Using Keyframes Versus Using Behaviors

The text animation method you use (keyframing or behaviors) depends on your project, or more specifically, your timing needs. In general, if you need a very specific action to happen at a specific point in time in your project, use keyframing. For example, if you want text to be completely transparent at frame 1, become completely opaque at frame 60, become transparent again at frame 90, and opaque again at frame 120, use keyframing. Keyframes apply specific values to a layer’s parameters at certain frames.

If the effect is more general, for example, you want the text to be completely transparent at frame 1, become opaque over frames 60–90, and become transparent by frame 120, use the Fade In/Fade Out behavior. Behaviors generate a range of values that are applied to a layer’s parameters.

You can combine keyframing and behaviors on all layers in Motion. For example, if you keyframe text opacity, you can then apply the Tracking behavior to automatically animate the text tracking, or you can keyframe the Tracking parameter. Keep in mind, however, that if you keyframe the text Opacity parameter and then apply a Fade In/Fade Out behavior to the text, unexpected results may occur. For more information on combining behaviors and keyframes, see Combining Behaviors with Keyframes.

Keyframing Text Animation

The following examples uses keyframes to animate the Tracking and Opacity parameters of a text object, resulting in a unique fade-in effect. You can also create this same effect using the Fade In/Fade Out behavior (in the Basic Motion behavior category) and the Text Tracking behavior (in the Text Animation behavior category).

To create text tracking keyframes
  1. With a text object added to your project, move the playhead to the frame where you want to start the tracking animation.

  2. Select the text.

  3. Enable Record (press A).

    When enabled, the Record button pulses red, the animateable parameters appear pink in the Inspector, and a keyframe is automatically created whenever you change the value of a parameter.

  4. In the Format pane of the Text Inspector, drag the Tracking slider to set the first value.

    Because keyframing is enabled, a Tracking keyframe is created. The lower the Tracking value, the closer the text characters are to each other.

  5. Move the playhead to the frame where you want to end the tracking animation.

  6. Drag the Tracking slider to set an end value.

To create text opacity keyframes
  1. Move the playhead to the frame where you want to start the opacity animation.

  2. Open the Style pane of the Text Inspector and drag the Opacity slider to set the first Opacity value.

  3. Move the playhead to the frame where you want to end the opacity animation.

  4. Using the Opacity slider, enter an end Opacity value.

  5. Disable Record.

  6. To view the completed animation, return the playhead to the first frame and press the Space bar.

    To view the keyframes for a text parameter in the Keyframe Editor, click that parameter’s Animation menu icon, then choose Show in Keyframe Editor. For more information on the Keyframe Editor, see Animating in the Keyframe Editor.