Sequence Text Behavior

The Sequence Text behavior allows you to animate text attributes, such as scale, position, color, opacity, and glow in sequence through the text characters. For example, you can create a sequence in which the text characters fall vertically into place as they scale down, fade in, and rotate.

After applying the Sequence Text behavior to a text layer, you must designate the parameters of the text that you want to animate. You do this in the Behaviors tab of the Text Inspector. Once you’ve linked the desired text parameter(s) to the behavior, you can use the Sequence Text controls to adjust the animation’s direction, speed, number of loops, and other qualities.

All of the Text Sequence behaviors (in the Text Sequence subcategory) are presets based on the Sequence Text behavior. The Text Sequence presets contain the same controls and are modified in the same manner as the Sequence Text behavior.

Tip: Using the Adjust Glyph tool, you can modify individual text characters independently of the influence of the applied sequence text behavior. For information on using the Adjust Glyph tool, see Working with Text Glyphs.

Note: The Text Sequence behavior shares many parameters with the Sequence Replicator behavior. For more information on sequencing replicator patterns, see Using the Sequence Replicator Behavior.

Once you have created a Sequence Text behavior, you can save the behavior to the Library. For information on saving a modified behavior to the Library, see Saving a Modified Text Behavior to the Library.

Using the Sequence Text Behavior

Applying and activating a Sequence Text behavior is a two-step process: First, you add the Sequence Text behavior to a text layer. Second, you assign the parameters of the text that you want to animate, either in the Behaviors tab of the Text Inspector or by manipulating the text object with the onscreen controls. Once you’ve linked the desired text parameter(s) to the behavior, you can use the Sequence Text controls in the Behaviors tab to adjust the animation’s direction, speed, number of loops, and other qualities.

To apply the Sequence Text behavior
  • Select the text layer to be animated, click the Add Behavior icon in the Toolbar, then choose Text Animation > Sequence Text.

    The behavior is applied, and the first character of text is selected with the Adjust Item tool.

    Figure. Canvas showing onscreen controls for individual text sequence animation.

    Important: Unless you are using the onscreen controls (via Adjust Item tool) to create a sequence, you must explicitly add at least one parameter to the behavior from within the Inspector before any animation can occur. Until a parameter is added, adjustments made in the HUD have no effect.

To create a sequence animation using the Inspector
  1. With the Sequence Text behavior selected, display the Behaviors tab in the Inspector.

    The upper area of the Sequence Text controls contains the Add and Remove pop-up menus, which are used to select the text parameters to be sequenced, or to remove parameters once they have been added. The second group of parameters are the sequence Controls, which include options for setting the direction and speed of the animation, whether the animation is applied per character, per word, per text layer, and so on.

    Figure. Inspector showing Sequence Text behavior settings.

    In this simple example, Opacity, Scale, and Glow scale are sequenced.

  2. In the Parameter row, click the Add pop-up menu, then choose Format > Opacity.

    Figure. Inspector showing Add Parameter pop-up menu.

    The Opacity parameter is added in the Behaviors tab above the Add and Remove pop-up menus.

  3. In the Inspector, set Opacity to 0 and play the project (press Space bar).

    Because the Sequencing parameter is set to From by default, the opacity sequences from the value set in the behavior (0%) to original value of the text (100%).

  4. Click the Sequencing pop-up menu and select To.

    Now when you play the project from the beginning, the opacity fades to the value set in the behavior (0%) from the original value of the text (100%).

    Figure. Canvas showing Sequence Text behavior animating over time.
  5. Click the Add pop-up menu, choose Format > Scale, then click again and choose Glow > Scale.

    The Scale and Glow Scale parameters are added to the Behaviors tab.

  6. In the Behaviors tab, set Scale to 250%, set Glow Scale to 250%, then set Spread (in the Controls group) to 4.

    The opacity sequences to the values defined in the behavior from the original values. The increased spread value softens the sequence between the characters.

    Figure. Canvas showing Sequence Text behavior with glow setting adjusted.

    Note: While the style effects created in the Sequence Text behavior (Face, Outline, Glow, and Drop Shadow) are independent of changes to the parameters in the Style pane of the Text Inspector (Face, Outline, Glow, and Drop Shadow), changes made in the Style pane do affect the sequenced text. For example, if you select the Glow checkbox in the Style pane after adding Glow to the Sequence Text behavior, the appearance of the glow may alter. This is because the Glow settings in the Style pane are additive to the sequence behavior (the glow may appear brighter or more blurred). In the following illustration, the glow is scaled and offset in the Style pane.

    Figure. Canvas showing Sequence Text behavior with glow settings scaled and offset.

    The above example touches only a portion of the options in the Sequence Text behavior. Using the behavior’s parameters, you can create a nearly endless variety of sequences. You can define the speed in which the sequence moves through the text, as well as whether the sequence moves through the text per character, word, or line. You can also change the direction of the sequence and define the number of times the sequence loops over its duration. Variance and randomization can also be added to values defined in the behavior. For more information on these controls, see Sequence Text Controls.

To create a sequence animation using onscreen controls
  1. With the Sequence Text behavior applied and the first letter (glyph) selected, do one of the following:

    • To sequence the position of the text, drag the character in the Canvas to a new position.

      Figure. Canvas showing Sequence Text behavior onscreen controls for individual glyphs.

      In the Behaviors tab, the Position parameter is automatically added to the Format category (above the Add and Remove parameter pop-up menus). The values in the Position parameter can be modified in the Inspector (using the Position value sliders) as well as in the Canvas (by dragging the glyphs of the text object.

      Figure. Inspector showing the Position control added to the Sequence Text parameters.
    • To sequence the rotation of the text, rotate the selected glyph in the Canvas. To display the rotation controls, hold the Command key down. For more information on using the onscreen transform controls, see 3D Transform Onscreen Controls.

      Figure. Canvas showing Sequence Text behavior with onscreen rotation controls.

      In this example, the text is rotated on its Y axis. In the Behaviors tab, the Rotation parameter is automatically added to the Format category Format category (above the Add and Remove parameter pop-up menus).

    • To sequence the scale of the text, scale the selected glyph in the Canvas by dragging a scale handle. (To scale the text uniformly, press Shift while dragging the scale handle in the Canvas.)

      Figure. Canvas showing Sequence Text behavior onscreen scaling controls.

      In the Behaviors tab, the Scale parameter is automatically added to the Format category (above the Add and Remove parameter pop-up menus).

      Note that in the Controls section of the Behaviors tab, the Sequencing pop-up menu is set to “From,” the default setting. As a result, upon playback, the text in your project moves from the value in the Position parameter to the original value (the position of the text before you dragged it in the Canvas).

  2. Play the project (press Space bar).

    The text animates from the modified position, rotation, or scale value to its original value (its value before you manipulated the glyph in the Canvas.

    For more information on the Sequence Text parameters, see Sequence Text Controls.

    Note: When using the Sequence Text behavior, glyphs are selected with the Adjust Item tool rather than the Adjust Glyph tool. This allows you to modify text characters independently of the sequence behavior. For more information on the Adjust Glyph tool, see Working with Text Glyphs.

    When a glyph is selected with the Adjust Item tool, a section of the mini-Timeline and Timeline are highlighted. This area shows when the currently selected glyph is affected by the sequence behavior.

    Figure. Timeline showing Sequence Text behavior bar with a highlighted area indicating the animation location of the selected glyph.
To remove a parameter from the sequence behavior
  • In the Parameter row of the Behaviors tab, choose a parameter from the Remove pop-up menu.

    The parameter is removed from the behavior.

To create a softer transition between each text unit
  • In the Behaviors tab, drag the Spread slider to the right (or type a number in the value slider).

    Figure. Canvas showing Sequence Text behavior with Spread value set to 0, and set to 11.

Using the Text Style Pane With the Sequence Text Behavior

Parameters that you want to include in a sequence animation are assigned in the Sequence Text behavior. Attributes that are modified in the Style pane of the Text Inspector (Face, Glow, Outline, or Drop Shadow) do not sequence. Therefore, if you want to modify a specific parameter but want it to remain unchanged over the course of a sequence animation, modify that parameter in the Style pane of the Text Inspector. For example, you can create a sequence in which the text glow scales and fades (by setting Glow > Scale and Glow > Opacity in the Sequence Text behavior), but where the text outline remains constant (by setting the Outline parameters in the Style pane of the Text Inspector).

Note: Because the parameters set in the Sequence Text behavior are independent of the parameters set in the Style pane, you may see changes in the appearance of certain attributes when you select parameter checkboxes in the Style pane. For example, if you create a sequence that animates text glow and then select the Glow checkbox in the Style pane of the Text Inspector, the effect is additive. The glow in the Style pane is added to the glow created in the Sequence Text behavior.

To use the Style pane with the Sequence Text behavior
  1. With the text object selected, click the Text tab in the Inspector, then click the Style pane.

  2. In the Face controls, change the color of the text to something other than white. For more information on using the color controls, see Color Controls.

  3. Select the Outline checkbox and modify some Outline parameters.

  4. Click the Add Behavior icon in the Toolbar, then choose Text Animation > Sequence Text from the pop-up menu.

  5. In the Behaviors tab, choose Face > Color from the Add pop-up menu.

    The text turns default white. When the Sequencing pop-up menu is set to the default “From,” the sequence behavior animates from the values defined in the Sequence Text behavior to the original values of the text. Prior to applying the Sequence Text behavior, the text color was defined in the Style pane, so this is considered the original color.

  6. Play the project.

    The text color sequences from the color defined in the Sequence Text behavior to the original color of the text. The outline does not sequence.

Using the Custom Sequencing Option

When Custom is selected from the Sequencing pop-up menu, you can create your own sequence by keyframing parameters. The following simple example creates a position sequence.

To create an animation using the Custom Sequencing option
  1. Select the text layer to be animated, click the Add Behavior icon in the Toolbar, then choose Text Animation > Sequence Text.

  2. In the Behaviors tab, choose Custom from the Sequencing pop-up menu.

  3. Drag the playhead to the frame where you want to begin the animation, then click the Record button (or press A) to turn on keyframing.

    When keyframing is on, parameters that can be animated appear pink in the Inspector.

  4. Do one of the following:

    • In the Behaviors tab, choose Format > Position from the Add pop-up menu, then use the Position value sliders to define the beginning (or ending) position of the text.

    • In the Canvas, drag the selected text character to its beginning (or ending) position.

      A keyframe is added to the Position parameter.

  5. Go to the next frame where you want to set a position keyframe, and do one of the following:

    • In the Behaviors tab, enter a new Position value.

    • In the Canvas, drag selected text to a new position.

      A second position keyframe is created.

      Figure. Canvas showing Sequence Text behavior with position keyframes.
  6. Repeat Step 5 until you have added all of your keyframes.

    Notice that an editable animation path appears in the Canvas. This appears only when Custom is selected from the Sequencing pop-up menu.

    Figure. Canvas showing Sequence Text behavior with an editable animation path.

    For more information on working with animation paths, see Manipulating Animation Paths in the Canvas.

    Note: If you change the Sequencing parameter to another option, such as Through Inverted or To, and then change Sequencing back to Custom, the custom animation path is retained.

Sequencing the Distortion of Style Attributes

In addition to using the value fields and sliders in the Inspector, you can use onscreen controls to sequence the Four Corner parameter, creating warp effects that manipulate the text Face, Outline, Glow, or Drop Shadow parameters. In the following simple examples, text Glow, Outline, and Drop Shadow parameters are sequenced.

To sequence the warping of a text glow effect
  1. Select the text layer to be animated, click the Add Behavior icon in the Toolbar, then choose Text Animation > Sequence Text.

  2. In the Parameter row of the Behaviors tab, choose Glow > Four Corner from the Add pop-up menu.

    In the Inspector, the Glow Four Corner parameter is added to the sequence above the Add and Remove pop-up menus. The Four Corner parameter is used to distort the text’s glow attribute, allowing you to use onscreen controls to “pull” the glow around the text.

    Figure. Inspector showing parameter being added to the Sequence Text behavior.
  3. In the lower portion of the Behaviors tab of the Inspector, choose Glow from the Attribute pop-up menu.

    Figure. Inspector showing Attribute pop-up menu in Sequence Text behavior.

    The onscreen controls appear that allow you to shear or four-corner adjust the attribute.

    Figure. Canvas showing onscreen transform handles for individual glyph.
  4. Do one of the following:

    • To shear the glow, drag a shearing handle.

      Figure. Canvas showing text glow sheared.
    • To warp the glow, drag a corner handle.

      Figure. Canvas showing text glow warped.

      Note: You can also use the value sliders in the Four Corner parameter in the Behaviors tab. Click the Four Corner disclosure triangle to show the Bottom Left, Bottom Right, Top Right, and Top Left controls.

      Some characters may not appear affected when you drag in the Canvas. However, when you play the project, all characters are affected.

  5. Play the project.

    The glow distortion is sequenced through the text, based on the settings in the Sequence Text behavior parameters.

    The following task describes an optional workflow in which you can distort text face, glow, outline, or drop shadow using the above steps, but without using the Add pop-up menu.

To sequence the warping of a text glow effect without using the Add pop-up menu
  1. In the lower portion of the Behaviors tab of the Inspector, choose Glow from the Attribute pop-up menu.

    Onscreen controls appear that allow you to distort the text attribute. No parameters are added to the Inspector (above the Add pop-up menu) until the onscreen controls are adjusted.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To shear the glow, drag a shearing handle.

    • To warp the glow, drag a corner handle.

      Once you adjust a handle, the Four Corner parameter is added to the sequence above the Add and Remove pop-up menus.

      Note: You can also use the value sliders in the Four Corner parameter in the Behaviors tab. Click the Four Corner disclosure triangle to show the Bottom Left, Bottom Right, Top Right, and Top Left controls.

  3. Play the project.

    The glow distortion is sequenced through the text, based on the settings in the Sequence Text behavior parameters.

Sequence Text Controls

The Sequence Text behavior has the following parameter controls in Behaviors tab.

  • Start: Available when Unit Size is set to Custom, defines the starting point of the selection to be sequenced.
  • End: Available when Unit Size is set to Custom, defines the ending point of the selection to be sequenced.
  • Spread: Controls the amount of falloff at the beginning and end of the sequencing. To create a softer transition between each text unit, increase the Spread value.
  • Random Seed: Available when Direction is set to Random, allows you to change the current “randomness” (seed number) of the direction of the sequence by typing a new number or clicking the Generate button.
  • Custom Speed: Available when Speed is set to Custom, allows you to keyframe the completion of the sequencing by defining the location of the text where the animation is in effect.
  • Loops: Sets the number of times the animation sequences through the text over its duration.
  • End Offset: Offsets the end of the effect of the sequence behavior. By default, the sequence animation is in effect until the end of the behavior. For example, to stop the sequencing 60 frames from the end of the text layer (or project), drag the End Offset slider to 60 or enter 60 in the value slider. Using this slider to stop the effect, instead of trimming the end of the behavior in the Timeline, freezes the end of the effect for the remaining duration of the object. Trimming the end of the behavior resets the text to its original settings.
  • Variance: This group of controls allows you to randomize the attributes assigned to sequence through the text. For example, if you add variance to a scale sequence, the text scale is randomized rather than moving strictly from the original Scale value to the Scale value defined in the sequence behavior. These sliders control the frequency of the randomness. When sequencing is set to To, From, Through, or Through Inverted, it is useful to see how the Variance numbers affect the randomness. The following image shows a sequence animation in which the Y Position is offset. When a low variance value (or “frequency”) is applied, the randomness is very smooth along the line of text—like the text is riding a very slow and smooth wave.
    Figure. Canvas showing text sequence with Y position offset using a low variance value.

    As the variance is increased, the randomness increases across the line of text—the text is riding on very short and frequent waves so they are offset in Y with more randomness.

    Figure. Canvas showing text sequence with Y position offset using a high variance value.

    When Custom is chosen from the Sequencing pop-up menu, the same principle applies in that a low variance value causes the text to offset from its animation with a smooth path, while a high variance causes more randomness.

    Note: The Variance parameters are sensitive, so keep in mind that low values are necessary for smooth animation results.

    • Variance: Allows you to fluctuate the values of the attributes assigned to sequence through the text. For example, if you add variance to an opacity sequence, the text opacity is randomized rather than moving strictly from the original Scale value to the Scale value defined in the sequence behavior.
    • Minimum: Defines the lower boundary of the variance for the sequenced parameter value. For example, if you set Minimum to 25% for a sequence that is animating text scale, the minimum size that the text unit will scale to is 25% of the Scale value set in the behavior.

      Note: When Custom is selected from the Sequencing pop-up menu, Minimum (and Maximum) is replaced with the Amount parameter.

    • Maximum: Defines the upper boundary of the variance for the sequenced parameter value. For example, if you set Maximum to 75% for a sequence that is animating text scale, the maximum size that the text unit will scale to is 75% of the Scale value set in the behavior.

      Note: When Custom is chosen from the Sequencing pop-up menu, the Maximum and Minimum sliders are replaced with the Amount slider.

    • Amount: Available when Custom is chosen from the Sequencing pop-up menu, defines the maximum amount that the animated parameter can deviate from its animation value. For example, the following image shows a custom animation of a glyph in the positive Y direction. When Amount is set to 50, the glyph deviates no more than 50 pixels to the left or right of the animation path (the bold red line shows the animation path, the thinner red line displays the randomized path).
      Figure. Canvas showing a glyph deviating less than 50 pixels from the animation path.
    • Noisiness: Adds an additional overlay of random variance. Higher Noisiness values result in more erratic variations in the affected parameter.
    • Seed: Click the Generate button to create an initial random “seed” for creating randomness in the Variance parameters. If you are not happy with the randomness results when you first click Generate, click the button again or enter a value in the field.