Text Generators

Whereas other generators create background images and patterns, text generators use text characters to create text-based animations, such as timecode, time and date, or text animation created from a plain text (.txt). file. Text generators also use the standard text parameters, such as tracking, text on a path layout, and glow to modify the appearance of the generator. Text Generators have their own set of common parameters available in the HUD and in the Inspector. The Inspector for each text generator contains four panes: Format, Style, Layout, and Generator.

The first three panes (Format, Style, and Layout) which control the color, outline, glow, drop shadow, and path of the text can be used to modify the text in a Text Generator. These panes are identical to those in the Text Inspector (for a text layer) with one exception. In the Format pane, the Text editor and Publish to FCP controls found in the Text Inspector are not available. Additionally, the Text and Transform Glyph tools cannot be used to modify the text. Changing any of the text, such as adding words or correcting a spelling error, must be done in the source file.

Note: When Type is selected from the Layout Method pop-up menu in the Layout pane, and the Text tool is selected in the Toolbar, a line appears under the currently-selected type in a Text Generator.

The appearance of a text generator—including color, outline, glow, drop shadow, path, and so on—can be modified in the Format, Style, and Layout panes of the Generator Inspector. This includes placing the generator text on a path.

For information on the Format, Style, and Layout panes, see Creating and Editing Text.

The parameters in the Generator pane are described below.

File

The File text generator displays the contents of a text file. The appearance (font, weight, size, and so on) of the text in the source file is ignored in favor of the settings in the Inspector. The text file must be in plain text (.txt) format.

The text displays onscreen word by word, line by line, appearing and disappearing based on the settings in the Inspector. The duration of the generator determines the speed of the text. All text in the source file is displayed; the longer the duration of the generator, the slower the text appears.

Parameters in the Inspector
  • Browse: Click the Browse button to locate the file you want to use as the text source.
  • Custom Speed: A slider that becomes available when Custom is chosen from the Speed pop-up menu, allows you to keyframe the timing of the appearance or disappearance of the text. At 0 percent, none of the text has appeared; at 100 percent, the last of the text in the file is displayed (the last line or word).
  • Random: When selected, randomizes the order in which the lines of text appear.
  • Random Seed: If you do not like the current order in which the text is appearing, you can change the seed number by typing a new number or clicking Generate. This changes the random calculations to display the text in a different order.
  • Text Controls: The File generator HUD contains the standard text HUD controls. For more information, see Using the Text HUD.
HUD Controls

The HUD contains the following controls: Speed, Random, and Text Controls.

Using the File Generator

The source file for the File generator must be in plain text (.txt) format. Generally, you can use the “Save As” command in your text application to save the file as plain text.

Note: If you are using the Mac OS X TextEdit application, choose Format > Make Plain Text (Command-Shift-T) to save a copy as plain text.

To use the File generator
  1. Select the File generator in the project.

  2. Click the Generator tab of the Inspector, click the Generator pane of the Inspector, then click the Browse button.

    The “Choose text file” dialog appears.

  3. Select the text file you want to use, then click Open.

    The text file is loaded into the generator. If you are at the first frame of your project and depending on what is chosen from the Speed pop-up menu, the text may not appear in the Canvas until you play the project.

  4. Press the Play button.

    The text appears and disappears line by line. Use the parameters in the Generator pane to modify the animation. For more information, see File.

    The appearance of the text is based on the settings in the Format, Style, and Layout panes in the Generator tab of the Inspector. For more information on using and editing text, see Creating and Editing Text.

Numbers

The Numbers text generator displays random numbers based on the settings in the Inspector.

Parameters in the Inspector
  • Animate: When this checkbox is selected, the numbers are animated as the project plays. When deselected, a static number is displayed.
  • Start: Sets the beginning number for the generator. Slider values range from 0 to 100. For negative numbers or numbers greater than 100, use the value slider (to the right of the slider). Default values are based on the project. For example, when the Numbers generator is added to a default project of 300 frames, the Start value is 1 and the End value is 300.

    Tip: You can use the Link parameter behavior to set the visible numbers to show the values of one of the other parameters used in your project. The number display may appear at a scaled rate in some cases. In other cases, the number display may be translated into another form (such as a percentage)—for example, if you were linking to the value of a point light’s Falloff parameter, the number displayed on screen would be scaled by a factor of .1 and the Intensity parameter would be displayed as a percentage. You can scale and offset the value of the linked parameter using the Scale slider in the Link behavior tab. To convert the number to a different format, use the Format pop-up menu in the Numbers generator. For more about the Link behavior, see Link.

  • End: Sets the ending number for the generator. Slider values range from 0 to 100. For negative numbers or numbers greater than 100, use the value slider (to the right of the slider). Default values are based on the project. For example, when the Numbers generator is added to a default project of 300 frames, the Start value is 0 and the End value is 300. If the End value is set to 200, a range of 0 to 200 is counted over the 300 frames.
  • Decimals: Available when Number, Currency, Percent, or Scientific is chosen from the Format pop-up menu, sets the number of decimal places.
  • Capitalize: When this checkbox is selected, initial uppercase letters are used when spelling out the numbers. This checkbox is available only when Spell Out is chosen from the Format pop-up menu.
  • Minimum Digits: Available when Number is chosen from the Format pop-up menu, defines the minimum digits used in the generator. The default value is 1.
  • Thousands Separator: Available when Number, Currency, or Percent is chosen from the Format pop-up menu, displays a comma or other character to separate thousands (based on what is chosen in the Region pop-up menu).
  • Random: Numbers are displayed randomly.
  • Random Seed: If you don’t like the current random number count, you can change the seed number by typing a new number or clicking Generate. This changes the random calculations to display different numbers.
  • Random Hold Frame: When the Random checkbox is selected, specifies how long (in frames) each number is held onscreen. For example, If Random is selected and Random Hold Frame is set to 20, a number is displayed for 20 frames, then the next number is displayed and held for 20 frames, and so on.
  • Region: By default, the generator uses the current system’s region. Click the Current button to set the current system’s region as the region for the generator. Click the Region pop-up menu to select another region.

    Note: The selected region is saved with the generator. If opened on another computer with a different regional setting, the generator retains the saved region.

  • Text Controls: The Numbers generator HUD contains the standard text HUD controls. For more information, see Using the Text HUD.
HUD Controls

The HUD contains the following controls: Format, Decimals, Minimum Digits, and Text Controls.

Time Date

The Time Date text generator displays the date and time based on the settings in the Inspector. You can create a countdown or count-up animation by defining start and end values. You can also specify time units, as well as time and date format.

The default date and time are based on the computer’s system clock at the time the generator is added to the project. This can be changed in the Inspector by manually entering a value or clicking the Set Current Time button.

Parameters in the Inspector
  • Animate: When this checkbox is selected, the time and date are animated as the project plays. The animation, such as a countdown or count up, is based on the values set in the Start and End fields. When Animate is deselected, static information is displayed.
  • Start: Available when the Animate checkbox is selected, specifies the start date and time for the generator. This parameter can be animated using keyframes.
  • End: Available when the Animate checkbox is selected, specifies the end date and time for the generator. This parameter can be animated using keyframes.
  • Value: Specifies the date and time displayed in the generator. Value is not available when the Animate checkbox is selected. This parameter can be animated using keyframes.
  • Set Current Time: Click to set the current time in the generator.
  • Region: By default, the generator uses the current system’s region. Click the Current button to set the current system’s region as the region for the generator. Click the Region pop-up menu to select another region.
  • Padding: Adds a 0 in front of single-digit times or dates.
  • Text Controls: The Time Date generator HUD contains the standard text HUD controls. For more information, see Using the Text HUD.
HUD Controls

The HUD contains the following controls: Set Current Time, Time Units, Time Format, Date Format, and Text Controls.

Timecode

The Timecode text generator displays timecode based on the current project or the settings in the Inspector. You can specify a specific timecode value, an offset to the current timecode, the timecode format, and the timecode base.

Parameters in the Inspector
  • Current Timecode: When this checkbox is selected, the generator uses the project’s current timecode.
  • Offset: Available when the Current Timecode checkbox is selected. Specifies an offset value to the current timecode. This parameter can be animated using keyframes.
  • Value: Available when the Current Timecode checkbox is deselected. Specifies the timecode value that is displayed. This parameter can be animated using keyframes.
  • Label: Text entered in the Label field is added as a prefix to the timecode displayed in the Canvas.
  • Text Controls: The Timecode generator HUD contains the standard text HUD controls. For more information, see Using the Text HUD.
HUD Controls

The HUD contains the following controls: Current Timecode, Format, Timecode Base, and Text Controls.