Animating text… the easy way

31 Jan

Andrew Kramer’s easily one of the coolest unsung heroes of design out there.  Probably 1/5th of all commercials or shows out there either have used some of his work directly, learned a trick or two or in some way have interacted with his work either directly or indirectly.  He’s not a name you’ll see in the annals or history of the internet directly. 

This is a guy who goes out and looks at things and says, “How can I make this …” and keeps twisting ideas around until he has something really remarkable… and then he gives it way to everyone else.  Honestly I don’t know how he does it.  Which is why I frequently feel the need to plug him and the free tutorials he does. 

He doesn’t do it for the money because he doesn’t charge.  He doesn’t (as far as I know) get money from Adobe or product manufacturers – although lord knows he should. His free tutorials are head and shoulders over the best that Adobe has to offer.  No, Andrew doesn’t do his tutorials for anything other than having fun and show off what he (and if you watch you) can do.  He does these tutorials so other people will take what he’s done and run with it and come up with new ways to use the toys he’s created. 

His most recent tutorial was on creating amazingly text effects using Stroke – something so common most of use and  just take it for granted, and it’s a testimony to Andrew that I spent the next three hours thinking of all the cool ways I could use the tricks he showed in this one tutorial in new and different ways.

One cool trick – is to actually create fairly realistic neon/advertising signs – using nothing but text graphics.    No, Andrew didn’t show how to do that directly and that’s the point.  He shows amazing tricks and waits to see what people do with them.

Based on the sheer cool factor of this tutorial I suspect you’re going to see a massive number of animations using these techniques over the next few months.  He’s one of those people who show you a trick or two and you suddenly have a “gee I could have had a V-8” moment and slap your forehead going … It can’t be that easy!  And no, it’s not – but an hour later what you have is amazing.

The demo clip below does not contain a single graphic element.  Not one.  It’s all done with text and the results are astounding.   Ordinarily I’d do something in Photoshop an or use some other techniques and it’d be pretty complicated.  This uses text, stroke, some blur effects and some blending effects – all inside AE.  Not a drop of Photoshop or other effects or plugins.    And it’s 3D.  This is why going over and just sitting through the mans tutorials is worth your time.

So if you haven’t gone out to Andrew’s website … and you do anything at all with graphics or video – you really have to.   You’ll pick up more there, and in the forums there – than you can imagine.  It’s like 30 years of knowledge directly injected into brain with wit, and humor. 

Coffee Sign Demo using text and stroke effect.
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Posted by on January 31, 2011 in Uncategorized


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