Thursday, July 24, 2014

After Effects Numbers-To-Letters Transition Tutorial


Tutorial for transitioning numbers to text in After Effects. This is a mash-up of two techniques I learned from Mikey at the After Effects Tutorials with Mikey channel.

His videos presenting these techniques are:
Text Link After Effects Quick Tip
Random numbers transition to text


In this tutorial, I'm going to show how I did this text transition, but first a little background.

As of late, I have been doing more video work than still photography and as such have been working in less in Photoshop and more in After Effects. To learn the video side of things, I've subscribed to a number of different YouTube channels that do a lot of After Effects and Premiere Pro tutorials.

One of these channels is "After Effects with Mikey." He does a lot of great stuff, short, sweet and to the point, and I've learned quite a bit from him. Definitely check him out if you're looking for After Effects tutorials.

Recently he did a tutorial on transitioning random numbers to text, the effect I showed at the start. I learned about the Character Offset animator at the beginning but about half way through he took a left turn when I expected a right. I followed what he did ok and he ended up at his destination just fine, but, given a previous tutorial he'd done a week or so earlier, I thought it was sort of the long way around.

So, in this tutorial, I'm going to combine two techniques he showed in a way that I think makes achieving the effect easier.

If you want to see his tutorials first, pause this video and click the links here or in the description below.

Now, let's dive into After Effects.

First, we want to create a new composition. The properties don't really matter, you can use whatever you want, but you do want to remember your frame rate. That's important for later. Go ahead and create a new composition.

Now we need to create a new text layer and we want to put in here the text we want to end with. In my case I'll use "Hooked on Light." And this effect works best, if you use a fixed width font. So in this case I'm using Courier New.

Then we want to add another text layer and this time we want to put in random numbers, as many numbers as you have characters in the first text layer. Because the numbers are going to cover up the text so we want the same number there.

Now we want the text to follow the numbers wherever it goes. We want them to be sitting on top of each other. So I'm going to select both layers and hit "P" to bring up the position property. Then I'm going to alt-click on the position property for the text and pick whip that to the position of the numbers. Now if we look at that, the numbers and letters are in the same location. We can see that if we move the numbers, the letters go with it. Cool.

So the next thing we want to do is cause the numbers to change as we move through things.
We're going to select a "Character offset" animator and we're going to alt-click on the Character Offset line. And we're going to type in "time" star and your frame rate. In this case it's 24.

Now as we scrub through the time-line, we can see the numbers changing for us.

But we can see the text is sitting on top of the numbers and we don't want that. So now we want to fix that. And we're going to do that by creating an opacity animator.

And we want to first of all click on the layer to create a new animator. If we don't do that, it will create the animator, the new animator inside this animator, which isn't what we want. So we want to click on the layer there and then create another opacity animator. And we can see it creates an "Animator 2" now. That's what we want.

So we set the opacity here to zero and our numbers will disappear. Then we can go into the range selector, advanced, and we want to change "percentage" to "indexed" and smoothness to 0.

And now we want to set our Start to be the same number as whatever is in End. In this case it's 15. Yours will vary depending on how many characters you have in your text. And now we want to keyframe this where we want the numbers to begin dropping off. So in this case we want to go in about 2 seconds and I'm going to keyframe that. And then we go to where we want the numbers to completely drop off, where all the text should be visible. And then we set the Start keyframe to 0.

So now as we scrub through here we should see our numbers changing and we should see the numbers showing back up on top of the text.

So now I'm going to close this and then hit "U" to see only the items that have keyframes on them.

And then I'm going to scroll down the "Hooked on light" to open that guy up and then I'm going to add another character animator. Because now what we want to do is change the opacity of the characters to be the exact opposite of the numbers. So when the numbers are visible the characters aren't and when the characters are visible the numbers aren't.

So we're going to add another opacity animator to the characters. And we want to do the same thing with its range selector. Advanced. And set the - change "percentage" to "indexed" and smoothness to zero. And we want to set its opacity to zero.

But now we're going to do something a little bit different.

Now we're going to - instead of setting the Start like we did on the numbers - we're going to alt-click on the End - alt-click the stopwatch for the End - and we're going to pick-whip the End of this to the Start of the range selector for the numbers.

And what this will do is it will cause the ending value on the range selector for the opacity of the text to be exactly the same as the Start.

And now, if everything works properly, if we scrub to the beginning we should see nothing but numbers and then when we get to the first keyframe we should see the letters start to appear and as we move through the letters continue to appear as the numbers drop off.

And that's exactly what we wanted.

Now if we wanted to change, say the length of this time, all we need to do is change the keyframes right here in the Start. If we want to make the effect longer we can do that and everything woks out just fine for us. We could easy-ease those or whatever we want to do. And the End for the text will match up exactly with the numbers. It makes it very simple to reveal that text as the numbers disappear.

Well, that's pretty much it for this tutorial. Hope you found it useful. Catch you next time.

Friday, January 3, 2014

How to work with a Graflex RB Series B camera

Last year I wrote an article about my great-grandfather's Graflex RB Series B that I'd acquired from my Dad. Recently I posted two videos on my House of Hacks site.

The first is about cleaning the camera and getting it ready for making images.

The second covers loading film, setting exposure, taking pictures and the results from the first roll of film.

I hope you find these interesting.