AE Kinetic Typography & Infographic Tutorials

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These days, the use of kinetic typography and infographics are used in videos to illustrate facts, statistics, and more when live action footage or stock footage isn’t readily available. Most of these types of animations are found in explainer videos, which have become the new normal for business and web videos. However, pulling off these animations take some good preparation and knowledge of After Effects. There are even scripts available from AEScripts.com that help in the animation process known as TypeMonkey and LayerMonkey. However, you won’t always have access to scripts or third party plugins, so it’s good to know what tutorials are available. I have come across a few tutorials that would help AE users get a hang of creating infographics and/or kinetic typography for their projects.

Creating an Animated Bar Graph

In this tutorial, motion graphics designer Evan Abrams shows you how to create a 2D bar graph animation using shape layers. One of the many requirements for creating an infographic is the use of vector shapes so that your layers can be manipulated beyond its intended size during an animation. The techniques that Evan uses to create the animation are very useful if you have an explainer video with data based on a bar graph.

After Effects Kinetic Typography

For this tutorial, motion graphics guru Mikey Borup shows you how to create kinetic typography in a quick and dirty fashion. I can attest to the first time I tried creating this type of animation and how intimidating it was. This tutorial is easy to follow and will have you creating typography videos in no time.

Slick Object Transitions

If you have got a grip on how to create infographics and kinetic typography, you can take your skills to the next level by watching this advanced tutorial. The folks of Mt. Mograph show you how to transition between objects such as a tablet, photo, computer, and a camera. These types of animations are used a lot in commercial explainer videos to add a bit more flare as transformations often do. Using Illustrator to create vector shapes and After Effects to control the animations, you will be able to pull this off in very little time.

Push Button Animation

Another great tutorial from Evan Abrams is this fun push button animation. Your client may call for an animation where buttons need to be pushed, and following this tutorial will get you there. Once again, Evan uses shape layers to give the appearance of 3D depth. Using a few keyframes across a short period of time will create a cool push button animation. These are just a few of the tutorials that stood out to me in terms of infographics and kinetic typography. Obviously, you can use other programs besides After Effects to create these types of animations, such as Motion. You can also purchase pre-made templates if you are on a tight deadline. Once you get a firm grasp of these animation techniques, you will bring more creativity to your projects.

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Blend Mode Compositing in Premiere Pro

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One of the many things I picked up from using Photoshop for the last few years is the power that blend modes have on your images. With blend modes, I can mix images with objects, colors, and more into interesting composites. I have been able to apply many of the same principles that I learned in video editing to create interesting compositions. Many simple visual effects can be achieved by using blend modes. Using blend modes such as Add or Screen on footage that has a black background (like muzzle flashes) can remove the background and give you access to the flash. In the three video tutorials below, I will breakdown how blend modes were used to take ordinary footage to amazing motion graphic compositions.

Character Callout Tutorial

In this video tutorial, I show viewers how to take a clip of a snowboarder and turn it into a character callout animation when he completes his flip. Many motion graphics elements from Rampant Design Tools were used on this tutorial, but to give them the full effect that I desired, blend modes had to be used. For example, I used a clip which had film scratches you would find on old filmstrips. These clips were created with a white background embedded into them. In order for me to focus black parts of the film scratches, I utilized the blend mode of Overlay to do so. Overlay allows me to focus primarily on the dark parts of the clip, which are the black scratches, and suppress the white background. In further examples of the tutorial, I used blend modes such as Add and Screen to make clips with black backgrounds brighter. With some tweaking of the opacity of each layer, I was able to create something completely unique for my animation which wouldn’t have been achieved had I not used blend modes.

Edit With Lines Tutorial

In this tutorial from the folks of Edit with Light, they showcase how their product can be utilized using a variety of blend modes such as Screen, Lighten, and Hue to create cool motion graphics. I found the Hue blend mode to be the most interesting because the clips come with multiple colors and creates a tint-like effect when placed on top of footage. The subtle touch using blend modes with the Lines product is quite amazing. With the demonstration shown above, blend modes are able to take the concert footage from ordinary to awesome with little effort.

Match Up Tutorial

In this tutorial, I showcase how to create a sports match up animation. Using clips from Rampant Design Tools, blend modes was a necessity to make each scene in the animation. In the first scene with the trophy, I used the Screen blend mode to isolate the lens flare transitions and the Add blend mode to create the background using XFilm. In the second and third scene, I was able to place the cutout models in the background using a combination of the Overlay blend mode and Screen blend mode. Blend modes were necessary to make this animation flourish.

Blend mode compositing is definitely a skill that most editors should be familiar with. I can’t count how many times using blend modes has helped me. It is something I think about whenever I approach a graphics heavy project. Blend mode compositing is not only available to Premiere Pro, but to other NLEs and compositing programs as well. I strongly recommend that you experiment with all blend modes to see what you can create.

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Tracking Text To An Object in After Effects CC

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Shows today like the Netflix’s Original Series House of Cards and BBC’s Sherlock are using a rather eye catching effects to show text messages on a phone without doing a close up on the phone’s display. Instead, they have the text float over the phone and is motion tracked in such a way that if the character moves, the text will smoothly follow along.

In order to achieve this effect, I will show you how to do it in three simple steps: – Tracking the Footage – Creating the Text – Linking the Text to the Tracking Data

TRACKING THE FOOTAGE

Once you first have your video footage imported into After Effects, create a new composition, and then right click on the source footage and choose TRACK MOTION.

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From here you will have a single tracking point to position on your footage.

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Since this effect will be linking text to a phone – the phone itself becomes the focus for tracking. As such, reposition the tracking point over a significant marking on the phone. I use the term ‘significant’ which simply means “stands out.” In the case of the footage I am using, the pink lock button located on top of the phone stands out well contrasted against the white case, giving me a significant point to track. Other examples of significant points you may want to look for include logos, buttons, or switches.

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Once the tracking point is positioned, go over to your tracking controls in the lower right corner and choose ANALYZE FORWARD.

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At this point, the tracking point will create an anchor point for each frame of the video footage. Once finished, you will be able to see the overall path of motion of that significant point.

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In order to capture this data and make it useful for our effect, you will need to go to LAYER >> NEW >> NULL OBJECT. From there, go back to your tracker controls and choose EDIT TARGET. Set the target  you just created to the NULL OBJECT. To finish hit APPLY.

CREATING THE TEXT

Now that we have the tracked data, the next thing we need is to create the text itself. To do that, go to LAYER >> NEW >> TEXT. This creates a new layer in your layers panel. In order to edit it, you need to go over to your CHARACTER controls and choose the settings to which your text will display.

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In essence this is where you choose items such as font, color, size, and scale. Once your settings fit the desired effect, you can choose your text tool from the tool bar or simply hit CMD+T for the hot key reference. Click into your source footage, and type in the text you want displayed.

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LINKING THE TEXT TO THE TRACKING DATA

You have got your tracking data, and you have got your text. Now, all that is left is to marry the two together. Without linking the text to the tracking the data, when the footage begins to play, the text will stay immobile and the footage moves dynamically away from the text. To pair the two is very simple. In your layers panel, you should have three layers thus far: your source footage, your null object (with the tracking data), and your text layer. Looking at your text layer, you will notice there is a section labeled PARENT, and below it looks like a SWIRL ICON. Click and drag on the SWIRL ICON, and you will notice you are dragging a black line along with you – This action is called PICK WHIPPING.

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So you will want to PICK WHIP the TEXT LAYER to the NULL OBJECT. By doing so, you are telling your text layer to follow the null object’s tracked data, thus making it so that the text follows the phone throughout the source footage.

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