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Animating Text In Motion Part 4, Particle Text

Check out our Motion: Animating Text course!

So far we’ve looked at anchor points, path shapes, and sequence animations for text in Motion. All of which open doors to creating some awesome Motion graphics titles. In this final installment of our 4 part series, I’ll show you how to use a Particle Emitter with text. As in the previous 3 lessons, don’t focus on only the trick, but also on the individual tools used to achieve it. They can be used to achieve so much else if you get creative with them.


Step 1 - Set Up

I’ll create a new generic Motion project at 720p30 for 5 seconds. Use Shift-Z to be sure you can see the full canvas. Move the playhead to 1 second. T brings up my typing tool and in the center of the canvas I’ll type some sample text to demonstrate with. Command-3 to open the Library and F4 for the Text tab. In the Format section, I’ll make it Arial, bold, 130 points, center justified, then centered on the canvas. Make a duplicate of this text layer with Command-D and name it “Image Source Text”, then turn off its visibility checkbox.

Back in the Library go to Filters > Stylize, click Apply to add the Color Emboss to the visible text. F3 and set Direction to 0.5, Relief to 2.0, turn off Crop. Back in the Library again, go to Behaviors > Basic Motion and apply Fade In/Out. F2 and set Fade In Time to 2.0, Fade Out Time to 0.

Figure 1

Figure 1


Step 2 - Background Texture

Move the playhead to the start of the project. Command-2 brings up the Library, go to Content, to Images, to Traditions and add the Marble White image to our Group. Command-[ (left bracket) to move it below our text layer. Use the side handles to stretch it out the full width of our canvas.

Move the playhead back to 1 second, select the visible text layer, F4 and in the Style section, click the eye dropper for the Face color and sample the darkest area of the marble you can. Turn on outline and do the same. Then click the color square to pull up the Apple Color Picker. Go to the Color Wheel section, pull down on the luma slider to the right and darken it up a little bit more.

Figure 2

Figure 2


Step 3 - Create A Particle Emitter

Select the Bezier drawing tool and create a small jagged shape. This will be our chipped off pieces that will reveal the text when they separate from the marble background. See Figure 3 for an example. When done Shift-S, then hit E to make it a Particle Emitter. 

Figure 3

Figure 3


F4 with the Emitter layer selected, set Shape to Image, drag the Image Source Text layer into the Image Source Well, Emission angle is 6.9, Emission Range is 360. In the Cell Controls section set Birth Rate to 0, Initial Number to 4000, Speed to 200, Angle to 80, Angle Randomness to 190, Spin to 380, Spin Randomness to 200, Scale and Scale Randomness to 20. Temporarily turn off the text layer’s fade in and move the emitter layer to line up directly over the text. Turn the fade in back on.

Figure 4

Figure 4


Step 4 - Controlling The Particles

With the Emitter layer selected, F7 to bring up the HUD. In the circle control, the white outer controls are Emission Angle or how wide the particles will spread out, the blue arrow is Emission Range or how fast the particles will fly away. See Figure 5 for settings to create blown away by wind, falling to the ground, and scatter in all directions effects.

Figure 5

Figure 5


Conclusion

This actually just scratches the surface of using particles with text. My hope is that it gives you the basic tools to experiment with other possibilities this technique offers. For example, turn off the text and marble layers, set Emission Angle and Range, and Speed to 0, then watch what happens. I’ve had a lot of fun putting this 4-part tutorial together and I hope you’ve learn some exciting new techniques and tools. Now go and create your own title magic in Motion!


Check out our Motion: Animating Text course!

Ben Balser

Ben Balser | Articles by this author

Ben Balser studied educational psychology at Loyola University, and after retiring from a 20+ year IT career, now produces, consults, teaches, and rents equipment for media production as a full time job. As an Apple Certified Master Trainer, he ran the Louisiana Cajun Cutters FCP user group for 8 years, taught post-production at Louisiana State University and has lead their annual teen filmmaking bootcamp. He teaches currently for AATC facilities across the USA and for The Orchard Solutions. He has consulted for higher education, government, broadcast and private production facilities.

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