Kinetic Typography

ChuckGroth's picture

Forgive me- I think this is a topic I've seen here before, but a search yielded no info for me.

I am interested in kinetic typography, and I was wondering: what is the best -- or easiest -- software someone would recommend for this? Thanks.

Some examples:

http://joaobordalo.com/articles/2007/08/15/top-12-kinetic-typography-films

blank's picture

After Effects is the way to go. It’s pretty superb at animating vectors generally, and countless great text effects that might otherwise be a bother to implement are built right in, with animated previews in the help file.

ChuckGroth's picture

Thanks, James.

Does Illustrator CS3 have an animation feature?

lenny's picture

cinema4d is another good choice.
or try processing from www.processing.org

cuttlefish's picture

You might want to give Swift 3D a try. And Adobe Flash is a natural at motion graphics too (maybe not as good for some purposes as After Effects, but it has its place). Did you not get your Illustrator CS3 in a bundle?

Quincunx's picture

As far as I can see, all the movies in that playlist on that site, are made with Adobe After Effects. Some of the simpler ones might be done with some other app, but the majority is pure AE. Which isn't even so difficult by the way, if you have experience with timeline- and keyframe-based apps, you should be able to make a couple of animations in a day or two. Not as perfect as the Pulp Fiction animation of course, but still pretty decent. I have made a couple of kinetic-type movies, done in a week or so, without any experience with the program. (I did know Premiere and Flash, so then AE is not too difficult). If you don't have experience with such apps, then it will take more time to learn.

I will see if I can upload my movs somewhere, but they're about 150mb, and I don't want to compress it too badly.

baconpress's picture

As far as I know Illustrator does not have any type of animation settings built in.

I have done a few of these as well, and I also think After Effects is the best way to go. Motion from Apple is also a great program, but I still think AE is better based on its price and the fact that most of us are already familiar with Adobe programs. I would also get a book and teach yourself, it isn't too hard. That is how I learned. Also the CS3 version of AE is going to be insane, they have fixed so many things that made it a frusterating program to deal with before, I would try and get the CS3 version if possible.

Quincunx's picture

Ah, yes. Motion, that was the app I was referring to with 'other app'. I heard it was supposed to be ok. But I agree AE is the way to go. The majority, if not all, of those movies that are so popular are made with it.

blank's picture

Illustrator doesn’t animate. I think Adobe was looking at bringing SVG animation into Illustrator when their Flash imitator tanked, but that stuff never really went anywhere.

Using 3D apps to do your animation can work well, but they won’t be nearly as easy to learn as After Effects. In terms of application design, After Effects is just like Photoshop with keyframe animation and a scripting system tacked on, which makes is extremely easy to learn, at least if you’re already familiar with Photoshop. 3D apps tend to be much more complex. Previous versions of Flash have never been able to export working movies, just SWF files, so unless this changed in CS3 Flash isn’t the best choice. And because of the way Flash handles in-between frames, it can also be a PITA to do serious animation in because it requires extra steps for no good reason other than the original programmers were absolutely horrible application/UI designers.

ChuckGroth's picture

Thanks a lot. I appreciate all the advice. I'm going to get started on some ideas.

cuttlefish's picture

I'm not sure what you're talking about James. Flash has been able to export Quicktime movies since at least version 4. Indeed, some special workflow considerations have to be made for that specific output, but that's true of any multipurpose development thingy.

Quincunx's picture

It's supposed to encode quicktime normally, but it usually is a pain. And when it works, I often can't read those exports into apps like Premiere or something. I don't what the problem is. I've actually sometimes had to record my screen while playing the animation to get a somewhat decent mov. Not ideal.

blank's picture

Flash has been able to export Quicktime movies since at least version 4.

Theoretically it does, but the files are often garbage if not unplayable. I was never able to get a working Quicktime movie of any kind out of Flash 8, no matter what I did. After Effects, on the other hand, has never failed to render me a working Quicktime file.

T Bones's picture

I'm not sure what application they've been made with, but there are quite a few animated type pieces appearing on youtube.
Typography defined
Pulp Fiction
Typography (Brazil)

Kevin Larson's picture

Fight Club and the other CMU videos were created with their own engine which they give away. The project was a cool collaboration between designer Jody Forlizzi and computer scientist Scott Hudson and his students.
http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~johnny/kt/

ChuckGroth's picture

you know, i looked at those, and read a bit about the engine, but it sounded like much more of a programming exercise than a design exercise, so i shied away. should i give it another look?

blank's picture

should i give it another look?

If you enjoy programming it’s probably worth a shot, otherwise you might end up sinking a lot of time into figuring things out. It’s worth noting that their code is from 2002 and doesn’t come with much in the way of compilation instructions, so unless you enjoying fighting to build a binary, it’s gonna be nasty.

Anyway, I did stumble across Jahshaka, an open-source editing and effects suite that looks promising. I’m getting ready to put together a video clip this week, so I’ll be giving it a try. Here’s a link to the binaries over at Sourceforge.

I am wondering if Youtube will spark Adobe to release an “After Effects Elements” for people who want to mess around with animation and video effects, but don’t have a need for all the high-end tools built into the not-remotely-inexpensive Standard and Professional versions. If they don’t do it soon, Apple will.

rui abreu's picture

I think Cinema 4D and after effects are the most commun software used in type animation.
C4D is great for animation, very easy and intuitive, and you can draw vector key shapes in illustrator, and animate them in the Cinema 4d timeline. It's also good for creating atmosphere.
After effects is the best for post production, and final render.

Take a look at my video: www.radsn.net

rui abreu's picture

I think Cinema 4D and after effects are the most commun software used in type animation.
C4D is great for animation, very easy and intuitive, and you can draw vector key shapes in illustrator, and animate them in the Cinema 4d timeline. It's also good for creating atmosphere.
After effects is the best for post production, and final render.

Take a look at my video: www.radsn.net

ChuckGroth's picture

Anyway, I did stumble across Jahshaka, an open-source editing and effects suite that looks promising. I’m getting ready to put together a video clip this week, so I’ll be giving it a try.

i'll be interested to hear how it goes.

nitrofurano's picture

on Jahshaka? i'm very curious to see this work, and see how fine is Jahshaka on the AfterEffects (and alike) replacement - i replaced Freehand/Illustrator with Inkscape, Photoshop with Gimp, Fontographer/Fontlab with Fontforge - and i'm really wished to replace AfterEffects with Jahshaka - it's seems to be a really promising open-source app!

Chris Dean's picture

Something about using After Effects in a hip-hop video seems to undermine their attempt at being bad-ass & gangstar…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJOsjP33nF4

jidoe's picture

This thread seems to have been resurrected from the graveyard, but I thought I'd throw in a tip for the original poster.

After Effects is what you need to learn. I set out to learn how to make "kinetic" type videos about a year and a half ago, and managed to make a few I was happy with (for the most part).

Lynda.com has pretty good courses for this. But some of the best online training out there (which happens to be FREE) can be found at video copilot. Start here: http://www.videocopilot.net/basic/

Here is another tutorial which helped me a lot with timing: http://www.crookedgremlins.com/09/01/2008/kinetic-typography-tutorial/

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