1. 3D & Motion Graphics
  2. Motion Graphics

Animating Text Along A Path In After Effects - AE Basix

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Read Time: 3 min

Have you seen those animated adverts, where the text seamlessly moves along path? In this tutorial we are going to learn how to create a sequence that involves text animating along a custom path using the first margin text property. A custom path is a vector path that is drawn freehand using the pen tool in After Effects.


Step 1

Create a new composition

The first thing we are going to do is create a composition; this is the canvas you will create your animation on. To manually create a composition, you need to do the following.

Choose New Composition.

New composition window.

This will open the composition dialog box. The options on the basic tab will allow you to set up the preset,

width, height, aspect ratio, frames per second, start code and duration for your animated sequence.

With the dialog box open apply the following settings:

Preset: PAL D1 / DV

Width and height: 720 X 576

Aspect Ratio: D1/ DV PAL 1.09

Resolution: Full

Start Timecode:


Depending on your output, you may want to set up the first 4 settings at other standard settings, for example for Northern American broadcast media or for the Web.

So now our sequence will run for 30 seconds.

Step 2

Changing background color of the composition.

To change the background color you need to do the following:

Choose Background color.

This will open the color picker dialog box.

The color picker dialog box.

Click OK to choose a color for your background. With your cursor move around within the color space to pick a color, when you have chosen your color click ok to accept this.


Step 3

Creating text for the animation.

Using the text tool type out a word on the stage.

Choose the font and size using the character palette.

The character palette.

Step 4

Creating the path for the animation

With the text layer selected, select the pen tool draw a path for the text to follow.


Make sure that
Rotobezier check box in the tool palette, is selected, this allows you to draw a smooth path.


Twirl down the text option to reveal the path options.

Select Mask 1 for the path, this is the path you have just created. Now the text is automatically
linked to that path.

Step 5

Animating text the path

With the play back at the start of the time line, create a keyframe for the first margin property.

For this property set the stopwatch and drag the word to the beginning of the path by dragging the slider value for the first margin property.

Drag the play back head further down the timeline set a keyframe for the last margin property, drag the slider value for the for the first margin property so that the so the text moves to the end

of the path.


Move the play back head to the start of the animation and scrub through the timeline. You should now

see your animated text animating along a path.

I’ve added some extra graphics and text in addition to the animated text.

Hope you have found this tutorial useful.

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