Working with text
For all the graphical sophistication of the Motion Titler, in many instances the primary reason for using titles is the text they contain. The titler therefore provides several specialized options to help you ensure that you can get your text looking exactly the way you want. The text operations we will look at below include:
· Editing the text
· Changing fonts, font sizes and styles
· Setting text justification and flow
· Copying and pasting text properties
As described elsewhere, when dragging a text layer you have to be careful to click at the edge of the control frame, rather than anywhere within it, to avoid accidentally putting the layer into text-edit mode. For the operations described here, however, text-edit mode is exactly what we want. In a newly-created text layer, text-edit mode is already enabled: you can begin to type immediately and the default text will be replaced.
To activate editing for an existing text layer, click anywhere inside the control frame. Text-edit mode becomes active and – to save you an often-required step – all existing text in the layer is automatically selected. As usual, selected text is indicated by highlighting.
A text layer with all text selected. From left to right, the text editing controls in the header bar above govern letter styling (bold, italic, underline); text alignment and text flow; and font name and size. In text-edit mode, the mouse pointer over the layer has the ‘I-beam’ shape as shown here.
To modify the text itself, simply start typing. The highlighted text disappears and the text you type takes its place. As you type, the current insertion point (the place in the text where new letters are inserted) is indicated by a vertical line.
If you want to add new text without losing what was already there, click at the desired insertion point after putting the layer in text-edit mode, or use the arrow keys to maneuver the insertion point as desired.
You can also highlight (and thus replace) only part of the text before typing: drag across the letters with the mouse, or hold down Shift while using the arrow keys. Lastly, if you want to select all the text in layer again, you can use the mouse or arrow keys as just described, or give the standard shortcut Ctrl+A.
As we have seen, the Motion Titler provides several text controls, most of them probably quite familiar to you from other applications. Those that apply to the highlighted text only are these:
· Font styling: To set or unset the bold, italic or underline properties of the selected text, use the toggle buttons in the header bar, or the standard keyboard shortcuts Ctrl+B, Ctrl+I and Ctrl+U. The buttons light up when their respective style options are active.
· Font name: Your motion titles are the perfect place to experiment with fancy display fonts, so you’ll likely be accessing this dropdown list quite often. If you have many fonts on your system, the list can be quite long. For ease of navigation, pressing the first letter of a font name will take you instantly to the corresponding alphabetical location in the list. Click the font you want, or move to the name using the up and down arrow keys and press Enter.
To select a font, open the dropdown list and click the one you want. The font is applied to the currently-highlighted text only.
· Font size: The Motion Titler provides several methods of setting the font size. You can enter a new value directly into the font-size edit field, or use the neighboring up and down arrow buttons to change the size in units of one point. Further to the right, the shrink font and enlarge font buttons change the size in intervals that widen as the font size increases.
As explained in The Looks section, the appearance of text and shape layers can be transformed by the application of looks from the Motion Titler Album. In a partially-highlighted text layer, applying a look affects only the highlighted text. In principle, each of individual character in your title could be given its own look.
With both text and shape layers, the Copy Style and Paste Style context menu items let you copy looks from one layer to another without having to open the Looks section of the Motion Titler Album.
With text, this operation also clones the font name, size and style from one text layer to another, and also works on partial selections within or between text layers.
For titles with multiple lines of text, the Motion Titler provides a standard menu of justification options. The default for new text layers is center justification (Align Center on the dropdown list), in which each separate line is horizontally centered in the available space. The additional options provide for Align Left, Align Right and Justify.
In paragraph-oriented text software, the incomplete final line of a paragraph is usually not stretched across the full width of the column. In the Motion Titler, where the graphical appearance of the text is paramount, even a final line with as few as two characters is spaced to the same width as the others.
To accommodate the various conventions of different languages with regard to the direction in which lines of text are written, and for maximum graphical design flexibility, the Motion Titler offers a menu of eight text flow options. These options, which work in concert with the justification options just discussed, affect not just the way the text is displayed but also the meaning of standard keys like Home and End.