Text in PMVs by EpicDarkWizard12

Text is a cool thing that can add to your videos if you use it correctly. I basically used text a lot in Good Time in order to keep it flowing and give me a quick solution if I had no ideas to use for a scene. This quickly transformed into making it the focus of the video. It was a lot of fun to play around with.

Keep in mind that I used Adobe After Effects for this video, which is a great tool to use in general and especially when working with text. Some of this stuff can be replicated in Vegas, but if it can then its usually not nearly as easy to do.
The most important part of text is to make it look natural in the video. This idea has a lot of components to it.

First of all, you most likely want to concentrate on the main lines of the song, the chorus or important parts of the verses. Too much text is going to drown out your video (or turn it into a typography).

In terms of timing, the text needs to have some correlation to the beat of the song. An area to avoid with PMV making is having random items suddenly appear on the screen. Get creative with how you want the text to appear. It can fade in or jump up from below the rest of the video. In my Good Time video, if I had a scene of all text on the screen, I constantly alternated the direction that each word faced and where it
started moving from to keep variation. I also made sure to have the text become visible on the saying of the word in the song to avoid confusing the people watching.

In terms of the literal way that I animate text, it just comes down to the basic use of keyframes just like any effect or shape. I would have the text outside the area that is seen in the video, create a keyframe there, then move my time indicator to the time that I wanted the text to be in its final position, then moved the text to the position that I wanted it in that time. When I wanted the text to leave the screen I would animate it in the same way.

Of course, this method doesn’t just work on the position of the object(text), but on the way that it faces as well (x,y,z rotation/orientation), so its a great idea to have it swinging in as well.

There are a ton of possibilities you can do with text motion. One cool example is that I was able to draw a path with the pen tool and animate the text along that path by setting the texts motion to that path in the text property of the text layer in the timeline. That is how I was able to get the words to bounce along with Pinkie Pie at certain times or to circle around the sun and moon. This technique can be replicated to a certain extent in Vegas, but not unless you have a lot of experience.

Something else to go along with that. Wiggle expressions were important in my video. Basically, I put random movement on many of my words that were sitting on the screen to give the appearance of floating instead of just sitting there to make them more interesting. Generally its not too noticable, just a subtle thing. This was accomplished by using a wiggle expression. Its very hard to explain in writing, so if you are interested then definitely look up a tutorial on it. Basically, it gives whatever object you want random motion, based on the pixels of change and the number of times per second that you want that change to occur.
In other projects I’ve found it useful for things like clouds to give them a more natural appearance. Subtle text movements can be done in other programs, just not with the shortcut of expressions. Just manually place the keyframes and make small changes to give smooth motion.

Going along with that, having the text move onto the screen and stop at its intended location can be boring to watch. It can be very beneficial to have a small bounce, where the text goes slightly past its final location and comes back to it, to give it a more natural feel. This can be accomplished in any program through good keyframe usage. For After Effects users, I recommend checking out a free plugin called Duik that does a good job of it.


Another important idea of text is the color. Just about all of the text I used had a gradient overlay(layer>layer style>gradient). This creates a shading of two or more colors, making the text look better for my purposes. Sometimes it may be beneficial to have monocolored text, but I generally went with many colors to give it a more interesting feel. Its important that the colors that you choose go well with both the background and the theme of the video. If your text is overlaid on a sky scene, try making it blue and white as opposed to black and green.

Also beveling is a cool technique(layer>layer style>bevel), which gives the words a more 3D look. Its always worth experimenting with. Make sure that you’re always looking for the right font for the video too. That’s something that I feel like I didn’t do a nearly good enough job on in my video. I just used the same text for most of it.

Something that can really make your video standout is having the text look like its right in the scene with the characters. A great way to create this illusion is by putting the words behind something in the scene. This, of course, is done through masking.

For example, in Good Time, I had a scene where Applejack knocked over the pile of books in the library. I then brought the text scrolling in from the left side to the right, between Applejack and the pile of books in front (towards the camera/audience) of her. First I got my text moving how I wanted it too, on top of the whole scene, pile of books included.

Then, I duplicated the layer of background (the non-text layer)(ctrl D). Then, I used the pen tool to draw a line around the books that would be in front of the text. I then put the masked background layer on top of the text layer. Because I had created the mask, however, it did not cover up the whole text, just the part that was behind the pile of books at that given time. In that way, I was able to create the illusion that the text was inside the scene instead of just sitting on top of it, giving a feeling of depth.

That technique can be used with any scene in any situation, just keep in mind that putting text(or whatever object) behind a moving object is going to require you to mask every frame of the object that you want to have in front through its motion, which takes a bunch of time.