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After Effects 101: Text on a path

As a frequent flyer on several airlines, not only do I know the flight attendent’s lines by heart (if you are unable or unwilling to perform the actions possibly required of you….), but I see a lot of TV and airline commercials as well.  So, I’ve seen a few of the airlines use text and move it along curvy paths.  Along those lines, or paths as the case may be, I propose to give you another AE101 lesson.  So simple, it doesn’t require a PDF doc. If you want the instructions, read on!

First off open up After Effects and create a new project (or open the sample file I’ve included below) and create a new composition.

  1. Create a background or use one of the presets by going Animation>Browse Presets. Here I took the Green Crystals preset, removed the CC radial fast blur and added a Find Edges filter to give the look we have here.
  2. Take your text tool (the big T in your tool bar) and write your text.  While you’re at it, you might switch to the text workspace (pull down menu on the right side)
  3. Now with the text layer still selected, take the pen tool which is to the left of the text tool.  Once you’ve selected it, look to the right of it and make sure the rotobezier button is checked.
  4. Change the viewing size of your comp to 50% because you want to start your path off the screen itself.
  5. Starting off screen, put down some bezier points for your path which is also called a mask in After Effects.  This is the path that the text will travel on during our animation.  You can undo any point by ctrl-z.
  6. Now, go to the timeline and expand the text layer you’ve just created.  You should see Text, Mask and Transform.  Expand Text and you should see Source Text, Path Options and More Options.  Expand Path Options and under Path you should be able to change it from None to Mask 1.  Now your text should be on the path.
  7. If your text is upside down, turn on the Reverse Path option and it should fix it up.
  8. Go to the beginning of your timeline and click on the stop watch for the First Margin parameter which is under the Path options as well.
  9. Click and drag to the left of the screen until your text is completely off the composition.
  10. Take your CTI (your playhead or time indicator) and move it to the end of the composition.  Then move your First Margin to the right until the text has moved completely off the right side of the composition.  Tip – hold down the shift key as you’re doing this and it will go quicker.

That’s it!  All right, so ten instructions probably should have been in a PDF with some documents, but I hope you’ll cut me some slack!

Text on a Path project file


thanks for the tutorial .i used after effect almost in my career.but i dint get this feature yet.its helped me for new project which has lot of path animations

keep uploading

Thanks!! I look forward to using this in so many other projects.

Thanks for this tutorial, man. I use AE all the time but never this feature. For sure you helped me out a lot on a project with a tight deadline.

[DR – Very cool. Glad it helped you.]

goog Tutorial!!


thanks from France for this information, i had search it for weeks (hard to be a begginer)

[DR – I feel your pain leZone! I remember joining Adobe and trying to learn After Effects. I’m dealing with the same thing now with other Adobe products. Be sure to check out my Adobe TV class as well. It’s called Adobe Beginner Classes at http://tv.adobe.com/

thanks! that made things easy

Excellent tutorial most useful 🙂

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