For a single word in a font composed of many dots, I want to create a simple 10-second animation in which each of the dots will fade-in and in a random order, to eventually compose the original word.

Here is a picture of the font:

enter image description here

What's the simplest way of doing that? Thanks!

Using AE 2018 CC.

  • Nothing, sadly. I have no idea how to approach this - I have zero experience with AE. I just have the word written in the desired font.
    – voronoi
    Mar 10 '18 at 19:14

AE supports per-letter keyframing, so you can dissolve each letter in from transparent to 100% opaque via keyframes - there's even a preset for the purpose of per-letter animation.

As to the per-dot part - I think you're looking at keyframing masks for the dots - so the first key of letter X in which that letter is 100% opaque you have all masks over the dots keyed to 100% mask, then you select a couple and key them to fade through to 100% transparent - and do the same manually across all dots in the letter - and you could make the mask this funky irregular shape which spans many dots in the letter matrix so you have fewer masks to draw (see image) and that's the simplest way I can think of absent some plug-in which does this.

In this quickie image, the red represents the mask shape you'd draw in AE, and then animate it ont he transparency channel via keyframing. enter image description here

  • Thanks! I'm trying to implement your suggestions, but when I try to select a letter, all dots are chosen collectively. How do I choose them selectively? (is there some kind of an "ungroup" function like in Illustrator?).
    – voronoi
    Mar 16 '18 at 16:15
  • @voronoi - the masking idea I illustrated for you was specifically to deal with this issue: AE will allow you per-letter effects / keys, but not sub-letter effects, hence my comment: "As to the per-dot part - I think you're looking at keyframing masks for the dots..." <br/> AFIK, Adobe AE will not allow you to break the letter forms up and manipulate them within AE. You COULD create the letter forms in Illustrator, and explode them there, bring them into AE as EPS or SVG, but I think that'd get very complex to animate - hence my funky-shaped mask idea to simplify this task. Mar 16 '18 at 17:59
  • Is there a step-by-step tutorial explaining how to do this? I really have zero experience with AE.
    – voronoi
    Mar 16 '18 at 21:40
  • @voronoi, I don't know. I use AE a middling amount now, though I used to use it pretty frequently, and will be again soon. I do know that in the AE help, there are a huge number of tutorial videos, and I'm betting there are ones specifically about keyframing created graphic elements, if not specifically masks. Look around this area: helpx.adobe.com/after-effects/how-to/… Mar 19 '18 at 15:30

Assuming all characters use the same grid, you could use square shape layers arranged in a grid of the same frequency. You would want to keyframe the color value from light to dark for all layers, then adjust the frame position of each layer individually to offset for the “fade in”. Nest all these squares in a comp, overlay that comp on each dotted character (the “distribute” tool might be helpful here”) and set them as track mattes to drive the character’s opacity.

The big advantage of this would be that you can time remap each comp (or otherwise adjust the nested key frames) to vary the fade effect using only a single comp instead of one for each character.

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