The Beast

Saturday, April 21st, 2012 | Blog, Downloads

Here’s a demo of my livefont — FUTURA ANIMATED. You can’t go wrong with a bit of Johnny Cash.


Many things have changed since I had originally attempted a motion font. LiveType and Apple’s Motion are both, basically, dead. But in their place a whole new batch of animated type developments have occurred. The term “animography” has been coined, and a new marketplace and gallery of original motion font files are working in After Effects. The beginning work of my small expression has been expanded into the far more robust and useful “Characteristic”, found at aescripts + aeplugins. This script for AE recreates much of LiveType’s functionality. The author of “Characteristic”, was kind enough to send me a demo version of his script, and I have updated FUTURA ANIMATED to be compliant and is ready for you to download and create all the animography you please.

Download the “Characteristic” ready AE file in the Open Source Demo Reel (CS6)


Designing the animations of each glyph so they referenced and respected the principles of Futura was great fun. This was initially created for a corporate video job at Cobra Creative- when all of the titles were laid out, we struck upon the idea of animating each letter in AE and then typing with the animated movies assigned to the glyphs. This proved a bit more difficult then I initially assumed- after some research, it seemed as though Apple’s Motion could use “LiveFonts” but you had to create them in LiveType. So, I installed Livetype, and it creates livefonts with an XML-like format and quicktime references. If you want to use FUTURA ANIMATED, here’s the livefont. It loads in both Motion and LiveType.

Download the livefont for LiveType/Motion.

For the real job, I just placed precomps in AE.

Bran Dougherty-Johnson asked how to get it working in AE, so we whipped up (with the super crazy support of Kevin, our developer) something that pretty closely matches the functionality of LiveType in AE. The alphabet is laid out on a timeline, then precomped. The precomp is time remapped and then the remap values are driven by the charAt values of a type layer… So, type in what you want in the type driver layer, dupe the precomps, and it should map accordingly, although you have to manually do the kerning adjustments. There is a slider to control time offset and some variables for individual animation duration for holds and outros- all handy if you want to sub in your own glyph animations!

Download the (old) After Effects version.

Thanks to Cobra Creative for letting me mess around with this stuff for a few days instead of dragging and dropping an AE type preset on the titles. High fives to Ryan and Jake for finishing up some of the glyphs.