Hey you wanna replace the most annoying sound in the world with type?

One of the most popular GIF types out there is the laying down of type over a character speaking in a short animation. Think of it as basically subtitling a piece of video and removing the audio. For the most part this is done exactly the same way subtitles are done. The text of the speaker uses a simple font like Impact in white or yellow. It’s outlined in black and the text is visible while the speaker says the words that are written. Not too weird:

But a next step is to consider timing the revealing of words to match the delivery of the speaker.


And finally as you see in the top gif you can start to work with additional animation elements which can include moving text across the screen, motion tracking, rotoscoping, and more. As well you can start to substitute the original dialogue with your own, to basically write jokes.

The above GIF was made for the subreddit community High Quality GIFs. A lot of the dialogue is replaced with a story which is often about the communities in reddit, how they interact, as well as the process of making GIFs themselves. There are a lot really accomplished motion graphic artists playing with the text for voice in GIF format meme.

The Assignment

I want you to start with the basics of placing text over a piece of video in subtitle form using After Effects. Pick a particular moment in a film or video to use, but the video must be of at least 720p or 1080p (HD quality). Just like in our poster project, we need to start with high resolution assets in order to be able to take advantage of more interesting animation tools.

Here’s my video to get started with importing a video and placing/editing text in your video.

Next you can move onto animating text in After Effects by watching this tutorial.

And if you want to go down a different rabbit hole, consider watching kinetic type videos.




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