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Activity Forums Adobe After Effects Expressions Change font color of text that is between brackets (Inline color)

  • Change font color of text that is between brackets (Inline color)

    Posted by Maeve Tan on January 9, 2023 at 12:35 pm

    I have some dynamic elements I’m trying to get to work. I would like to change the font color of a word in a sentence that is between brackets. Also, the word between brackets should be the only one that changes color by a hex code. The hex code is provided by the user. So the text and text color would all be dynamic.

    e.g input text is: Hello [Friend]

    The word “friend” should then be in another color, which would be a color provided in a hex code.

    In my project, I have 3 text layers: 2 input layers which are for the text and the hex code, and 1 output layer, which will display the final result.

    At the moment I could only figure out, grabbing the input text to display in the Output layer, and the coloring.

    var inputText = thisComp.layer("Input Text").text.sourceText;

    This is on the Output layer, to which I added a Fill effect. The expression is on the Color property from the Fill:

    var myColor = thisComp.layer("Input Color:").text.sourceText;
    var rgb = hexToRgb(myColor);

    So right now the text would be displayed as: Hello [Friend]
    But what I would like is to have it display as: Hello Friend
    And the word “friend” would be in the color of the hex code that the user will input

    I hope my question is clear enough, and thanks in advance for your help!

    TIneke Van Schalkwyk replied 1 year, 2 months ago 3 Members · 6 Replies
  • 6 Replies
  • Dan Ebberts

    January 9, 2023 at 6:37 pm

    <div>On your output layer, add this expression for Source Text:</div>

    txt = thisComp.layer("Input Text").text.sourceText;
    if (time < 0)

    Add a Fill Color Animator, add an Expression Selector, delete the Range Selector, set the Expression Selector’s “Based On” parameter to “Words”, and apply this expression for Amount:

    txt = text.sourceText.valueAtTime(-1);
    idx = textIndex - 1;
    txt.split(" ")[idx].indexOf("[") > -1 ? 100 : 0

    Add this expression to the Fill Color:

    hexToRgb(thisComp.layer("Input Color:").text.sourceText.value)

    Note this this will remove all square brackets from the text, but only requires that a word start with [ to get the fill color applied. You could require both [ and ] brackets, but that would be a little more complex.

  • Maeve Tan

    January 10, 2023 at 9:06 am

    Hi Dan, thank you so much! This works 🙂
    Can you explain a little bit more about what each expression does? (except for the hexToRgb, this one I understood what it does)

    TIA! 🙂

  • Dan Ebberts

    January 10, 2023 at 1:39 pm

    <div>In getting ready to write up a little explanation for the expressions, I realized that I made them way more complicated than they needed to be. The first one could be simplified to this:</div>

    txt = thisComp.layer("Input Text").text.sourceText;

    which just grabs the input text and applies a Regular Expression to remove the bracket characters.

    The second one could be simplified to this:

    txt = thisComp.layer("Input Text").text.sourceText;
    idx = textIndex - 1;
    txt.split(" ")[idx].indexOf("[") == 0 ? 100 : 0

    which just checks each word of the input text to see if it starts with “[” and if so, applies the fill color.

  • Maeve Tan

    January 10, 2023 at 2:05 pm

    Thank you, Dan! I did notice the first one could be simplified to what you have now. Just didn’t know what

    if (time < 0)


    Thanks for the explanation and help!

  • Dan Ebberts

    January 10, 2023 at 2:35 pm

    Normally you would use the negative time trick to have a property make its pre-expression value available to other properties where they could use valueAtTime() with a negative number. However, in this case that wasn’t necessary because the pre-expression value is still available from the Input Text layer, so it was an unnecessary extra level of complexity.

  • TIneke Van Schalkwyk

    February 3, 2023 at 3:33 am

    Very helpful!

    It works great on my test text layers but when I apply it to one that has key frames (for captions) it has an error.
    Any ideas?

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