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Forums Adobe After Effects Expressions Find out position of individual characters in text layer

  • Find out position of individual characters in text layer

  • Tilman Commes

    January 9, 2021 at 4:18 pm

    Hi!
    I would like to enable the people who use my .aep to visually position two guide-layers on a text layer, to choose a text range to be highlighted.
    Therefore, I would have to inquire the position of individual letters and their index inside the text string. Is that possible? Or does anybody have an idea for a workaround?
    Thanks!

  • Andrei Popa

    January 12, 2021 at 8:19 am

    I don’t think what you want is possible. The best way I can think of to do that would be to put a point control or 2 sliders on the text, and those 2 values would be the start character index/end character index of the highlight part.

    If you want to make this graphically visible with guide layers, I think you could put 2 squares or something at the top of the composition and get the indexes based on those 2 layers x-position. Basically, like a volume bar, but to control those values. You can divide the x position by 10 or something like that to make it easier to control(kind of lowering the sensitivity).

    You can also add an expression like the following one to those 2 layers to make sure they stay fixed on the y axis.

    yVal = 100;//200 for the other one

    [value[0],yVal]

  • Filip Vandueren

    January 13, 2021 at 9:52 am

    Possible, but not in a very straightforward way.

    Is the textlayer always just 1 line, Or could it sometimes be multiple lines ? Is it a paragraph text or a box-text ?

    The actual highlighting is done with a text-animator ?

  • Filip Vandueren

    January 13, 2021 at 11:54 am
  • Tilman Commes

    January 13, 2021 at 12:04 pm

    Wow, thanks a lot Filip! I will take this project apart for educational purposes if I may!

    No, the text layer can have different numbers of lines, but it’s always paragraph text.

    And yes, the highlighting is going to work with text-animators at first. But I’m shure I can tweak your expression so it could also use a backdrop or anythig else! After all it does seem to return a position at some point.

    Again, thank you very much!

    Tilman

  • Filip Vandueren

    January 13, 2021 at 12:08 pm

    The only thing you have to look out with, if is the textanimators start changing position or scale of the highlighted characters.

  • Robert Müller

    January 14, 2021 at 2:24 pm

    Hi Filip, awesome expression set up you made there. Just out of curiosity, since I checked it out to learn a thing or two, I noticed that the expression sometimes does not work with certain fonts. I did not recognize a pattern, but the problem is always the same as that the coordinates pushed into the array are zero. As far as I understand the expression I did not find a reason for this, any idea why that is?

  • Filip Vandueren

    January 14, 2021 at 3:37 pm

    Maybe those fonts don’t have a pipe symbol, or a weirdly shaped one.

    Try disabling the expression selector of the “font height hack” animator, and then every character should be changed to a string like ||| | |||| | |

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