Words that say How to use a grid system responsive motion graphics development

How to use a Grid System for Responsive Motion Graphics Development

Problem Description

When a Text Layer is edited and additional lines are input, there is a possibility for the new lines to cut off at frame edges. This is a common issue when text is placed at either the top or bottom positions of the Video Frame.

There are also occasions when you want to dictate if the Text Boundary moves up or down when a text edit results in a change in the number of lines.

A download link to an Adobe After Effects Project File is provided here.


In Adobe After Effects, you can dictate whether the Boundary of a Text Layer moves up, down or centered both ways by strategically locking the Anchor Point.

When the Anchor Point’s location is locked to the top of the Text Layer, additional text lines will extend the Text Boundary downwards and the top of the Boundary does not move.

When the Anchor Point location is locked to the bottom of the Text Layer, additional lines of text will push the boundary upwards and the bottom of the boundary does not move.

And when the Anchor Point location of a Text Layer is locked to its y-center, additional text lines will move both the top and bottom boundaries in equal measure.

A positive externality of locking a Text Layer’s Anchor Point is the ability to switch between Paragraph Alignments without affecting position. This allows for additional creative options for layouts and designs when developing Responsive Motion Graphics Templates.

The Animated GIF below shows these behaviors. The yellow dot is a visual identifier for the Text Layer’s Anchor Point.

Animated GIF showing Dynamic Anchor Point and Seamless Switching Between Paragraph Alignments

Using the Grid System

We use Expressions (Javascript-based code) in Adobe After Effects to create a Dynamic Anchor Point for our Text Layer. When the Text Layer is in the top grid position, the Anchor Point is placed at the top of the Text Layer. When the Text Layer is at the bottom grid, the Anchor Point changes location, dynamically, and it is now placed at the bottom of the Text Layer.

When the Text Layer is placed in the center grid, a design decision has to be made – you will have to decide how you want the Text Layer’s boundary to shift; up, down or centered or even allow for a Drop Menu Selection for the user to choose.

Such a decision should depend on the design or Template Guide and this will depend on the expected lines of text to be input.

One of the fun and challenging exploits with developing Responsive Motion Graphics Solutions/Templates/Toolkits is combining Code, Motion Design, Graphics Design, Videos and occasionally audio to solve not one but multiple design considerations, use-cases at one go without compromise to aesthetics or motion design nuances.

In the realworld, the challenges are more exciting as you work with multiple Text Layers, Graphics, and Video.

More from Roland Kahlenberg

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Being able to develop Responsive and Adaptive features into your Motion Graphics Templates/Toolkits opens up a world of possibilities that will set you up really well for now and the future.

Not only does Responsive Motion Graphics allow you to create great-looking content but it will help you to transform your Content Supply Chain; set you up for the future, for your career and for your clients who are constantly demanding more, better and faster.

You’ll be able to deliver these only by adopting new ways of working, new ways of looking at old problems and with new solutions and a new way to look at problems with the tools and know-how.

BroadcastGEMS adaptive & responsive text tools – Gumroad Store

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