Letters in Motion

A touchscreen app for animated text video creation (motion typography)


I like motion typography. Clarification: I like good motion typography. There’s something about the artistic animation of text that draws you in and pulls you along. It’s hard to ignore because you find yourself wanting to read it. That makes it a great technique for spicing up bland live action or CG-animated video, which, let’s face it, is the majority of the video out there these days.

However, I’ve never found a suitable animation toolset for motion typography production. The obvious list of choices do have basic support but lack good, efficient workflow and advanced features. That doesn’t make motion typography impossible, just annoyingly inefficient. Here are two examples of such videos I’ve created over the years with existing animation tools:

Example: The Informationist

I created a book trailer for Taylor Steven’s The Informationst as part of an example on how to use new media to market books. In this video I wanted to have a strong sense of 3D, not just depth but rotation and a sense of movement within an environment, so I used a combination of Adobe Illustrator, After Effects, and Autodesk Maya to put it together. It took a lot more work to create than it should have because I was up against tools not designed for the purpose.

Example: Uncertainty Matters

I created this video for a college physics course I taught where I was finding it difficult to get the students to understand and reliably use uncertainty and units. Students responded very well to the video, re-watching it many times throughout the course to reference the rules and practices. Something about the ease and accessibility of video made this a much more successful format than the usual suspects. For this production I used Adobe Illustrator and After Effects.

Letters in Motion

After years of frustration, I decided I wanted to build my own animation toolset specifically for motion typography. This new toolset would have an artistic workflow designed around text and allow artists push creative boundaries into higher-end computer graphics and visual effects.

This year, with a couple friends and colleagues, I took that leap and started a company that has result in Letters in Motion. We’ve just released the first version for iOS and Android (PC & Mac coming soon). With this early version we’ve focused almost exclusively on the basic workflow. It will serve as a solid foundation on which to launch our motion typography revolution.

I hope if you’re curious you’ll give it a try and let us know what you think: