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In the Light-O-Rama SuperStar Sequencer, text can be stationary or can move in any direction. At the end of the movement, the text can be stopped and displayed stationary for a specified period of time. Different size fonts can be used, and you can choose the text color or let the text be rainbow colored. Text can be treated as a positive mask or a negative mask. Let's get started!
At the right end of the toolbar are three buttons that control how the ribbons are laid out. The text will be harder to read if you have "Star Rays" selected. Select "Wide Grid" or "Thin Grid" and the text will be easier to read.
Click on the Tools menu and select Layout. In the layout dialog box, set the Number of Ribbons to 24. We may not actually have 24 ribbons, but for the sake of this exercise, let's pretend we do!
Click on the toolbar button that has a piece of a paper on it.
Click on the Tools menu and select "Text". The Text Setup dialog box will launch. Whenever the Text Setup dialog box is launched, "Text" mode is automatically selected and the toolbar button with "ABC" on it will be depressed.
By default, the color is white, font is "8-8x8 Thin - System", time duration is 1.00 - 5.00 seconds, text is "ABCDEF", text mode is Normal, rotation is 90 degrees, direction of motion is Up, and Stop at Edge is unselected.
In the Text Action group, click on the "Add" button.
Click on the Play button. You should see "ABCDEF" scroll like a marquee from the bottom to the top of the ribbons.
Currently, the text is white. Leave the red color control at 100, but change the green and blue color controls both to 0. The text preview will now be red.
In the Text Action group, click on Modify, then play the text action again. Red text will scroll from the bottom to the top.
Set Rotation to 0 degrees and set Direction of Motion to Left. Click on Modify, and play the text action. Red text will scroll from right to left across the ribbons.
You can mix and match the rotation and direction of motion. Try some different combinations. Remember to always click on Modify and then to click on Play to see the results of your new settings. Also, try "Stop at Edge" to see what it does.
In the Color/Mask group, select Rainbow. Each character of the text now becomes a different color. Click on Modify, and play the text action with rainbow colors.
You can set the start color of the rainbow. For this exercise, use the following settings:
Click on Modify and play the text. The rainbow text will be centered on the ribbons and will not move.
The rainbow colors will display with red as the start color from 1.00 to 2.00 seconds, and then the text will display with orange as the start color from 2.00 to 3.00 seconds.
By continuing to add text actions one after another with different start colors, you can make the colors move across the characters!
Click on Add and play the text action. "Merry Christmas!" will scroll from top to bottom in rainbow characters.
We just used the font "10-12x12 Bold - System". The first number in the name is the pixel height of a capital letter. The second and third numbers are the character cell width and height. In this font there are two pixels reserved for the lower case descenders (for example, the bottom tail of a "y"). This is why the height of the character cell, 12, is greater than the height of a capital letter, 10.
Note that in the smaller fonts, the cell height is the same as the capital letter height. This is because there are not enough pixels to reserve room for lower case descenders. In those fonts, the tail of a "y" does not go below the bas line.
As mentioned, the second number is the font character cell width, but realize that this is an average width. The width of any individual character may be different.
In the font list, there are five system fonts and five custom fonts. The custom fonts are shipped identical to the system fonts. The only difference is that system fonts are not allowed to be modified, while the custom fonts are. If you wish to tweak some of the characters in a font, you can do so in any of the custom fonts. For example, let's say we want to make the exclamation point bigger in the "10-12x12 Bold - Custom" font. To do this, do the following:
You now know how to control many features of a text action. You can move the text, have it stand still, rotate the text, change its color, change the font, and even customize the characters within a font. But there is more.
In the Color/Mask group, there are three radio buttons, labeled "Normal", "Pos Mask", and "Neg Mask". So far we have done everything with the "Normal" setting. Normal means that there is no mask applied, and the text will behave normally. "Pos Mask" and "Neg Mask" are advanced features that allow you to apply any effect to the background and/or foreground of text.
The word "Merry" appears in red in the center of the ribbons. Nothing special yet...
You should first see the red "Merry", and then at 2.00 seconds the background should become blue.
In the time layer area, there should be a red bar going from 1.00 seconds to 5.00 seconds. This bar is the Text mask. Click on this bar and the Text dialog should launch.
There is a box in the lower right area of the dialog box labeled "Mask Diagram". As the diagram shows, the effects above a text mask appear in the background, and the effects below a text mask appear in the foreground. So, let's try moving the scene from the background to the foreground.
This time the scene gets applied to the foreground and the text becomes purple from 2.00 to 4.00 seconds. Note: If the scene fails to get applied to the foreground, make sure the Positive Text Mask color is set to pure red - i.e. set red to 100, green to 0, and blue to 0.
The text should appear and then the morph will be applied to the background. Text masks are cool!
Click on the green bar in the time layers and move it to the other side of the mask. Click on Play.
This time the morph gets applied to the foreground of the text. Note: If the morph fails to get applied to the foreground, make sure the Positive Text Mask color is set to pure red - i.e. set red to 100, green to 0, and blue to 0.
We started out using a positive text mask. Let's try a negative text mask.
The weird thing about negative masks is that they are invisible until other effects are applied to their foreground and/or background. This seems weird at first, but it is the key to their power. You can apply multiple effects on either side of the mask. You can even apply image actions and normal text to the background or foreground. But you cannot apply a mask to a mask.
The morph should play across the word "Merry", and "Christmas" should move across the background.
This same sequence is stored as a sample file named "TextMaskMerryChristmas.sup".
Text masks take some time to learn, but are well worth the effort. With all the other effects, the time layers were just a way to view the effects. With text masks, the layers have a new meaning. This tutorial explored only a few of the variety of text effects that are now possible. Cosmic Color Ribbons have been taken to a whole new level!