Creating Text

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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!

 

Select Wide Grid or Thin Grid
Set Layout to 24 ribbons
Get a new screen
Launch the Text dialog box
Observe the default settings
Add a text action
Play the text action
Change the color of the text
Modify and play the text action
Change Rotation to 0 degrees and set Direction of Motion to left
Try different rotations and directions of motion
Rainbow
Rainbow start color
Change the start color
Try a different font and change the text
Discussion on fonts
Custom fonts
Discussion
What is a text mask?
Try some positive mask text
Apply a background effect
Understanding a positive text mask
It works with morphs too!
Move the morph to the foreground
Negative text masks
Discussion
Applying normal text to the background of a text mask
Summary

 

Select Wide Grid or Thin Grid

 

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.

 

Set Layout to 24 ribbons

 

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!

 

Get a new screen

 

Click on the toolbar button that has a piece of a paper on it.

 

Launch the Text dialog box

 

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.

 

Observe the default settings

 

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.

 

Add a text action

 

In the Text Action group, click on the "Add" button.

 

Play the text action

 

Click on the Play button.  You should see "ABCDEF" scroll like a marquee from the bottom to the top of the ribbons.

 

Change the color of the text

 

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.

 

Modify and play the text action

 

In the Text Action group, click on Modify, then play the text action again.  Red text will scroll from the bottom to the top.

 

Change Rotation to 0 degrees and set Direction of Motion to left

 

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.

 

Try different rotations and directions of motion

 

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.

 

Rainbow

 

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.

 

Rainbow start color

 

You can set the start color of the rainbow.  For this exercise, use the following settings:

 

Set Color to Rainbow
Leave Mask at Normal
Set Rotation to 90 Degrees
Set Direction of Motion to Center
Unselect Stop at Edge
Set Start time to 1.00 seconds and End time to 2.00 seconds

 

Click on Modify and play the text.  The rainbow text will be centered on the ribbons and will not move.

 

Change the start color

 

Set Start time to 2.00 seconds and End time to 3.00 seconds.
Set the start color to orange.
Click on Add.  You will now have two text actions.
Click on Play.

 

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!

 

Try a different font and change the text

 

Delete any text actions that you currently have.  You can do this by clicking on Delete until all text actions in the Text Action list box are gone.
In the Font list box, select "10-12x12 Bold - System".  The text will become larger.
In the Text field in the middle of the dialog box, change "ABCDEF" to "Merry Christmas!"
Set the start time to 1.00 seconds and the end time to 5.00 seconds.
Set Color to Rainbow.
Set Start Color to whatever color you want.
Set Rotation to 270 Degrees.
Set Direction of Motion to Down.
Unselect Stop at Edge.

 

Click on Add and play the text action.  "Merry Christmas!" will scroll from top to bottom in rainbow characters.

 

Discussion on fonts

 

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.

 

Custom fonts

 

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:

 

In the central area of the dialog box, select the radio button labeled "Font Character Entry".
In the font list, select "10-12x12 Bold - Custom".  It should be the second to last font in the list.  The Modify button in the Chars group will become enabled.
In the Char list, select the "!" character (the second character in the list.
The char cell width is 4; change this to 6 and click on the Modify button immediately below the Char list.  Note that the yellow line indicating the char cell width changed from 4 to 6.
The current "!" character is two pixels wide.  Redraw the pixels to make a fatter 4 pixel wide "!" character.
Click on the Char List Modify button again.
Now click on the Save button immediately below the Font list.  This saves your change to a file.
Click on the Text Action Entry radio button.
Type the word "Merry!" as the text.
In the font list, select "10-12x12 Bold - Custom".  You should see the new exclamation point that you customized.

 

Discussion

 

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.

 

What is a text mask?

 

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.

 

Try some positive mask text

 

Delete any text actions that you have by clicking on the Delete button until all text actions are gone from the list.
Set the start time to 1.00 seconds and the end time to 5.00 seconds.
Type the word "Merry" as the text.
Select font "10-12x12 Bold - System".
Set Color/Mask to Choose Color.
Set Color to red by setting red to 100, green to 0, and blue to 0.
Set Pos Mask.
Set Rotation to 270 Degrees.
Click on Add.
Play the text action.

 

The word "Merry" appears in red in the center of the ribbons.  Nothing special yet...

 

Apply a background effect

 

Click on Tools and select Scenes.
Set the start time to 2.00 seconds and the end time to 4.00 seconds.
Set the start and end colors to blue.
Set all the pixels in the pixel grid by pressing the Ctrl key and then clicking with the left mouse button on the pixel grid.  All the pixels in the pixel grid should be blue.
Click on Add.
Play the text action.

 

You should first see the red "Merry", and then at 2.00 seconds the background should become blue.

 

Understanding a positive text mask

 

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.

 

Select the blue bar in the time layers.
Locate the "Move Effects Down" button in the toolbar.  It is the fourth button from the right.
The "Move Effects Down" button changes the layer of the effect.  Click on it until the scene effect is below the mask.
Click on Play.

 

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.

 

It works with morphs too!

 

Click on the scene and delete it.
Click on the Tools menu and select Morphs.  The Morph dialog box will launch.
Set the start time to 2.00 seconds and the end time to 3.00 seconds.
Set the start and end colors to green.
Set the ramp time length to 0.50 seconds.
Set the ramp start color to green and leave the ramp end color as black.
Click on Add and then Paly.

 

The text should appear and then the morph will be applied to the background.  Text masks are cool!

 

Move the morph to the foreground

 

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.

 

Negative text masks

 

We started out using a positive text mask.  Let's try a negative text mask.

 

Leave the morph on the foreground side of the text mask.
Click on the red bar in the time layers; the Text dialog box appears.
Select "Neg Mask".  A message box appears recommending that you set the text color to white when using negative masks.  Answer "Yes" to the message box"; the text color will then be automatically set to white.
Click on the Modify button and then Play.  This time, you will see nothing until the morph gets applied to the text foreground.
Move the morph to the background side of the text mask, and play.  This time, you will see nothing until the morph is applied to the background.

 

Discussion

 

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.

 

Applying normal text to the background of a text mask

 

Move the morph to the foreground side of the mask.
Set the morph start time to 1.00 and the end time to 2.00.
Increase the ramp time to 3.00.
Click on Play.  You should see the morph applied to the foreground of the text mask.
Click on the white bar in the time layer area; the Text dialog box is launched.
Type "Christmas" for the text.
Leave Rotation at 270 degrees.
Click on Normal.
Set Direction of Motion to DownRt.
Set the color of the text to red.
Set the start time to 2.00 seconds and the end time to 5.00 seconds.
Click on Add.
The red bar in the time layers represents the normal text you just added.  Move it to the background side of the text mask.
Click on Play.

 

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".

 

Summary

 

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!