After Effects has a powerful text animation engine that you could use for this.
Alternatively, you could use a particle system that comes with AE (or a third party solution like Particular) to make a particle system that does this. I seem to recall a tutorial from a long time ago for using Particle Playground for this.
How experienced with AE are you?
Thanks for getting back. No I'm not an experienced user. Not a complete beginner but a beginner just the same. This afternoon I did render the layer as a mov file to make it an alpha layer in order to see the layers behind it. So it's no longer text but rendered text, so a MOV file. Will Particle Playground still work for that? I'll check it out.
Anything you make in AE that has transparency can be rendered out with transparancy as you have done. Particle Playground is no exception. Try doing a Google search for tutorials that'll fit what you need.
However, if you haven't gone through some quality basic training in AE, I would highly recommend starting here.
Thank you for your reply both here and on Creative Cow. Also thank you for your recommendation for starting with the basic training and providing the link, though I'm actually well beyond that point. In fact what I am trying to accomplish with this post as well as the similiar post over on Creative Cow, is to cast a wide net where someone might have a solution to this problem.
I think you misunderstood, I had preciously rendered out the text layer with transparency. Therefore the layer in question was now a rendered MOV file that was transparent. So that was never an issue.
The question was what effect could I use to make the text which is moving, break apart and at the same time fall like leaves hitting the floor and piling up a little. The text in question is all one color on a transparent background. The text is moving and the opacity changes from the beginning of the clip to its end.
Particle Playground does not really provide for moving the rendered graphics so that it falls like leaves. More like particles echoing themselves in a way that you can organize and control their shape.
I've heard that Red Giants Trapcode Particular might be a correct solution.
Would appreciate any ideas and again thank you for your help.
I tend to look at assignments like this from the persepctive of AEv2. or 3+, long before there was 3D. To make text fall like leaves I would create each glyph as a separate layer, use CC Sphere or Cylinder on each, and apply some seemingly random keyframes that simulate leaves tumbling and falling. But having them build up on a floor requires 3D layering and, as you may know,CC Sphere is only 3D distortion projected onto a 2D layer.
The advanced text animators can be used to simulate your falling leaves. You could also use Card Dance if your text is equally spaced. But thes won't give you a true 3D illusion of layers piling up nor will they give you the warping and fluttering of leaves.
Try visiting the various AE tutorial sites and searching youtube/vimeo for hep on the advanced and 3D text animators.
Good luck, could be a fun exercise. Come back and tell us how you solved this.