4 Replies Latest reply on Jun 5, 2014 11:01 AM by fredoviolawoodstock

    letters burning in

    fredoviolawoodstock Level 1

      Good day, folks


      I am doing an info graphic which actually uses more drawings than text, but I'm trying to be very creative with the few times text comes into play. 


      At one point I would like some text to burn into the page, but in a very particular way.  I did a few tests where I held a match to the opposite side of a page.  First you see the glow of the fire, then a warm discoloration of the page, which blooms into an almost mocha brown spreading circle, some billowing gray smoke and finally there are the shoots of red and black fire.  So I'd like very much for the text to transition in the same way, the actual letters being the black with perhaps a few shoots of flame.  I was planning on shooting the actual page lighting many times, trying to create the correct shapes to frame the words, holding off before the actual last stage of red and black.  Then I would animate on the letters.  To do this I'd find a suitable font, blow out the focus, comp that layer, add levels and crush the black and alpha so a hard edge is retained.  Playing with the white levels should make the text emerge in a similar blooming way.


      OK, so is this a good plan?  Any other ideas? 


      Many thanks, folks!


      - Fredo Viola

        • 1. Re: letters burning in
          Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          I'm a huge fan of doing this with practical effects as much as possible. It adds an organic, analog element to motion graphics that you really can't get any other way. You could fake this completely with AE, some clever Fractal Noise, blending modes, Roughen Edges, etc. But I like your idea better.

          • 2. Re: letters burning in
            bogiesan Level 4

            Oh, yeah, playing with matches!

            There are many different ways to treat the paper so your lettering either burns first or remains white (or less charred) than the surrounding paper. You might explore professionaly pyrotechnic and magician suppliers for chemicals that are used in paper effects. You can also get chemicals that will add smoke or color the smoke or color the flames.


            The opposite effect, leaving the letter, can be achieved with a simple fireproofing compound available in hardware stores. There are recipes available online for fireproofing paper.


            Long ago, we'd get questions about simulating burning paper in AE, often referred to as the Bonanza Effect. A couple of us here always recommended the fun and unpredictably funky results of lighting up real paper. These days you can shoot at 120fps with your GoPro or iPhone. Dark room, backlight the smoke. The last time I did this was about 20 years ago. I used an A/B flash paper solution from a magic shop and a brush to do the calligraphy. The result was an accelerated ignition of the painted letterforms. We shot at 48fps on 16mm film. It was very cool.

            • 3. Re: letters burning in
              Dave LaRonde Level 6

              Here's another vote for practical effects!  I've used it as a visual reinforcement for the line, "the hottest ticket in town".


              I suspended a piece of cardboard cut in the same aspect ratio as my ticket from its center in an all-black studio, soaked the edges in charcoal lighter fluid, lit it and shot it.  It was a simple matter to use the Add blend mode to incorporate the flames, and animate darkening and eroding edges.  It worked like a charm. 

              • 4. Re: letters burning in
                fredoviolawoodstock Level 1

                Thanks so much, guys!  Bogiesan, I hadn't even thought of that, what a great idea!  Dave, yeah, I did the burning effect before using that exact method and it does work quite well!


                Thanks again!