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Calligraphy style writing is done by using mask paths. These can be referenced in effects like Stroke and have animated Start/ End parameters to reveal them. A similar approach is possible by using shape layer paths, strokes and the Trim Paths modifier. Anotehr method would be to use effects like Write-On, where you can animate the position of the pen, either directly or by copy&pasting and existing path into the respective roperty slot. And of course you can use AE's paint tools in just the same manner as you would in Flash, but at the cost of being a lot less flexible. Also note, that you may not always be able to get the drawing directly on the target layer, but rather use the strokes and brushes as mattes on your other layer.
I wanted to ask where the Trim Paths operation can be found. I tried following the Help Doc's but couldn't seem to find an Add attribute under my Path that I drew to get the Trim Paths. I even tried adding a new mask but the drop-down says Add (Channel blending) not Add (animation attribute).
Mylenium, let me see if I understand. I used Stroke effect and was able to reveal text in a random order (because my paths were randomly generated--I guess I could change the order of each path-mask in the timeline layers to have it reveal in order). I also learned how to use Trim Paths properly which I suppose is the same or similar to the Stroke effect method (although I didn't quite learn how to apply a shape layer to a mask to reveal what is underneath the mask). That brings me to the point, how would I use a paint stroke or the paint brush to replicate what is possible in Flash? It seems that with the brush I can control exactly how thick or thin the cover-up will be at various points throughout the cursive text--remember that the text has varying stroke widths, so a standard Stroke effect would have to be uniformly thick as the thickest part of the text to work, but this will smudge up other parts of the text once parts of it are revealed--it will be evident that there is a paint-brush covering part of the text as opposed to the illusion of the text being written. [In 3D apps you can apply a trim effect to a NURBS surface--so your text can be NURBS or a.k.a. b-spline surface and it will be un-trimmed as the text is revealed. If done properly you can apply this technique to actual 3D text as well as flat text].
P.S. Happy New Year!! 2010.
You can set the brush options to operate on Alpha only. This will avoid any color issues. For everything else you set the stroke duration to what you need, Single Frame in your case most likely. Sometimes you may also be able to use the Write-on mode. In any case you can trim those durations later in the timeline as well and change otehr things. You can even copy&paste brush stroke paths as you would masks...
I add this to all such posts:
If you want realism, you must add several additional layers of masks for all pen-raises such as the dots over certain letters and the crossbars on others.
Know also that handwriting is not linear. Strokes vary in speed and there is a pause between one word and the next.