By Marcus Geduld

After Effects has such a powerful built-in text engine, what more could an animator need? Noise Industries ( has answered that question by taking a close look at existing features and augmenting them with their Motype 1.2 plug-in (US$99).

I find myself using it most often for random characters; you know, that technobabble stuff clients always want scattered around the screen, making all compositions look like consoles from the Starship Enterprise. I can create this effect using the After Effects text engine alone, but Motype gives me many more options. For instance, I can specify a specific pool of random characters from which the randomizer can choose; limit the randomization to uppercase (or lowercase) only; or choose just letter, just number, or just symbols.

Motype allows me to quickly set up text fly-ons, fade-ups, descrambles, etc. without mucking about with keyframes. As text moves, it can leave behind an echoey trail or even spit out custom particles. The effect has built-in motion blur, 3D-camera movement, and interesting background patterns that can sit behind the text.

My one gripe about Motype is that it’s an island unto itself, rather than being fully integrated into the After Effects existing text engine. As such, although it has built-in 3D capabilities, it doesn’t interact with the native 3D engine in After Effects. Nor can you move its text along on After Effects paths. This means that when planning a text effect, you must decide if you’re going to achieve it with the After Effects engine or with Motype — it’s tough to combine the two.

Rating: 8 out of 10

(This review is brought to you courtesy of “Layers Magazine”: ).