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HFX object convert to text

HFX object convert to text By Loosecannon - Last updated on Saturday, October 31, 2009
14105 Views :: 4 Comments :: Article Rating (Total Votes: 13)
Category: Hollywood FX Tutorials / Examples  -  Previous tutorials
Published on Saturday, October 31, 2009
Created on Sunday, August 30, 2009 12:47 PM

Sometimes you will see a transition in Hollywood FX that you really like but you would like to change the text.
Before beginning this tutoriel, you can read or read again our tutoriels:

Only HFX won’t let you change the text.
The reason for that is that the “text” is not really text after all. It is in fact an object that looks like text and therefore the individual letters cannot be changed. It would be the same, for example, as having a picture of a coffee cup and saying you want to change it to the words “Coffee Cup”.
This tutorial will explain the steps needed to remove the object(s) and replace it with text that is editable. You will then be able to save it as a new transition so you can use it in future projects.

Step 1 - SET-UP

Open Studio and place your two pictures on the timeline.
Then open the transitions and scroll down to HFX VOLUME 1, Weddings.
Choose the effect titled BAS – Wedding Text by dragging it to the timeline between the pictures (1). Set the length to about 4 seconds to give the transition time to play properly. The transition is inserted between two images
Double‐click the transition then click on the Edit button (2).We are now in the HFX editor and we can proceed to change this transition. The "Edit" button allows change


Before removing the object you want to save the envelope for that object. The envelope is how HFX describes the movement of the object across the screen and how it rotates around its axes. In other applications it may be called the flight path but in either case it is a series of keyframes describing when and how much the object moves over a given time. By copying the existing envelope it saves you the time and effort of creating a new envelope.

Press the Show/Hide Album button (1) to reveal the Envelope Editor. The "Show / Hide Album" button
Click on Wedday Text in the FX Tree folder (2). The tree of objects in HFX

Click inside any of the windows of the Position parameter and you will see the keyframes appear.
The properties window "position"
The Save Envelope button (3) will also go from grayed out to highlight.Press the Save Envelope button. Save the envelope with a name that will be easy to recognize. We will use Wedding Day.env for this tutorial. The "Save Envelope" button

Now you can remove the Wedding Day objects.

Go to the FX Tree window on the lower left side of the screen and hover your mouse over the Wedday Text.
Right‐click and select Delete from the context menu. Do the same for Wedday Streamer. We have now completely removed both objects and all that remains are the two pictures. Deleting an object in the tree FX

Now we are ready to add the new editable text.

Close the Envelope Editor window by clicking on the Show/Hide Album button.

In the Album Folder Tree window, scroll down to the 3D Text folder. If the folder is not expanded open, click on the plus sign on the left to expand the folder tree, and then click on Presets. The choice of a preset object

You will see a number of choices. For this tutorial I am using Blue‐Comic because it is similar to the original text. However, you can choose any of the styles to suit your project.

We want to have this text be a child of the parent* object just as the original object was a child of the parent object.

To do this it is necessary to press and hold the CTRL key while you drag and drop the text preset underneath the parent. You will see a green line under Parent as you drag the preset into the FX tree window. This indicates you are in the correct position and can release the mouse button. Insertion of a child object

NOTE: You may also see a green line under Flat 2 indicating it could become a child of Flat 2. We do not want this to be a child of Flat 2, so don't place the preset in this position.
* If you’re not sure how child and parent objects work, here is a good example. Imagine a merry‐go‐round that doesn’t have any animals, benches, or seats yet and it is spinning around. That is the parent. Now let’s add some horses, camels, and zebras. These are the children of the parent. They follow around as the merry‐go‐round rotates. We can also have the animals move up and down. They are still the child of the parent but they can also have their own motion or flight path. Setting up parent/child relationships can simplify the process of having many objects move in relation to each other. That is what is happening in this transition and the reason why we want to preserve the original envelope.


At this point we can add back the copy of the envelope that we saved in an earlier step.

Click on the Show/Hide Album button (1) to show the Envelope editor once again. The "Show / Hide Album" button
Click on Funny (2) in the FX Folder window and in the Properties window Object "Funny" in the FX tree
click inside one of the windows for the position parameter (3). The properties window "position"
You will then see that the Load Envelope button (4) has been highlighted. The "Load Envelope" button
Click on the button and a window will open to the location where you saved the envelope.
Select the envelope file and press the Open button to return to the Envelope Editor where you will see your envelope.
If you move the scrubber back and forth the new text will follow the same path as the old object. So far so good!

Now click on Blue‐Comic in the FX Folder window. In the Properties window there’s a box titled Text 3D. The default settings shown are the word “Funny” and the font is Comic Sans MS‐96.
Highlight the word Funny and then type in your new text. In this tutorial we are changing it to Wedding Cake. The text is too large and I want to change the font
so the next step is to click on the folder (1) to edit the font. The properties window "Text3D"
Choice of font
In the font window, scroll to Arial. For the font style select Bold. For the font size I have selected 24. After you have made the changes click OK to exit back to the HFX editor. If you move the scrubber along the timeline you can see that the text specs have been changed. However, they are still the default colors of the original preset which is a blue face and blue sides.

For this tutorial I would like to change those colors. Perhaps use a yellow face like the original and make the sides green. Below Blue‐Comic you see face, back, side and bevel. When you click on face a window for Basic Attributes appears in the Properties Panel.

Clicking on the blue button, Base Color, will bring up the color picker. The setting of "face"
The color picker
Select yellow and click OK to return to the editor.
For this, and the remaining parameters, leave the Shine Color and Luminosity at their default settings.
The next choice is back. We don’t really see the back in this transition but let’s change it to match the face since the bevel on the back may show.
Click on the Base Color button and choose yellow from the color picker.
Click OK to return to the editor. Next is side.
Clicking the blue button brings up the color picker again.
Select green and click OK to return to the editor.
The last choice is bevel. The default blue color doesn’t look so good with the yellow face and green sides so let’s change the color to a darker shade of yellow.
Click on the blue box to bring up the color picker.
Select yellow from the color swatches. The RGB values shown are 255 255 0. Grab the arrow and drag it down so it reads 128 128 0. You can also type in the numbers if you choose. Click OK to go back to the editor.

This completes the process of removing the Wedding Day object and replacing it with editable text. You may want to save this as a new transition so you have it available for future projects. I would suggest saving it in the 00 ‐ Declic Video folder. If you create any other new transitions I would keep them there too so if you ever have to re‐install HFX it reduces the chances of your work being deleted. To save the new transition select File/Save As and give it a new name such as Wedding Cake.


The original transition had a streamer, or motion trail, behind the object to give it a sense of fast motion. That was also an object and was made specifically for the original “text” of Wedding Day. For this tutorial I decided not to add a trail but to leave the transition as it looks now. It would be possible to add a simulated motion trail but the process would be beyond the scope of what this tutorial is trying to teach.


If you plan to save this as a new transition you may want to change the names of the new text preset. For example, Wedday Text is no longer valid.

Move the mouse over the text, right‐click, and choose Rename from the context menu.
You can do the same for Blue‐Comic and give it a name that’s more meaningful. The bevel on the text may be too large or too small once it has been re‐sized.
Click on Blue‐Comic (1) Preset text "Blue-Comic"
and the Extrusion box (2) will appear in the Properties Panel. Extrusion will increase the depth of the text. The default setting is 50 and it can be adjusted from 0 to 200. The properties window "Extrusion"
This would create an effect similar to the motion trail except you can’t change the transparency on the extrusion without changing it for the rest of the text.
Inset changes the bevel along the face of the text. The default setting is 5 and it can be adjusted from 0 to 20. Shift changes the bevel along the extrusion depth of the text. Its default setting is 5 and is also adjustable from 0 to 20. Setting Inset or Shift to 0 will create a square corner.

One last challenge if you choose to accept it. In this tutorial we created the text on a single line but the original transition had “Wedding” and “Day” on two lines. In order to have Wedding Cake on two lines you must take some extra steps and you need to have a good understanding of the parent/child concept. If you’re ready here’s how:

The first change we want to make is to change the text from Wedding Day to just Wedding.
Then we are going to add another copy of the “Funny” text preset. This next part is very important; the text preset will be added as a child of the Wedding text, not Parent or Flat 2. By doing it this way it will follow everything that Wedding does without having to add another envelope. Note: The scrubber should be set at 0 seconds when you do this.
Once that is done, change the text, font, font style, and font size to match the settings for Wedding.
Click on Funny in the Tree FX panel (or Cake if you changed the name). Move the scrubber to about the middle of the timeline. You will see that the word Cake overlaps the word Wedding. Selection of the second preset object
Now click on the Move button in the upper right hand corner. Your mouse pointer changes to a four‐pointed cross. Button "Move"
Move the word Cake below Wedding until the line spacing is to your liking The final result ... almost

This completes the tutorial. I hope you can find many uses for it.

Share/Save this article

Gert Reitner By # Gert Reitner @ Sunday, November 1, 2009 7:42 AM
Very nicely done and good to have ! Thanks for the Effort and Detail !!

Steven By # Steven @ Tuesday, November 24, 2009 10:38 PM
Excellent tutorial! I have been looking for years for a manual or website for HFX Pro ... and I have finally found it. Brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant!

Déclic Vidéo FX By # Déclic Vidéo FX @ Friday, December 18, 2009 1:21 PM
Thanks Steven, that's a pleasure. Hope you also had a look to other tutorials as well. Do not hesitate to promote our tutorials ! And do not hesitate tosubscribe to our free newsletter...

PS: Sorry for answering so late, I probably get lost somewhere...

John By # John @ Saturday, February 12, 2011 3:48 PM
Ah ha, saving the envelope, then delete object. Masterly done DV.

Bravo, viva!

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