Text Layer

This feature was requested for many years before finally appearing in release version 6. This feature allows the conversion of a caption into a layer. The result is a kind of hybrid layer that has the features of a regular layer and those of a caption. The text layer is created directly as a text layer or converted from a caption into a text layer.

  • Direct Create. If created directly (Slide Options, click on the “+” to add a layer, select Add Text Layer, or Right Click in the Layer’s window and select Add Text Layer), a popup window appears entitled, Add Text Layer. It contains a window into which you type the text that will appear on the text layer.
  • Create from Caption. If created from a caption, you would right click over the caption and select Convert to Layer. Upon being created as a text layer, it appears in the layers list. Additionally, two tabs appear for a text layer: Text Settings and Text Effects. These two tabs contain the same functions as the caption tabs Caption Settings and Effects. That is, they allow the same caption manipulations that are available to the text considered captions. Add features that are available to regular layers and you have a considerable amount of flexibility for the display of your text.
  • Linked Text Layers. Text layers that are linked change their text content when one of the linked text layer’s text is changed. A link is created when two or more layers have exactly the same text content and are saved in a slide style. The text link is active once the style has been applied to a slide. To remove the link, see Linked Text Layers.

Text layers place the text on a transparent layer that is has the aspect as the show. So, create the text layer in a 4:3 show and the text layer has a 4:3 aspect. Create it in a 16:9 show and the text layer has a 16:9 aspect. Open the 16:9 text layer in a 4:3 show and the text layer becomes a 4:3 aspect layer. However, the text itself is not changed. It remains the same font in any case. What really changes is the transparent background, not the text.

As a result of its implementation, the Text Layer has some interesting capabilities. For one thing, rotate center is easier to work with.. Since the text layer aspect is the same as that of the screen, it is possible to tilt or rotate the layer without changing its position. Then, move the text anywhere within the confines of the visible screen. The 3D-like distortion of the text is dependent upon the text’s position on the layer, not it’s actual position on the screen. It reduces the complexities of calculating a rotation center based on the layer’s. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t move the text layer around the screen and get the right tilt or rotate angle. It just means the calculations for the proper perspective are simpler. Note, however, that if you change the text layer’s size, then the calculations can become as involved as with normal layers.

Changing the layer’s zoom adjusts the text layer’s size. However, since this can also lead to aliasing or blurring of the caption’s edges. If you want to create a text zoom effect, you might have better results by changing the text size in the caption control tabs of Text Settings and/or Text Effects).

Once a caption has been converted to a text layer, your standard mouse controls no longer behave the same as they of for a normal caption. When a text layer is grabbed and moved, you’re grabbing the ‘bounding box’ so to speak (that is, the transparent region of the layer that the text rests upon). You aren’t really grabbing the text itself. The location of the text, relative to the screen is still the same as when it was a caption. The caption’s position is still referenced from layer center if the text alignment is set to center, to the text’s left edge if alignment is left aligned, and to the text’s right edge if right aligned. A text setting position of 0,0 puts the text’s alignment point at the screen’s left edge.

For most scenarios, you’ll want to keep the layer at its default position and zoom level, otherwise you run the risk of seeing the text get cut off at the edge of the bounding box during playback. This is what’s happening on slide 3, since the position changes have all been made on the Effects tab to the overall layer.

If you need to move the text, you’ll want to reset the pan values in the Effects tab, then change the position values in either the Text Settings or Text Effects tabs. Again though, this cannot be done with the mouse; you’ll need to enter in the appropriate numeric values.

The text layer has some significant problems through version 6 related to typefaces. With this release, ProShow can access typefaces other than truetype. However, when these other typefaces are used, resources grabbed during a text layer edit, are not released when editing the text layer is concluded. Re-editing or working with the text layer keeps grabbing resources. Then, once a certain threshold for the resource(s) being grabbed is reached, the program crashes.

© Copyright 20140525-1342 Dale Fenimore, All Rights Reserved

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