Is there a tool for creating VF animated images?

Igor PetrovicIgor Petrovic Posts: 248
edited January 3 in Resources
From time to time I see animated images in type specimens presenting VF. I guess this is usually done in Adobe AE, but I was wondering is there a simple tool where I can load my VF, type a word, set animation parameters and download it as a GIF?

For example, Fontgauntlet by Dinamo has a pretty good base for this, with all parameters, animation types etc. I hope it wouldn't be much work from there to enable GIF download...


  • Yves MichelYves Michel Posts: 124
    I'm afraid the link you provide is not the good one.
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,366
    Of those, Drawbot is much easier described as "a simple tool" (from my impressions anyway). 
  • jeremy tribbyjeremy tribby Posts: 187
    edited January 4
    There is a Coldtype plugin for Blender called st2 that is really cool, and hopefully less complex for some than Coldtype itself, which is pretty idiomatic in some areas and sparse in others. still, it's great if you've got a programming background / are OK running ffmepg to build the videos and so on
    The only VF plugin I know of for AE (VF not natively support) isn't great - I would surprised if much or any VF animations are made with AE these days. opportunity area for Adobe....

  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,356
    edited January 4
    While Adobe AE doesn't support variable yet, there's a plug-in called Varifont that sort-of does the trick. I found some other tools, but they were Mac only. As far as I know, that's the only way to get the job done on Windows. There's a kerning bug which causes it to only use the kerning from one master, so you may have to choose test phrases selectively. I don't know if there are any standalone Windows tools that generate animated GIFs from variable fonts.
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 688
    edited January 4
    ColdType runs on Windows just fine.
  • Wouldn't it be easiest to just take a screen capture from Font Gauntlet and convert that to gif? 
  • Cory MaylettCory Maylett Posts: 245
    edited January 4
    Animation for what purpose? A website?

    If so, a more effective way to animate the type is actually to animate the live VF fonts themselves. Of course, there are some technical challenges if you're not a coder, but I've occasionally run into pre-built code on GitHub. For example, I've coded this live animation into my website (scroll down the page to see it):
  • There is also vartype from Space Type for prebaked animations
  • Thanks for all the answers!

    Though there is no simple solution similar to what I wished for there are a few possible workarounds. And I appreciate having a quick overview of currently available options.

    Samsa project offers animated SVG export, but after giving it a quick try I haven't managed to export a solid color word (only a single wireframe character).

    Anyway, it would be great to have a very simple in-browser layout platform where one can perform a basic presentation of variable font and download it in universal format (GIF/SVG/MP4). So to set resolution, type text, run and set axis animations, and set background color or image. That would make it easier for type designers to quickly show previews on social networks etc.
  • Igor PetrovicIgor Petrovic Posts: 248
    edited January 7
    Just found out about 2D animation software Cavalry which supports variable fonts natively. It has a free version, and I was able to easily animate my VF and export MP4 (it has no GIF as I can see). Not tested thoroughly but everything looks pretty nice so far.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,634
    There exist plenty of free MP4 > GIF converters, to go with that. Here is one:
  • Cory MaylettCory Maylett Posts: 245
    @Justin Penner, thank you! I haven't had time to play around with your script yet, but I can definitely use it.  :)
  • Grzegorz Luk (gluk)Grzegorz Luk (gluk) Posts: 134
    edited January 10
    @Justin Penner  I leave my test animation for few minutes and it indeed crashes Chrome tab. Now I play with your script (thank you!) and test for my variable COLRv1 font work since 30 minutes. To be honest I'm not 100% sure I'm using it correctly :)

  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,348
    Varifont is heroic and has many impressive hacks to work at all
  • @Justin Penner Interesting idea, thanks for sharing! It's not working for me in Chrome (v108) on macOS Ventura, though. I took the idea and tried to see what else could perhaps trigger a garbage collection/cache clean-up. Removing/restoring the entire animation, swapping out the font itself, even removing and restoring the entire element... But nothing will convince Chrome to clean up the cache, and memory usage remained the same.

    Did you have luck with this method on Chrome on Windows?
  •  <3 
  • jeremy tribbyjeremy tribby Posts: 187
    A new After Effects plugin has arrived:
    Haven't tried yet, I'm curious how it stacks up against Varifont

  • Just adding to the thread
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