I have an educational video product. We currently have over 2000, available in different sizes, so roughly 6000 and counting.

The video introductions (title, description, instructors) were made by hand in video editors but this proves time-consuming and error-prone.

I want to be able to create interesting text animations suitable for video introductions programmatically. All of the data (text) I need is in a local database.

I looked into this problem 2 years ago and solved it by using ffmpeg, and the ASS subtitle system filter. This got the job done, but the animations were limited to simple movement and fades and the process is quite clunky.

Recently looking at iMovie's "title" animations I felt inspired by the quality, and wanted our introductions to be much better. I'm not sure it's worth the effort to re-do them all by hand in something like a manual video editor.

So what techniques are out there that I might consider?

  • After effects is scriptable and can be used programmatically to create pretty much any video effect. The learning curve is fairly steep for doing this, you'd probably be better off hiring an AE scripter.
    – stib
    Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 0:20
  • I'm a software engineer, so I'm pretty comfortable around programming and scripting. Does that count?
    – pixelearth
    Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 5:46
  • If you're happy working with javascript then the documentation for scripting AE is here: adobe.ly/2cwcEoh yes, it says CS6, they haven't updated the documentation. If you want to build a GUI for it the docs for the UI API is here: adobe.ly/2cwbFVn More info at adobe.ly/2cwdaCJ
    – stib
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 12:37
  • One caveat is that you need to understand how AE works before you can automate it.
    – stib
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 12:38

2 Answers 2


Get TypeMonkey for AfterEffects. Other than templates, it's the easiest way to generate text animations from scratch.


  • I'll look into this, but I'm not interested in making the animations from scratch. I just want to be able to overlay/add text animation to a video from the command line. I'd prefer to choose from a (large) number of possible pre-made animations effects.
    – pixelearth
    Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 14:37

If you has access to Adobe After Effects and Premier, you can create templates in After Effects with the Live Text tool and easily modify them inside Premier. More about this topic on the following link:


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