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6 minute read
5 Jun 2023

Easy ways to add subtitles in Adobe After Effects

Developed by Adobe Inc., Adobe After Effects is a digital visual effects and motion graphics program used for video editing. If you are not extremely familiar with the use of the program, you might be wondering if it is possible to add subtitles to your videos in Adobe. The short answer is yes. Keep reading our guide of you would like to know how.

Table of contents

How to Add Subtitles in Adobe After Effects

Whether you’re creating videos for local or international audiences, you need to ensure that they’re getting and understanding your message. 

This is where subtitles may come in handy for you. Creating and adding subtitles to your videos increases their visibility and engagement rate. 

If you’re a seasoned artist or a content creator, you would already be using Adobe After Effects. It is an app that helps professionals create visually-appealing content for TV, videos, and movies.

As easy-to-use app as After Effects is, adding subtitles to the videos might be a little hard or time-consuming. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer a separate screen for inserting subtitles, so you have to use text layers to create and add them to your videos. However, you can also use ready-made scripts from Amberscript and import them to After Effects.

How to create subtitles with Amberscript

With Amberscript, adding subtitles to your video content is easy and effortless. Our service is an expert in subtitle creation, offering both machine-made, human-made and translated subtitles by our skilled subtitlers. Using our automatic subtitle software, the process of creating subtitles is streamlined and efficient.

1. Upload your file to the Amberscript platform

With Amberscript, the process of adding subtitles to your video content is simple and fast. After creating your video, simply upload it to our platform using drag and drop, a link, or by manually uploading from your desktop. Then, select the language of the audio in your video and use our automatic subtitle service option. Our AI will quickly generate a first draft of the subtitles for you to review. Sit back and relax while the process is completed.

2. Edit your subtitles in our intuitive subtitle editor

With Amberscript, editing the AI-generated subtitles is easy and user-friendly. Utilize the integrated online text editor to make any desired adjustments. First, review and edit the AI transcript, then align and format the subtitles in the editor. Get familiar with the editor by watching the demo video and use the key combinations in the bottom left corner to speed up the editing process.

How to use the online editor?

3. Export your subtitles

When you’re finished editing your subtitles, you can easily download them in a variety of file formats. This process is quick and only takes a few seconds. Be sure to research which file format is best for your specific use case. The most popular file format for subtitles is SRT, but other common formats like VTT and EBU-STL are also available. Choose the format that best suits your needs and download it to your laptop or computer for easy access later.

Amberscript's subtitling services

Now that you know how to use Amberscript, let’s learn how to add subtitles in After Effects.

Creating Subtitles in Adobe After Effects 

To get started with Adobe After Effects, you need to first create certain template graphics and then duplicate those layers. However, you’d still have to take care of the perfect trimming and timing of the subtitles.

Let’s go through this step-by-guide to learn how to create and add subtitles to Adobe After Effects after creating them with the help of a speech-to-text software.

1. Generate Markers

  • Once your text document is prepared, you can paste the content in a text layer and drop the audio in a similar composition in After Effects. 
  • Then, preview the audio (“.” on the keypad) and adjust the preview’s frame rate to twice the normal speed, i.e., 2x of original. Listen to the whole video half the time.
  • While listening to the audio, keep generating markers in the text layer for each line break by using “*” on the keypad. When you’re done, you’ll see that the subtitles are ready to be rendered.

2. Expressions to Separate the Text

The entire process of separating the text and adjusting it on the appropriate time frames is performed by “expressions.” If you’re generating the subtitles entirely on your own, you can use the following expressions:

Split ()

It is the most useful expression that helps break any text into different parts through any character you want to use. Some people also use it to extract the composition name from After Effects, the title, and subtitles of one lower third. 

If you’re using it specifically to break the subtitle’s line, the syntax for it is:

  • text.sourceText.split(‘/’)[i]

Translating this computer’s language into human’s gives us:

  • Extract the content from this text (text.sourceText) and break it into separate blocks each time “/” appears (split(‘/’). Just show block 4 (you can write any number in place of “i.” Thanks!

3. Counting Markers

By creating an expression to count the number of markers in a layer, you can make each block appear at the right time. For that, you can use the following expression:

  • m = thisLayer.marker;
  • i = m.nearestKey(time).index;
  • if (m.nearestKey(time).time > time){ i–;}
  • if (i < 1) { i = 1};
  • I–;

Yes, we know it must be pretty hard for you to understand this expression, but let us make it simpler for you. 

  • The “i” is the reference number of every marker that you will pass through in the entire process. This expression keeps an envelope of this reference number.
  • If the third marker is the last one that you pass through, you will replace the “i” with 3. Similarly, if it’s fourth, the “i” will be 4.
  • Now, let’s do a quick recap. Every time you pass a marker, the “Split” will analyze the envelope to identify the reference number it holds. This way, it shows us the right text block at the right time.
  • But, here is a real problem – the expression might show an error if the counted blocks are less than the markers. So, what will you do in such a situation? The next expression will help you out.
Step-by-step guide

Learn more about subtitles

  • What are subtitles?
  • Types of subtitles
  • The difference between subtitles and captions
  • Why you need subtitles: The advantages of subtitles
  • How to create subtitles?
Learn more

4. The Error Code

In After Effects Expressions tutorials on WordPress by Thomas Euvrie, he explained that After Effects CC 2015 (13.5) doesn’t take simple expression issues into account; it simply ignores them without disabling them. 

The only way it reminds you of an error is the orange banner that pops up on the screen. 

But if you don’t like receiving notifications, you can just use the following expression:

  • try {code1} catch(err) {code2}

Translating it into human language, we get:

  • Please try code 1. If it doesn’t work, use code 2

Final Code

Now, after collecting all this information together, the final step is to apply the below code into the Source Text of the text box:

  • m = thisLayer.marker;
  • i = m.nearestKey(time).index;
  • if (m.nearestKey(time).time > time){ i–;}
  • if (i < 1) { i = 1};
  • i–;
  • try {text.sourceText.split(‘/’)[i]} catch(err) {”}

And that’s it – you’ve created and added the subtitles in After Effects.

Now, you can just give your video some final touches, like the color and font of the text, to ensure the viewer easily reads and understands them. 

Frequently asked questions

  • What is Adobe After Effects?

    Adobe After Effects is a digital app that offers visual effects and motion graphics used in the post-production of video games, films, and TV series. Generally, After Effects is used to enhance recorded videos and for keying, compositing, and animations.

  • Can I import SRT Files into Adobe After Effects?

    It allows you to import subtitles, customize them, and add graphics to them. The downloaded SRT file from Amberscript has a text layer with markers and keyframes that you can copy/paste into the text layer.

  • How do I add subtitles to Adobe After Effects?

    Unlike Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects doesn’t offer a separate screen for inserting subtitles and captions. So, you have to use several text layers to create subtitles via writing the text from the audio, creating markers, and using expressions, like split, counting markers, and the error code.

    However, you can get automatic subtitles from software like Amberscript and insert them in After Effects.

  • Can I import VTT Files into Adobe After Effects?

    Yes, you can. Just use a subtitle Importer or a Plugin to do so.

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