How to move 2D origin for text layer?


I'm fairly new to Hitfilm 4 Express and I'm playing around with trying to do a very basic thing: I want to hard-code some text into a video and have it fade in, and fade out.

My first challenge is trying to learn how to position text. I've figured out that I can drag text around, but the "origin" of the layer is not centered on the text box itself. This means that if I rotate especially, the rotation of the text will not be centered.

How can I move things local to the layer itself, instead of what it's currently doing which seems to be a transformation of the layer itself?

Here is a screenshot of what I'm talking about. Notice how the X,Y origin (intersection of the red & green arrows) is not centered on the text.


  • inScapeDigital
    inScapeDigital Posts: 709 Just Starting Out*

    Change the Anchor Point in the Controls panel.

  • voidpointer
    voidpointer Posts: 40

    That's closer but is there no way to automatically have Hitfilm calculate the center based on the text box dimensions? What about a grid I can snap to? I'm looking for things to be algorithmically aligned if possible. Thanks for the tips so far...

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,679 Ambassador

    Use the Create Text Layer button/keyboard shortcut and enter pixel dimensions manually, and the text box will be created in the center of the screen. Click/dragging a text box out always defines an "off-center" layer. 

    There is a Grid effect. I use it often to create guilde layers for alignment. 

  • voidpointer
    voidpointer Posts: 40

    It's hard to determine initial pixel dimensions, especially since it depends on the text. For example, I will visually inspect text in the scene to make sure it looks good (size, color, no wrapping, etc). Once it looks good, *then* I know it's final size, and at that point I'd want it centered on origin for that layer.

    I can, of course, eye-ball the anchor point, but this is sort of like hanging a picture on the wall without a level. It won't be perfect.

    The Grid effect is a visual thing? Does it have a snapping effect? I'll give it a look...

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,679 Ambassador

    The Grid effect has no snapping, it literally just draws a controllable grid, but by making the grid lines nice and thin and with a little zoom in/out you can at least have a controlled reference. 

    I'll usually put a Grid on a grade layer atop the stack, set one point to 0,0 the other to, say, 100,100, make the color red and set to Add blend. I'll often add a second (or third) grid as well. The second might be set to be 50,50 and green with a third grid set to maybe 25,25 and blue. Obviously these  are examples. 

    Remember, once you have a useful setup, you can Ctrl/Cmd+click to select all the grids, right-click and Save Preset. Now you can drag and drop from the Presets in the effects list at anytime to recreate your grid. 

  • Palacono
    Palacono Posts: 3,425 Enthusiast
    edited May 2017

    Make your text layers full screen by typing in the full screen dimensions in the pixel boxes (there is no 'Set to Screen size' button, as there is with planes. :( ), use the Centre alignment button when you create them, then add blank lines above the text to move it down to the centre position vertically. If you don't want to do this more than once, do it once, then duplicate the composite shot and edit the text in the duplicates.