Welcome! My name is Alan Shisko, and I'm a freelance motion graphics artist working out of Toronto, Canada. I've been very lucky in my career to have had many inspiring teachers, and decided to start this blog to give back to the community that has enriched me both technically and aesthetically. Perhaps my words and images will inspire you to do the same! If you wish, take a minute to view my demo reel at, or view a comprehensive gallery of my past work Here.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

You Kern Do It!

Kerning. It may sound like the name of a German industrial town, but in fact it's an oft-overlooked aspect of graphic design that can give your work that extra bit of shine that clients are craving. And with the explosion of freeware fonts to be found underfoot everywhere, knowing how to fix a poorly-kerned typeface is a critical skill to have.

Most folks have heard tell of both Kerning and it's relative Tracking. I don't know how often I've heard people talking about letter spacing mention both- or either - interchangeably, but it must be pointed out that there is a significant difference between the two. Tracking refers to the space across a range of letters, while Kerning is the process of expanding or contracting space between specific letter pairs.

Mastering kerning in After Effects (and Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign etc.) doesn't just make your work look better. It also gives your visuality a workout at the same time by making you look at your typography in a much more critical manner.

Watch THIS video to see how kerning works in Adobe After Effects (14.5 MB, 14 minutes, Quicktime H.264) The information in this tutorial holds true for users of Photoshop and Illustrator as well.

Hot tip: you've all heard about how, when you're sitting with a client, you can raise your creative IQ a few notches by throwing in the term "Z-space" during a discussion. Watch the kerning tutorial, then ramp your cred up another notch by talking about "Pair-Kerning".


Todd Kopriva said...

This is a great post. I just added a link from After Effects CS3 Help to this post:

Jonas Hummelstrand said...

Great Alan! I'm in constant pain from watching unkerned type everywhere.