Software

There are two main areas for software. Design and Display. Design focuses on the creation of captions, in some cases some software can both design and display creative captions.

Design

Creative captions can be designed however you like with your software of choice. You could even design captions with your own drawings or cutouts. Here are some suggested software for designing creative captions with information on how they can help make the design process easier.  

Adobe After Effects

macOS & Windows | Paid
After Effects is an industry-standard motion graphics and visual effects software.

After Effects can be used to create animated content of text-based elements with a complex animation system. You can edit down to individual letters, choosing how they appear and disappear.  The system allows for a great detail of customisation which can take a long amount of time, therefore it is only suggested for specific moments of creative captions rather than designing a full show.

There is a deep learning curve required to use After Effects. However, as it is widely used there are many tutorials and resources online as well as training classes both in person and remote.

You will need another software to display your captions in a show. Such as QLab or Isadora.  Licenses are only available as subscription either for a stand-alone license or as part of an Adobe suite including Photoshop, Premiere and more.
Visit Adobe for more info

Blender

macOS & Windows | Free
Blender is a free and open-source 3D creation tool with animation design.

Text can be animated within Blender and exported as a video for playback on a media server, video mapping software or QLab. There is a wide community of artists using Blender and you can find a wide variety of tutorials online as well as some premium plugins that add more detailled text animation options. 

There is a deep learning curve required to use Blender. The text animation options are limited compared to other options such as Adobe After Effects. However, there is a good amount of custiomation and animation once you are familar with the software.
Visit Blender for more info

Glypheo

macOS | Free
Glypheo is a surtitling software built for macOS. 

Within Glypheo you can create, edit and display captions. Customisation features include font, colour, style and fade in/out transition time. You can have up to 6 screens and several tracks, such as different characters or translations. It also supports MIDI, OSC and Syphon/NDI output so you can connect it to a media server, video mapping software or QLab for control and video output. 

While the software lacks in design features, the interface and ease of editing with search function and most importantly, cost (free!) make up for its simple features.
Visit Glypheo for more info

Isadora

macOS & Windows | Paid
Isadora is a digital media software for interactive design and control of live performance and installations.

The combination of interactive design and show control allows for a more optimised workflow to design creative captions. Text can be created in a number of ways including reading a csv file. 
Visit Adobe for more info

Notch

Windows | Paid
After Effects is an industry-standard motion graphics and visual effects software.

After Effects can be used to create animated content of text-based elements with a complex animation system. You can edit down to individual letters, choosing how they appear and disappear.  The system allows for a great detail of customisation which can take a long amount of time, therefore it is only suggested for specific moments of creative captions rather than designing a full show.

There is a deep learning curve required to use After Effects. However, as it is widely used there are many tutorials and resources online as well as training classes both in person and remote.

You will need another software to display your captions in a show. Such as QLab or Isadora.  Licenses are only available as subscription either for a stand-alone license or as part of an Adobe suite including Photoshop, Premiere and more.
Visit Adobe for more info

QLab

macOS | Paid
QLab is a widely used macOS based software that supports sound, video and lighting cues. 

QLab provides a text option for adding your text based cues to a show. These can be used to create caption based cues. Each cue is directly editable with text-based editing for font, colour and size.

In addition to designing captions, you can programme fade up / fade down / cut / swipe transitions for the captions. Given the nature of QLab it can take a long time to programme each cue and you cannot make adjustments to multiple captions. For example, if you decide to change a font or colour after programming each cue. You will have to manually change each cue one by one.  Therefore it is recommended to have a clear design direction before you start programming with QLab.

QLab supports projection mapping and multiple surfaces to display captions which can be controlled with a keyboard, other instances of QLab, MIDI or OSC. In order to display captions you will need a video license which you can rent or buy.
Visit QLab for more info

Display

While there isn't a widely available dedicated creative captioning software for displaying them on stage, you can use any of these suggested applications to playback your show with creative captions.
More coming soon!
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