- Create your text.
This tutorial will work with any sort of text. You can begin by typing your words in any font, but a typeface reminiscent of handwriting will give the most authentic final result. To do this, click on the text tool (), draw on a large box, and adjust the settings in the character window until you have the desired font, size, and spacing.
For this tutorial, I am using a font called “Rockness” with a size of 200 on a blue canvas that is 540 by 360 px.
You can also use an image of your own handwriting, if you’ve created an illustration or signature in Illustrator, Photoshop, or even a piece of paper. For this option, a .png with a transparent background will probably work best.
Once your text is created, it’s time to get started.
- Apply an effect called “stroke”.
In the effects and presets panel, select an effect from the “generate” folder called “stroke.” Drag it to the text layer you created in Step One. (You can learn more about stroke, and the other generate effects, by checking this handy guide.)
Type “stroke” into the search bar to find it faster.
- Using the pen tool, create masks in the shape of each letter.
With this same layer selected, click the pen tool and begin drawing lines that follow each segment of the text. If your text is in cursive, it is okay to use one line/mask for the entire word. Work in order from the beginning of the word to the end, making sure to make separate lines for the crosses on T’s and dots on I’s.
Hold down your cursor to create a curved line, like I did for most of the letters above.
If you accidentally draw your masks in non-sequential order, drag the mask layers in the timeline window to put them back in order. This will be important later.
- Adjust the stroke thickness until the font is covered.
Open the effect panel to see the settings for the stroke effect we applied in Step Two. In this panel, make sure the “all masks” and “stroke sequentially” boxes are checked. Then, select a crazy color for your stroke—this will be invisible, so just choose something that makes it easy to see.
To make it easier to see, I am using this lime green color as my stroke.
Now begin increasing your stroke width until all of your text is covered. You want it to be as thin as possible while still concealing every letter. You may have to adjust your masks using the arrow tool.
Increase the stroke width until the text is completely covered.
- Set the paint style to “reveal original image”. Then, add your keyframes.
Once your mask path looks good, change this setting in the effect window. In the timeline, set “End” to 0 and hit the stopwatch. Then, move the playhead to the point in your composition where you would like the text to have completed drawing on. Type “100” into End.
In this example, the drawing begins at the start of the composition and finishes around 4 seconds later.
- Optional: Edit the paths to remove any unwanted “limbs”.
You may notice that letters with intersecting pieces that create tiny bumps I like to call “limbs”. Sometimes, this problem can be fixed by using more accurate masks and a thinner stroke width.
If the problem persists, it might be helpful to break problematic letters into separate segments. Convert your text to a .png and save the main stem of the letter from the limb part—for example, separating the cross from the stem of the T or breaking a B into a stick and two bumps. It might be tedious, but for short words that only contain a few letters, the difference is worth the added time.
- You’re done! Write on!
After following these quick steps, you should have completed the tutorial. Drag your playhead to the beginning of the timeline and press the spacebar to preview the animation.
You can create a clean transition by having the text write off, too. If you would like the text to draw off from left to right, use “start” keyframes from 0 to 100. If you would like the text to draw off from right to left, like I do below, use “end” keyframes again in reverse, from 100 to 0.
- Once your text is created, it’s time to get started. Apply an effect called “stroke”. In the effects and presets panel, select an effect from the “generate” folder called “stroke.” Drag it to the text layer you created in Step One. (You can learn more about stroke, and the other generate effects, by checking this handy guide.).
- 10 Free After Effects text animation presets.
After Effects is an incredibly versatile program when it comes to creating and animating text. Here’s a guide to some of the most informative and efficient video tutorials that will make you a kinetic typography master in no time.
Importing from After Effects and Adobe Premiere Pro; Importing and interpreting video and audio; Preparing and importing 3D image files; Importing and interpreting footage items; Working with footage items; XMP metadata; Working with text and graphics. Formatting characters and the Character panel; Text effects; Creating and editing text. Amazing After Effects templates with professional designs, neat project organization, and detailed, easy to follow video tutorials.
With this After Effects title template, this proves that point that text is more than enough for an engaging intro. As always, the strength of this title pack template is that it’s easy to adapt. That means that it’s easy to render the intro you have in mind by simply typing over the placeholders.
After Effects can be a bit overwhelming initially, and text is no exception. Fear not… these After Effects tutorials explain things in an easy to understand way without leaving out the small details that some tutorials simply infer.
With the knowledge this guide provides, your creativity will no longer be limited by your software skills. We’ve arranged these in an order that we think provides the best learning process, starting with animation and ending with stylization. If you are already confident in one technique, you can just move on to the next one that is unfamiliar or needs practice.
1. Basic Text Editing and Animation
Before actually diving into typography and stylization, it’s essential that you understand how to edit text layers and apply text animations within After Effects. This great tutorial by After Effects wizard Mikey Borup leaves out little detail in explaining the mechanics of text layers. While creating text layouts in another program such as Illustrator might be more appealing to many users, it’s still very helpful to know how to create text on the fly within After Effects, as it is more forgiving to future changes.
2. Kinetic Typography Fundamentals
This is where things start to get fun. Kinetic typography is commonplace in all forms of modern media, especially music videos and speech-heavy content. Luckily, it doesn’t take too much technical prowess to make text more exciting — this video alone offers enough information for you to be able to immediately start creating fun and dynamic sound-driven text animations. With some tips on the actual logic behind kinetic typography, as opposed to just technical techniques, this tutorial one of the best on the subject.
Adobe After Effects Text Animation Templates
3. Handwritten Text
Adobe After Effects Text Animation Presets
The handwriting text effect is likely something you’ve seen before, and you may have found yourself wondering what techniques are involved. It’s surprisingly simple, as shown by this high-quality tutorial which features a stellar example to illustrate its potential. The use of strokes and matte layers to achieve this is a great way to improve your understanding of how they work and what ways they can be applied.
4. 3D Kinetic Typography
When you’re feeling comfortable with 2D typography, and have a decent understanding of 3D space in After Effects, you can give this PremiumBeat tutorial a watch to show you how to take your text to the next dimension. This provides some helpful tips in using the layer snap function as well.
5. 3D Text Extrusion
Want to add some depth to your text without coughing up the extra change for Element 3D? Look no further! Yet another PremiumBeat tutorial, this stacks dozens of 2D layers in 3D space to create the illusion of one 3D block of text. It works surprisingly well. With some adjustments, you can even add extra touches such as bevels or extrusion gradients.
6. Adding Textures to Text
Now that you have the mechanics of motion down, let’s look a bit more into how to add some aesthetic flair to your text. If gradients and plain text aren’t cutting it for you, textures are a good way to add character to your characters. While this is one of the simplest listed techniques, this tutorial from Rich Agullar includes all the detail you could need when it comes to using textures effectively with text.
7. Jittery Text Effect
If you’ve watched any “hipster-style” motion graphics over the past few years, you’ve undoubtedly come across this jittery text effect. While it has become a bit of an overdone gimmick as of late, it’s still a cool effect that you can implement in your text to compliment your overall style, or just make your titles feel a bit more lively.
8. Text Reflections
Reflections can bring a sense of gloss and elegance to your text, while also grounding it a bit more in its environment. There are multiple ways to create realistic reflections, but this combination of effects that Mikey put together is probably the most efficient, as it only requires one layer and updates as changes are made to the layer. He even demonstrates the ability to use it as an Animation Preset to speed up future workflow.
9. Text Shadows
Like reflections, shadows can better ground your text in its environment. Shadows also create a sense of depth and make the text stand out a bit better relative to the background. You may not have realized how many different possible shadow effects there are, but Mikey is sure to cover all of them here, whether they be 2D or 3D. With this tutorial, you can create nearly any kind of text shadow for any purpose.
10. Staggered Animation Effect
We’ll wrap up with this fun effect that time-staggers text strokes, resulting in a more colorful, unique variation of the popular handwritten text technique from the above tutorial.
Applying creative motion to text can actually be a lot of fun once you have the basics down. With these awesome tutorials, you’ll be on your way to successful text animation before you know it.
What After Effects tutorials did you find helpful with text? Let us know in the comments below.
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