Handwriting Animation After Effects CC


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Hey everybody, I’m Nathaniel Dodson from tutvid.com, welcome right
into this Adobe After Effects tutorial. Where today, we’re going to take a look
at this, sort of handwritten text effect in After Effects. It’s pretty simple, it’s
pretty easy. And if you enjoy the video, well make sure you go ahead and subscribe
to the channel so you never miss any videos in the future. Let’s jump into
After Effects right now. Okay, well here we are in Adobe After Effects. I have
a composition created here which is 2560×1440. But, honestly, this effect works
on any sized composition. You just kind of mess around with the size and make
it however you want it to be. I’ve got a little textured background that I threw in
here, as well. But the effect really begins with the text tool. So I’m going to select
that, and I’m going to type out “savage,” because that seems to be a trendy word
these days. And I’m going to open my character panel over here. I am going to go
with a font called “black sword,” which I believe is a free font. It’s kind of a really
sharp, nice-looking, handwritten style font, as you can see. I’m going to bump the
size here. Let’s try bumping it up to about 500. Again, this might be too big for the
size composition you’re using, or not. I’m going to hold down my CMD/CTRL key
and just drag it, and you’ll see it’s going to snap to like the middle of the document,
just like that. Very cool. And I am going to select the fill color, and I can change it
to anything – honestly, I can probably just leave it the way it is, because we’re going
to be filling it with a different method, obviously. We’re going to be creating sort of
the handwritten method, that makes it look like we’re drawing this word by hand,
or writing this word, I should say. So right now, I’ve got two layers down here, we’ve
got our text layer, and our background layer. And we want to create a third layer,
and this is very important. We’re going to be using the pen tool for this, but we
absolutely want to make sure we deselect our shape layer, or text layer here,
excuse me. Because the pen tool will just simply draw a mask instead of the shape
layer that we want. So I’m going to deselect here, I’m going to grab my pen tool,
and I’m going to make sure that I do not have a fill. So just click the word “fill” and
choose – set that to none. And also, click the word “stroke” and make sure that’s
set to none, as well. We’re going to add a stroke later. For now, I’m going to zoom in
on the word “savage.” And we want to trace a path in the same way that we want
our letter to be written. So I want the ‘s’ to be written like this. So, I’m going to go
ahead, and trace that path. I’ll start right here. I’ll click and pull out my tangent
handles, I’ll drag this around. You can see down here, by the way, shape layer has
been created for us. Great. I’m going to go and I’m going to pull this up and around
and then I’m going to pull it right through ‘s’ here. And of course, just ironically,
it assigns this purplish-blue color which nearly blends in with my text. So, maybe I’ll
go with, does peach stick – yeah, peach sticks out. Eh, doesn’t quite look as
good as I want it. Let’s just go with green. Maybe we’ll go with green, although that’s
not as visible. We’re going to spend half this tutorial just looking for a color that’s
contrasting. You know what? We’re going to change the color of our text.
So I’m going to select the text here, and we’re going to go with a very dark blue,
something like that. Alright, let’s select our shape layer again, and select it –
click that point so we can continue drawing here with the pen tool. And what I’m
going to do, I’m going to pull this right around here, like that. Hold down my
ALT/OPT key, and I can just tweak and adjust to get the exact path that I need,
something like that. Hold down ALT/OPT and drag this tangent handle, and just,
you know, make it the way you want it to be. Get the path that you want, and
obviously, the more you use the pen tool. The more accustomed to this stuff
you’re going to be. And we’re going to pull that right through, hold down the
ALT/OPT key. And what we’re going to do here – there’s a few ways you can go,
you can create a whole series of paths, one letter at a time, and animate them
one at a time. That’s probably the best way to go. But it’s a little bit more time
consuming, so I’m going to do this as one giant path. And you can choose to do
it however you want. The technique that I’m going to employ is the same exact
thing, you just need to work out the timing and keyframe things, and adjust things
a little bit more. But you’ll get a better result if you do one letter at a time.
For the sake of saving time, we’re just going to loop this up and around as one
giant path. And what I’m going to do now, I want the ‘a’ to be written starting up
here, and looping around. And then shooting right up here to the ‘v’, and the ‘v’
getting written just like that. So I’m going to enter the ‘a’ right here, and then we’re
going to loop up and over the ‘a,’ just like that. And down the front of the ‘a,’
and then I’ll probably hold down ALT/OPT here, and I’m going to bring my path
right up like that. And then we’re going to come down the backside of the ‘a,’
just the stem of that, and then shoot right up here across the face of the ‘v.’
Hold down ALT/OPT, bring that tangent handle around, close the ‘v,’ right down
the front side of the ‘v.’ And then hold down ALT/OPT, drag this tangent handle
back. And we will just complete the shape out the top, right side of the ‘v.’
So there we have the ‘s,’ and the first two letters after it. And we’re just creating
the path in the same direction which we want this to be drawn. So I’m going to
enter the second ‘a’ right up here, just as we did before. I’m going to pull this
path right around, like so. I’m going to just drop that in, I’m going to drag this
tangent handle around. There we go. Something like that. I’m going to pull the
tangent handle back down this way. You kind of want the tangent handle to be
going in the direction which you’re going to be placing your path. It just kind of
helps keep things smooth. Now, here we’re kind of faced with a dilemma,
because we really want the ‘g’ to be drawn, or written from this point, right?
You kind of want the ‘g’ to come around this way. I mean, if you’re drawing it
with a pen, I guess you’re going up and over and back around. That might look
a little funky. But hey, let’s give it a shot. Let’s see what happens here. So we’re
going to drag our path this way. And, by the way, don’t worry. See how the path
is kind of off kilter here? We can go back, and we’ll adjust this path later once we
start animating our stroke along it, to get the perfect effect where we need it to be.
I’m going to hold down my ALT/OPT key here. Let’s pull this just through the very,
very tip of the ‘g’. Just so we have it. And I’m going to hold down ALT/OPT, there’s
a tangent handle there. What I’m going to do, I’m going to rotate this around so
I can see it. I’m going to grab that tangent handle, and push it back the other way.
Because now we have to come back the other way with the letter ‘g’. And we’re
not quite getting the angle that we want, or the curve that we want. So I’m going
to pull that tangent handle steeply up, kind of like that. There we go. And this giant
tangent handle, we can just loop this around because we’re coming up the inside
part of the ‘g’ there. Pull this tangent handle down. Are you sick of hearing me say
tangent handle? Yeah, cause I’m sick of it saying it. Let’s drag this right down, like so.
And then we’ll pull this right up and around, and I can probably almost pull it
directly to the ‘e,’ because we’re getting a big curve here. So something kind of like
that should work for us. You can always adjust this tangent handle holding down
ALT/OPT and pulling it through as we need it. I’m going to hold down ALT/OPT here,
I’m going to drag this tangent handle just slightly up, cause we kind of need to do
this dipsy-doo into this part of the ‘e’. There we go, loop right around, come down
the backside of the ‘e,’ and then right out the stem, just like that. And then you can
continue the path a little bit further, if you want. So we now have a continuous
singular path, drawn along our letters exactly how we want the letters to be drawn
when we animate this. Let’s go ahead now, we’re going to turn on the stroke. So I’ll
say, yeah, give me a solid stroke here. This is maybe a little crazy. I’m going to select
the stroke color, and we’re going to go with… let’s go with f40024, it’s kind of this,
like, pinkish-red. More red than pink, I guess. I’m going to hit OK. And what I’m going
to do, I’m going to open up my shape layer here. And we have contents, I’m going
to open that up, and we have this shape that we’ve just drawn. Shape 1. I’m going
to open that up. There’s no fill, notice the eyeball for the fill is shut off, because the
fill is gone. But the stroke, the eyeball is on. There’s our stroke. I’m going to open
that up. And I’m interested, here, in the line cap, and line join. So, check this out,
right where it begins, and right where it ends, it’s just a harsh, flat cut off. I don’t
know that that’s going to look that great when it’s drawing itself out. So I’m going
to change it from the butt cap, to the round cap. You can see, it’s giving us this
nice, rounded edge. Just a little smoother, a little less harsh. And the same thing
here, where we have these points, these angular corners. I’m going to change the
line joined from the miter to the round join. It’s just going to kind of round all that
stuff off for us, make it look a little softer, smoother. A little bit more, I don’t know,
just a little nicer. I’m also going to try to reduce the width of the stroke to like 35,
let’s just see what that looks like. You can see how we can see some of the letters
underneath sticking out. So 35 is not going to be big enough, we need this to be big
enough to cover the letters. So let’s try pushing it up to 45, and some of it might be
we might need to go in and adjust the path here or there. And we can do that, like
I said, we can always go in and adjust things. Let’s push it, maybe 65 is about
where we need it. Let me go to 60. And let’s roll with 60 here, and we’ll adjust
things as needed, if we need to adjust some things. Here’s where the magic really
happens. What we’re going to do, is I’m going to collapse the stroke here. Up here,
next to the word ‘contents,’ we have this little ad popout menu. I’m going to click
that, and we want to choose trim paths. This is the magic that makes this thing
work. I’m going to bring the playhead back here on my timeline, back to just zero.
So we’re back here at the starting position, I’m going to open up trim paths, and
basically, we can choose to change the start and the end point. See how start or
end? In fact, I’m just going to move end back to zero. I’m going to click the stopwatch
here, to toggle animation for the start point. And then I’ll come out to like, I don’t
know, maybe 3 seconds. We’ll have this – draw it out over the course of three
seconds. And I’ll extend this to 100%. So now if I play through this real quick,
you can see, we’re getting this effect, where this is just being drawn over the
course of all these frames. It’ll take three seconds, and it’ll write out the entire
word. The problem obviously is, it kind of looks bad because it’s, you know,
we’ve got all this line stuff out here. And it just looks a mess. It doesn’t look like
our original text, right? Well, before we do anything actually, I’m just going to
select both of these keyframes, I’m going to right click. I’m going to add an easy
ease, just sort of easing to this. Easy ease easing, that’s a mouthful for you.
I’m going to collapse trim paths, and I’m going to collapse my contents here.
Now, what I’ll do, I’m going to drag my text up above this shape layer. So the
shape layer is what’s animating the stroke, well, it’s now animating underneath
the text. And what I want to do, is see this little toggle swtiches/modes button?
If you see all this, you want to click this button to bring you over here, so you have
access to this thing called track mattes. See, TRK matte? There you go. Track matte.
And the track matte of the shape layer, I want to click on that. And say, alpha matte
to the ‘savage’ text layer. That is going to be our mask. So, I’m going to alpha matte
to that. You can see immediately, all the extra red stuff disappears. And sure enough,
as we animate through this, we will see our letters appearing to be written on our
document, just like that. So, now part of the problem with that, is you can see in an
area – where is it? Like right here, right? You can see that just stripe of red. And what’s
happening is, where this letter ‘a’ would be uncovering some of that red outline,
that red stroke. The stroke is so fat that some of it’s sticking through to the mask.
So, the solution would be to take this path, and just shift it over the left a little bit.
So, we can do that. We can select our – we can choose our selection tool, I should
say, and I’m probably going to open up my shape layer here. I’m going to open up
contents. I’m going to select the path. We want to work on the path. I’m going to
zoom in a little bit here, I’m going to make sure I have my selection tool. And we can
just move this. So I can just shift this over, and see that? You’re going to watch it just
slide right out of the way. And we can really go over our entire, our entire animation.
See how we have this little bit that shows up too early? It’s because this anchor
point is just pushed down a little bit too much. So, we can just pull that right over,
and you can go through your animation and clean everything up that needs to be
cleaned up. So, we can just double check here, and make sure this is looking the
way I want it to look with the ‘a’. See how there’s kind of a weird – see how it’s kind
of funky looking there? There’s maybe not a huge amount we can do. Maybe we
can pull this point over a little bit. But then we’re going to lose some of what we’re
getting with the letter ‘a’ on the backside of that stem. So I’m just going to slide
through here. See, again, these kind of weird lines, I’d like to try to do away with
them, but sometimes, there’s only so much you can do with what you’ve got.
This is where doing multiple strokes, and animating everything in conjunction,
that’s really kind of the way to go. See, here as well, we’ve got the ‘a’ sliding
through, not the way we want it to be. So, we just pull that line right back, or that
anchor point, I should say, we pull that right back. And over here, right, that’s
really bad. I really don’t like the way that looks. If you really need to push a line
over, you can grab the pen tool, and what we can do is add an anchor point,
like right there. And you can just use your move tool, and we can just slide this
right over. And we can just play through it a little bit, and make sure that we’re
kind of making it how we want it to be, alright? I mean, there’s only so much we
can do at this point, because the lines are so close to each other, but maybe if
we just get rid of that hangnail looking bit. Something like that. Even if the stroke
looks a little thin, at least that looks organic, more than anything. And then here,
we got something weird going on here. So we can just, I’m going to scooch back
down my timeline a little bit. What’s going on there? What is this? I’m going to move
this around a little bit. Oh, okay, I see. I see what’s happening there.
So we need to just slide that over. I think I need to pull this out a little bit. See that?
All that really needs to be filled in. I want to be careful on the backside there, that
we’re not losing the letter. So, this might be an area where I grab the pen tool,
and say, you know what? Prime time to just grab and add a point. Add a point right
about there. And then we’ll add another point here, and we’ll pull this back this way.
Now, what’s going to happen, I’m afraid, is the lines going to appear thin, but it’ll
just thicken kind of on the back stroke. Eh, that actually looks fine. That doesn’t
look to bad. And you know, just stuff like this, this little thing that’s showing. Just
pull that back a little bit, there we go. That goes away. Something like this is going
to be very difficult, because the edge of the stroke needs to be somewhere.
But again, it’s just another example of where doing a – or, creating a path for
every letter might really be the way to go. We’re going to adjust that little point
there. And then this, too. See this little bit that’s sticking out? This is just because
we have the thickness of the letter is only so much, and our stroke needs to be a
bit wider. So that’s something where, maybe we could place a point right around
there. And we could slide the whole thing one way or the other. So maybe it would
look better if we slid it over this way. Something like that. And we dealt with the ‘g’
looking like that. And then it’s going to come up, and join right through there. But
you can see when it comes through here, it just destroys – and then as it loops up
over the ‘e,’ it’ll come right back through. You can see, something’s going on right
there. That’s probably just a matter of us closing it up by dragging the path that way.
And then, there it goes, over and out, just like so. So now, if I zoom out a little bit,
I’ll pre-render this. And we’ll see exactly what we’ve created. Nice, smooth flow
around, and much less in terms of noticeable errors. There’s maybe something
I notice right through here. Yeah, that little bit on the ‘g’ is really distracting, I think.
But other than that, I think everything looks pretty decent. Yeah, it’s just that one
little thing. But, you know, you create a nice little title for yourself using this
technique. And a nice, script-y font as a mask, it works really, really well. And there
you have it. A nice, simple effect, just like that. You can use it for whatever you like.
If you do create it, it’d be super cool if you upload it to Instagram and tag me in
the video that you put up there. Can you tag somebody in the video, or just in the
caption for it? Either way, it’d be great if you would upload it to Instagram. My
Instagram handle is @tutvid, you can check me out over there. And I’d love to
see the stuff that you create if you do, in fact, create this effect that we did here
in this tutorial. If Discord is more your thing, you can check out our Discord
server, discord.me/tutvid, that is open for business, as well. Guys! For taking
a look at drawing with the pen tool, and masking, and just the few things that it
takes to create this, kind of simple, but very cool effect, here in Adobe After
Effects. That’s it!
Get it? Got it? Good!
Nathaniel Dodson, tutvid.com, I’ll catch you in the next one.
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59 Replies to “Handwriting Animation After Effects CC”

  1. #NathanielDodson… you are a white hat… thanks for the ever amazing tutorials… Now back to the show… name sake cuz…

  2. Awsome tutorial as always, about lettre g and e issue there is another way to make this animation by selecting the text and adding masks with the pen tool and not using a single one then go to effect tab and look for stroke in the stroke effect tab select all masks and change some options there and your good to go.

  3. You make such incredible, simple to understand, and beautifully designed tutorials. Thank you for all the work you put into educating us on Adobe Programs! 🙂

  4. Hi Nate! Quick technical question..why is youre latest videos all not stereo sound? Love the value you bring to the community! Thanks!

  5. Nice video! The way I first learned this was slightly different:
    1. use the pen tool on the text layer
    2. add the "stroke" effect
    3. increase brush size said effect to hide all original text
    4. set "paint style" to reveal original image

    just for anyone else trying

  6. These After Effects tutorials are just great! Kinda was my last frontier in my Graphic Design career and I've been avoiding Ae because I found the tutorials hard to follow and the instructors dull but you have changed my mind! Thank you so much!

  7. How can I save it to use in a movie? Also is there any way to make it on a transparent background so I can use it as an overlay?

  8. Hey Nathaniel, there's a much easier way to do this, using the "write-on" effect in after effects. you should make another tutorial using that

  9. 3:45 – 3:48
    "…So I'm gonna enter the 'a' right here…"

    3:58 – 4:06
    "…And then we're gonna cum down the back side of the 'a' just the stem of that and then shoot right up here across the face of the 'v'…"

    is this pornhub?

  10. Hi tutvid, if i want the handwriting to reveal an image or clip beneath it how would I achieve this? I've been messing around with track mattes and duplicate layers and having been able to figure it out.

  11. Followed a couple other tutorials for this effect and spent way too long fixing matte issues. This is the best way to pull this effect off – and the fastest. Thank you!

  12. Omg this is what I’ve been looking for! Thank you so much! It’s so hard to describe the action but lluckily I’ve found this.

  13. How can i convert this into a 3D Text? Can anyone please help .. I made it a pre – comp and tried adding camera but i dont get the Option of " Extrution Depth" there. Is there anyway i can do it.

  14. Could you create the path in illustrator and use the width tool to make a more precise path then paste it into the AE comp?

  15. nice tutorial!
    * btw is there another way to save an animation like this to SVG from AE? (except bodymovin) (I'm usingAEcs6)

  16. Is there a way to have it mask the actual layer in as it looks, not in the red of the path that's drawing in? Thanks!

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