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12.3 How to Create Handwriting Animation in After Effects

Learn how to create a handwriting animation in Adobe After Effects using a simple template from Envato Elements.

In this tutorial you'll learn how to quickly and easily install and customize the Grace Animated Handwriting Typeface template. This animated typeface template is perfect for romantic openers, introductions or anywhere your video needs moving text. Learn how to edit the template and easily change the writing speed without any quality loss.

Related Links

1 lesson, 00:49


2.Getting Started
5 lessons, 42:55

What Is After Effects?

Main Panels


After Effects Tools

More AE Tools

3.Compositions and Layers
3 lessons, 26:35

After Effects Composition


After Effects Layer Properties

3 lessons, 25:21

After Effects Keyframe Basics

After Effects Keyframe Easing

Spatial Interpolation

5.Masks, Shape Layers, and Text
5 lessons, 45:36

Learn How to Mask in After Effects

After Effects Shape Layers: Part 1

After Effects Shape Layers: Part 2

Text in After Effects

Text Animation and More

2 lessons, 13:42

What Is 2.5D?

More 2.5D

7.Motion Tracking
4 lessons, 34:04

Motion Tracking, Camera Tracking, and 3D Text

More Motion Tracking

Camera Tracking in After Effects

3D Text in After Effects

8.Mattes and Cool Effects
4 lessons, 43:43




Mind-Blowing Third-Party Effects

9.Build a Lower Third
2 lessons, 21:35

How to Make a Lower Third in After Effects

Final Touches on the Lower Third

1 lesson, 09:11

Exporting From After Effects

1 lesson, 01:16


12.Bonus Lessons
4 lessons, 2:14:00

How to Make an After Effects Text Animation

How to Use After Effects Intro Templates

How to Create Handwriting Animation in After Effects

How to Create Brush Effects in After Effects

13.Frequently Asked Questions
8 lessons, 1:34:42

FAQ Introduction

How to Export Video From After Effects

How to Export Video From After Effects Using PreRendering

How to Mask in After Effects

How to Animate Text in After Effects

How to Make a GIF in After Effects

How to Duplicate Layer in After Effects

FAQ Conclusion

12.3 How to Create Handwriting Animation in After Effects

Hello and welcome. My name is Dave Bode for Envato, and in this video, I'm gonna show you how to use this animated handwriting type face for After Effects to create a really cool looking write on effect for your projects. And in fact, I'm gonna show you how to take this fairly basic write on effect and really kick it up a notch and make it look like ink on paper. It's a really cool effect, and I hope you check out the entire tutorial to see how it's done. So first, let me show you the basic idea here, all right? This is a scripty, kind of write-on effect, now if you ever tried to this, you'll find that it's not terribly hard to these write-on effects, no matter what the typeface is. However, it is fairly tedious and with this template available on Envato Elements, that makes the process a lot faster. Now if you're unfamiliar, Envato Elements is a subscription based digital asset library where you can find everything from stock video to video templates, music, sound effects, graphics, graphics templates, photos, 3D assets, and a lot more. They have a broad commercial license so you can use these assets in all of your projects. So to get started, you can download the project file. It'll be a zip file, when you unzip it, you're gonna have this collection of folders and files, and all we really need to get started is this After effects project file right here. Now before we jump into After Effects, I just wanna make a note that there is one external file that you'll need for this project. And that is the font that this project uses, but not to worry, it's available for free. And the link for this is in the project files. But if you want, you can just find it at this address right here. It's on So now I'm just gonna open up the After Effects project file. When you do, it's gonna pop up a warning, and we can just click OK. All that saying is that the project was created in an older version of After Effects and needs to be converted to whatever version you are currently running. You might also get a result fonts dialog box that pops up, not to worry we can just click OK here as well and the project will open right up. I believe there is maybe another font in this project somewhere, but I haven't found that to be a problem. So you can just click OK and everything should work just fine. Now before we jump in and dig in and find out what's in this project, I wanna make sure that your screen is somewhat matching my screen so that it's easy for you to follow along. If, for whatever reason, your screen doesn't look like my screen, not to worry. Just hop on up here to the menu, and go to Window, Workspace, and make sure that it's set to standard. If it is set to standard, and it still doesn't exactly like mine or pretty close to it, go down here and choose, reset standard to saved layout. That will move things around and you should have something very close to what you're seeing on your screen right now. All right, so this is opened up to a camp called Write Your Text Here. And if I hit the space bar, we can just kind of preview what's going on here. And you can see this is a really nice looking scripty font in a write on effect. So just gonna call it this changes everything. I'm gonna make my comp 19-20 by 10-80 23.976, or you can pick whatever frame rate that you want. I'm gonna make this about one minute long and then click OK. Mostly gonna close these other comps here because I don't really need those right at the moment. Actually, I don't want this to be 1920 by 1080. I want my final graphic to be 1920 by 1080. But for this text, I want this to actually be a little bit bigger. So I wanna jump back into the comp settings here, which is Ctrl+K on the keyboard and I'm going to make this 2200 by, I don't know, 450. I basically want this to be a little bit bigger and that way, if we zoom up on the text, it's still gonna look nice and crisp and clean. So the way that this project creates the text, is it uses a script, which essentially automates the process of adding the individual characters. You might have seen when we first opened up the project, there's a folder here called letters, and inside that folder you have basically all the characters you need to write out. Anything that you want to say, and you could add those manually but I don't really recommend it, that's not gonna be super fun. So to run the script, come on up here to file scripts, run script file. And then inside your grace animated handwriting folder, you'll find a folder called script. You double click that, and then if we change the file type down here to Adobe, JavaScript binary file, you'll see the script that we want to run. So I'm just gonna select that and click Open. And there's the script right here, it's called Typefacer, so this is really simple. I'm just gonna type my text here. This changes everything, and then click the go button. Sequence Layers is checked, which is what I want, so let's see this get to work here. And just like that, it's built the entire text. So if we pull the CTI, the play head, back to the beginning here and press space bar, we can see what this looks like. Okay, that's pretty slow, so I'm just gonna scrub along here manually, and see, this looks great, that looks really fantastic. I don't need this type facer script panel open anymore, so I'm just gonna close that to get rid of it. And I'm just gonna select all my layers here in the comp with Ctrl+A and then press U to just kind of collapse them all so we can see. And you can see that every single layer here, or every single character, I should say is on its own layer. And that's basically how this is built in. And that script basically automates pulling all of those layers in and sequencing them. Now at the very top of the comp, we have a null layer and if we click on the source name, you can see that this is actually named text controller one. And if we pull up the effects controls which is not visible right now, we'll just go to Window and then right down here effects controls, we can see that this has a few effects on it. And we can adjust some of the things in this title here. So I can change the tracking, which would space everything out. But I actually think the default tracking looks pretty good. There's a few things I wanna go in and change manually, but I'll do that in a second. Everything that I wanna change is the font size. And I'm just gonna bump that up to, I don't know, something like 52. I just wanna make this kinda fill the space here, so maybe I'll just push this up a little more. Okay, that was, I overshot that a little bit, no problem. Something like that. Now also just trim this down using the region of interest down here, so I'll draw a rectangular marquee or a rectangle shape here. It's pretty much the only kind of shape that you can draw. And just kind of get this box really close to the text and then come up here to the menu, go to Composition and crop comp to region of interest. There we go. Now, this is basically all there is to it. Now, if you wanna get in here and make any changes to the individual characters, you can. For example, you may be, or maybe your client is particularly picky about how these characters line up. And they may say, well, I'd like this S here to be just kind of, be to the left a little bit. That's no problem, I just selected the S down here, and you can move it over with the arrow keys, until it looks just right. And you'll find that there are a few things, maybe this G-E-S here. So I'll just select the G-E-S, is not quite aligned exactly how you might want it to be. Maybe we pull the E over, just a hair. There, I think that's plenty good enough for now. The next thing I wanna do is, I wanna pull over my This changes everything comp into a new comp. I'm gonna hit the Enter key, and rename that to This changes everything_timed. And what I want to do here is, I wanna get the timing for this title right. It'd be too cumbersome to go back in this comp and kind of re-time everything. But if I drop it in this comp, right here, that's not gonna be a problem. Essentially, what I wanna do is make this faster, I'm gonna turn off transparent pixels here, before I get to work. And so what I need to do is enable Time Remapping. There's a keyboard shortcut for that, or you can just right-click on the layer here, go to Time > Time Remapping. The shortcut is Ctrl+Alt+T, if you prefer to do it that way. So to time-remap this, what I'm gonna do is just scrub here ,until I see the last dot come on. Yeah, so right about here, and then I'm going to add a key frame. And then I'll go to the end here, and select this last key frame, and I'll just get rid of it. And so now, I have my first key frame when the animation starts. And then essentially, the animation stops right here, because there is no other key frame after this. And so to get this faster, I'm just gonna grab this end key frame here, and pull it over here, to the left. And now it's gonna play really quick, and maybe that's still just a little too slow. I think I'd actually like this in about five seconds, so something like this, I think will work fine. Now, I don't really like the speed at which it's playing. Or I should say, I like the speed, but I don't like the end and the start speed. So instead of these linear key frames, I'm gonna change this to a Bezier curve. So essentially, what I want it to do is, I want the animation to start slower, and then pick up speed. And then I want it to sort of slow down at the end, so that I can see a little bit of this write-on effect, and that's super easy to do. We're just gonna select my key frames here, and hit F9 on the keyboard, and that's going to apply an easy ease. So just by doing that, it's gonna look a little better, but the end is still not slow enough for me. So with my key frames selected, I'm gonna jump into the graph editor here, and I'm going to select the ending key frame. I'm gonna grab this speed handle here, or this influence handle, and I'm gonna pull this out to, I don't know, 80-something. I think above 80 works pretty well, and I'm also going to select the starting key frame, and pull that out to the right. I'm also holding Shift while I do this, so that I don't kind of pull this off-kilter in any direction. And I'm gonna pull this out to about, I don't know, 50-something. And so what I'm looking at here, and you may not have the same graph, but I'm looking at the speed graph. There's another graph called the value graph, but most of the time, I like to look at the speed graph. And so essentially, the speed graph is showing you the speed of the animation. Where we're starting slow, it's kind of building up right here, and then we start to slow down towards the end. So let's check out what that looks like. Perfect, [LAUGH], that looks great, just like that, that's exactly what I wanted. I'm gonna jump out of the graph editor, and then I'm gonna show you how to kinda kick this up a notch. Because if you stopped here, well, you know how to use the project file, and you're good to go. Actually, before we jump any further, I should save this. So I'm gonna really quickly save this, that's a good thing to do. Normally, I save right away, but sometimes, when I'm recording tutorials, I forget. But always save your work often, save early and often, that's my motto. So let's say for a second, you have access to Envato Elements, you're following along in this video, you're having a great time. Well if you do have access to Envato Elements, you can download this project file. But also, you'll have access to a bunch of the other assets, and I found really cool backgrounds. That I'd like to show you, how we can use those backgrounds and those textures to really kick this up a notch. So one of those is this item here, it's called 21 Paper Textures, so I downloaded that. I also found this really gorgeous-looking watercolor paper backgrounds, and I downloaded that as well. And I'm gonna grab two of those textures, and pull them into my project. So I've already downloaded and unzipped those, and I'm just gonna grab one of these paper textures here. And I think I like this purple one here, I actually don't like the color of it. But you'll see, once we look at it more zoomed-in, it's got a really nice texture that I think works pretty well. And the watercolors here, I'm just gonna pick one, I think it looks pretty good. I actually like this one, I think that looks pretty good. Or maybe this one right here, man, they all look good. I'm gonna go with this one, I'm gonna pull this into my project, right here. And for the sake of organization, I'm just going to drop these in a folder, and name that Textures, all right? So now I'm gonna create a new comp, I'll call this Main Title, oops, and I am going to make this 1920 by 1080. In this, I only really need, I don't know, maybe 8 seconds long, something like that, I think that works. So to start, I'm gonna grab my Paper_15, and I'm gonna pull that down here, put that right inside the comp here. It's gonna take a second, cuz this is a pretty big image here., it's a lot of megapixels. And you can see, at 100% scale, this has a really cool look to it. It's got some nice texture, and it's very evenly lit, which is very nice. I'm gonna hit the W key, to bring up the rotation tool. And I'm just gonna rotate this 90 degrees, to make it more aligned with the aspect ratio of my project. I'm gonna grab one of the transform handles, and while holding Shift, pull that in. I'm gonna scale that down to, a little bit closer to the size of my project, something like that will work. Now, I don't really like this color, like I mentioned before, so I'm gonna apply some effects to change that. One of those is going to be a tint effect, That's gonna make this black and white. And another one is going to be a curves effect, so I'm gonna throw that on here as well. And I'm gonna brighten it up a little bit with the RGB curves, and I'm gonna jump into the red channel. And actually, I'm gonna leave the red channel alone, but I'll jump into the green channel, and I'll pull that down a hair. And then the blue channel, and I'll pull that down a little bit more than green, and then I'll make this nice kind of beige color here. And I think that looks pretty good to start. Down on my timeline, I'm gonna press the Enter key, and just rename this to BG. And that way, I know what I'm looking at here. Now, I'm gonna grab my this changes everything comp and pull that in. And I'll just resize that so that it kinda fits in the middle here. So you can see what I have going on so far, it's not spectacular, but we're getting there, right? What I want to do is I'm gonna pull down this water color texture, and I'm gonna put it below my title. I'm gonna scale that in so it just kinda covers my title. Maybe push it up here. And what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna use my title as an alpha matte. So if I hit F4, on the keyboard, I'm gonna change the 11. Actually, I'm just gonna rename that, Watercolor. I'm gonna change the watercolor layer to alpha matte. And what I do you, you can see that it's going to use the title as the alpha matte. And it's going to be using that layer's transparency to reveal the pixels in my watercolor layer. And you're saying, well, that doesn't look great, and it doesn't right now. But if we change the blend mode to something like, I don't know, Linear Burn, then it starts to look pretty cool. So we have kind of the colors of the watercolor layer, but we're seeing the texture of our paper behind it, and that looks pretty cool. Now we're gonna kick things up a little bit further by applying a rough and edges effect to our title layer right here. And now the default settings don't really work, but I wanna change this to spiky. I think that works pretty well, and you can kind of experiment with what you think works pretty well. I found that these settings work pretty decently, setting the Edge type to Spiky, the border to 3.5, the Fractal Influence to, I don't know, something a little bit less, maybe 0.5. The Scale, maybe turn that down to, I don't know, 60 something. What I'm looking here is just the have the edge broken up a little bit, and I think that kind of works. We can go back and adjust those in a little bit, but I think more or less that works just fine. Now, I'm gonna select these two layers here, and I'm gonna change their layer color to Purple. And then I'm going to duplicate them with Ctrl+D. And then on this bottom set of layers here, I'm going to change this to Green. And what I'm gonna do with this bottom set of layers is apply a few more effects here to get kind of a fatter kind of ink effect. So to start, I need a Gaussian Blur. So I'm gonna search for that here, and I'm going to apply that. I'm gonna pull that above my roughened edges. And I'm gonna turn that up to something like, I don't know, 15, 16, 17, something like that. And I'll just solo this up, so you can see what's going on here. Now, it doesn't really look like it's done anything, but to help it look a little bit nicer, I'm also going to add a curves, C-U-R-V, there we go, curves effect. And I'm gonna pull that up above my roughen edges, because these effects do render in a particular order. And I'm gonna change the channel to alpha, and then I'm gonna grab this top point here. And I'm gonna pull it to the left, and you're gonna see what that's gonna do. That's gonna fatten up this text significantly. So here's the kind of original inky sort of looking layer. And then here's our fatter looking layer over here. And this is getting in the neighborhood. The other thing I wanna do is I wanna duplicate my roughened edges effect. And so Ctrl+D on the keyboard, or you can come up here to Edit > Duplicate. And then I'm going to take this first roughened edges effect. And I'm going to push the Scale up quite a bit and then turn the Fractal Influence up kind of all the way. And then maybe adjust the border to really kind of give this a little bit more of a randomized sort of look. And you're gonna have to play with whatever you think kind of looks right. And it may involve maybe backing these down a little bit. Maybe increasing the blur. So that's kind of going in the right direction. And then what I do on the second kind of copy of the effect here is maybe turn up the border a little bit more. And I think that's just maybe too blobby. Yeah, something like that I think looks pretty cool. You can also experiment with a different edge type, maybe something like cut will work or roughen. I happen to think spiky looks pretty cool, but just kind of adjust things so that they look just a little bit more random and splotchy. Now, if it's for whatever reason you have everything set, but the splotches are in the exact right position. You can come down here to Evolution and just push the evolution of this, and then I'll move fractal effect, whatever kinda fractal is driving the effect. And it'll give you a slightly different result, and so I like that, I think that looks pretty good, that's a good place to start. I might also pull down the opacity on this, just a little bit. So now check out what happens when I play this. All right, we have kind of a neat effect here that looks like kind of ink splotching. So right now I'd give this kind of a C, it's looking good, but it's not looking great. So one thing that'll help, is if we get our text that's driving this sort of animation to do something a little bit nicer. So I'm gonna jump back into this changes everything timed layer, and I'm going to duplicate this a bunch of times like, I don't know, 30 times. I'm gonna make a whole bunch of copies of this. Yeah, 30, let's go with 30. And let's just solo the first one here. And on this first one, what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna apply an effect called Simple Choker. [LAUGH] And what I wanna do is I wanna increase the choke to kind of make this a little bit thinner. All right, so kinda like this. And watch what happens as this plays. You'll see it kind of starts with these little strokes here. And so the idea is I wanna make this pretty thin. And then I'm gonna copy this effect and I'm gonna paste it to the next layer. And on this layer, I'm just going to decrease the amount of chokes. So I made do, I don't know, something like 13, just have it kind of go down by twos. I'll paste it here, and have it go down to 11. And the next layer, I'll paste it and have this go down to 9, and so on and so forth. And then 1. So that's not gonna look great right away. However, what wanna do is I wanna sequence these layers. So I want this to start with this bottom layer here. And then the next frame, start with the next layer up, and the next frame, the next layer up. There's a really easy way to do that, I'm gonna start by selecting my bottom layer and scroll all the way up to the top, and hold Shift and select all the layers. And with the all the layers selected, I'm going to right click, go to Keyframe Assistant > Sequence Layers. I'm gonna select Overlap. And if you'll recall, this comp is actually one minute long. And so I'm gonna have an overlap of 59 seconds and 23 frames. And if I hit OK, what you'll see, hopefully, is that all of these layers are now one frame apart, which is really cool. So watch what happens when I play this now. We get this kind of fattening up effect. Which looks really, really cool. Now we can make this look even better, by changing the opacity of all of our layers down to 10. And now it will have a really cool look to it. Where it looks like it's kind of fading in a little bit, like the ink's kind of dropping. And if you look at it closely, it doesn't look that great, like if we zoom into 100%. However, when you look at the main title, And you see how this kind of animates on, It looks really cool. So this is gonna play a little bit slow. So what I might suggest is that you pre-render just this part. And so what I would do is go and just scrub along here. And actually, if you hit U, you can just go to the top layer and figure out wherever that ends. And then maybe give that, I don't know, another two seconds or so. And then you can press N on the keyboard, trim comp to work area, we'll just right-click right there. And then I'll just add this to the render queue. So I'm gonna press Ctrl+M. And I'm just gonna send that to Adobe Media Encoder. And then I'm gonna choose a format of QuickTime, and I'm gonna use the preset GoPro CineForm 12-bit with Alpha. The alpha's gonna be important because we need that alpha channel basically for the title to look right. And I'm gonna choose a spot for this to save. Click Save, and then get to start rendering. Hopefully, this should only take just a few minutes to render this out. I've now imported that back into my project. And so what I can do is, I can make a copy of this, in case I want to go back and change it. When I go back into the original, this changes everything underscore timed. And my layers are all selected, I'm just gonna delete them, and then in its place I'm just gonna pop my pre-rendered video. Which is gonna play back nice and quickly. And that's gonna make the next few steps go a whole lot easier. All right, so if I jump back to my main title, nothing's really changed, except that it's going to go a little bit faster, which is very nice. And check out how cool this looks. This has a very sort of convincing looking kind of ink bleed effect, which is pretty cool. Now, for some final touches here, what I might do is take all of these layers, And make them all 3D. And I'll also change my view here to Active Camera. And speaking of camera, I'm gonna go ahead and add a camera. And I'll make this a 1 node camera, 35 millimeter preset, and click OK. Pull that up to the top here. I also wanna add a null here to control my camera. And because there is a solids folder with 400 nulls already in it, I'm just gonna grab one of those and add it to my composition. I'm gonna click on it and make it 3D, and make it an adjustment layer, so it doesn't render white. I'm gonna rename it by pressing Enter on the keyboard. Cam controller, or that's short for cam controller. And then I'm going to take my camera and parent it to this null. And essentially, what I want to do for this little title here is I want to use this null as kind of a rotator. It's currently in the same position as all of these other layers. So if I rotate this on the Y, you can see that it's gonna rotate kind of nicely. So what I wanna do is, I wanna start at this kind of rotation, maybe something like, I don't know, 50 degrees. I will make it quite that drastic. And then pull up the camera's position and I'm gonna kind of push this in here and adjust the position to get nice and tight on this first character here that's beginning to animate. Something like that. I think, if I press AA, yeah. I think Depth of Field is on, I'm gonna turn this off for now, but I'll turn it back on in just a minute. I'll press P to bring up the position again and just set a position key frame here. And then I'm gonna go to the end of the animation. And what I'd like this to do is just kind of whip around here. So something like this. Maybe to this side, I don't know -50-ish, and then push the camera's position over here. Something like this. Maybe a little bit less. I wanna be able to kind of read it, something like that. I don't know, whatever looks kind of right. And also, just take this background here and increase the scale. That'll work as well. So something like this. And yeah, my text kind of beats my camera move, but that's not a big deal. Also might wanna do a little bit of z-rotation here as well. So maybe something like this, just for a little bit of added interest. And then when it gets to the end here, something like, I don't know, like that. Maybe push this up this way and over that way. Whatever feels kind of right. Then I'm gonna grab all my key frames, press F9, jump into the graph editor. And just like before, I'm gonna pull this handle out to 80 something, and then pull this handle to 50, or close to it. I don't know, that's probably fine. And then I'll just preview how this looks here. So kind of whip around, which is kind of nice, just to catch the end animation. And actually, I can pull these key frames, closer to the beginning here. So maybe I start this at closer to one second, so we can just see this starting to write on and just get to the end there. Pretty cool, I think it looks really nice. If you want to add Depth of Field, that would probably look pretty cool. You're gonna have to turn the Aperture up. I like to go something like, I don't know, 80 maybe, and then change the Iris Shape to Pentagon. Fast Rectangle renders very quickly, but it doesn't look very awesome. And then you're gonna have to animate the Focus Distance, because by default it's definitely not gonna be right. So I'm just gonna drop a key frame here and pull this back to, probably 800 or something in that neighborhood. Basically whenever you see that kind of sharp there, yeah, something like that. And I'll just easy ease that, and then I'll jump to the end here. And I don't know if I have to adjust it much here, but I'll just move it so it adds another key frame, something like that I think looks pretty good. And then I'll hop to the middle and just make sure that in the middle, I push this out so that it gets nice and sharp again. So we can kinda see in the middle, it's still acceptably sharp. So let's kind of preview this and see what we have going on here. I think this is gonna look pretty cool. That's pretty much it. I think it looks great. And if you wanted to, one thing that I think looks pretty cool is to take this blurred ink here and push this down a couple of frames so that we get the main kind of text coming in. And then the bigger kind of ink bleed sort of happens after that, right? I'm just gonna hit a, a on the camera, turn off Depth of Field for a second. So we can see this a little more clearly. So you can see that kind of bigger ink bleed is happening a little bit later. It kind of soaks in, or pretending. See that there, that looks pretty cool. Yeah, very cool. Now, you can turn motion blur on if you want, if that's your thing. We'll re-enable Depth of Field, and that's pretty much it. Now you're good to go. You've got a really slick looking title here, with this animated write on. And with these other assets that you can find on Envoto elements, you can get a really cool kind of ink bleed effect adding some effects in After Effects. Final step is to just add this to the render queue, name it whatever you like, and help to render wherever you want, and you're good to go. Well, that about does it for this tutorial. Thank you so much for watching. I hope you enjoyed what you saw. And I hope you learned a little bit in After Effects. Especially how to use this pretty cool looking animated typeface. Once again, my name is Dave Bode, for Envato, and I'll see you around. [MUSIC]

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