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How to Animate a Bounding Box Reveal in After Effects

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In this After Effects animation tutorial, we will look at how to animate a bounding box reveal in Adobe After Effects by using an example project.

Creative Title Example Animation

First, let's take a look at how the reveal animation in After Effects is put together by looking at this example animation from Envato Elements. You can download it in the link below:

Creative Titles PackageCreative Titles PackageCreative Titles Package

Let's just take a look at what that box does. So we start from a small, skinny line which grows into a thin horizontal box.

animation exampleanimation exampleanimation example

And then it grows upwards while staying thin.

upwards and thinupwards and thinupwards and thin

Then from that point it grows out wider.

grows widergrows widergrows wider

How to Create the Animation in After Effects

All right, so let's try to replicate that in Adobe After Effects. In this project, I'm going to go about 2.5 seconds forward in the timeline. 

2 seconds in the timeline2 seconds in the timeline2 seconds in the timeline

Open up the box shape options and set a keyframe for Size. This is going to be the final width of my box.

create size keyframescreate size keyframescreate size keyframes

Then move back down in the timeline, somewhere around the 1 second mark (timing is not very important at this point), and make it skinny, like in the example video.

create second keyframecreate second keyframecreate second keyframe

Move back a little bit further in the timeline and make the box wide. You also want to reduce the height a bit.

next keyframenext keyframenext keyframe

For this keyframe, I'm not going to make this value zero because if I make the y value zero, we lose part of the stroke on either end. If this gets animated, it will look strange and will have a "bump-out" effect. So let's leave the value at 1.

Pull the keyframe to the very beginning of the timeline.

go back to the beginning timelinego back to the beginning timelinego back to the beginning timeline

Open up the stroke options and create a keyframe for the Stroke Width.

Press U on the keyboard and focus on the keyframes in these properties because those are the ones that we've modified so far.

keyframe for strokekeyframe for strokekeyframe for stroke

Move the keyframe for the stroke width that contains a value of 20 to the middle.

move keyframe to the middlemove keyframe to the middlemove keyframe to the middle

Then, at the beginning of the timeline, create a new Stroke Width keyframe with a value of 0.

create new keyframecreate new keyframecreate new keyframe

Now, if you preview this animation so far, you'll see that we have the foundation of what makes up the box reveal animation in After Effects. However, the animation doesn't look great because these are all linear keyframes.

animation so faranimation so faranimation so far

If we select all those keyframes and hit F9 on the keyboard, this will easy ease them so that the animation looks better.

easy easeeasy easeeasy ease

However, we still need to adjust the curve. So with the keyframes still selected, click on the speed graph icon to enter the speed graph.

speed graph buttonspeed graph buttonspeed graph button

Now we can adjust the keyframes by pulling on the handles at the bottom so that it feels similar to the example video.


Once you are happy with the speed of the animation using the speed graph, we can also tighten up the animation by moving the middle keyframes closer to the beginning of the timeline. 

make animation fastermake animation fastermake animation faster

The next thing we need to do is add the text. The text slides in from the left, but the top line is moving first, followed by the middle line, and then finally the third line slides in. 

Now, text layers and After Effects have a whole bunch of extra animation properties that you can enable or disable. So let's click on the Add button and select Position.

select positionselect positionselect position

If you open up underneath the range selector in Advanced, we're going to change the Based On parameter, and instead of Characters, we're going to select Lines.

select linesselect linesselect lines

This means that it will animate according to the lines of text (e.g. line 1, line 2, line 3).

Change Units to Index, and now if you play with the Position value, you can see how the text is animating the lines individually.

animate the linesanimate the linesanimate the lines

Now, right at the point where the final keyframe is, when the box reaches its final size, I'm going to insert a position keyframe (this is not the position of the entire layer, it's just modifying the position of each one of these text lines).

insert position keyframeinsert position keyframeinsert position keyframe

Move to the middle keyframes and offset them so that they make a diagonal line. You can see the little "x"s in the image represent where all the characters are.

adjust middle keyframeadjust middle keyframeadjust middle keyframe

Go back to the end keyframe and insert a position keyframe (this is the position of the entire layer).

position keyframeposition keyframeposition keyframe

And then go back to the middle point of the animation with those two keyframes and push the text off to the left.

push to the leftpush to the leftpush to the left

And now, if you preview the animation, it should match the reference animation. To finish this off, all we need to do is select the keyframes and hit F9 on the keyboard to easy ease them.

easy ease the keyframeseasy ease the keyframeseasy ease the keyframes

Then go back into the graph editor and adjust the speed to about 90% of the incoming influence.

graph editorgraph editorgraph editor

The final step is to add a nice-looking background. I've downloaded some really cool-looking backgrounds from Envato Elements which we can use for this project. Simply import one and place it above the black background.

You can download the background I've used by clicking on the link below:

abstract backgroundabstract backgroundabstract background

Hit Control-Alt-Shift-G, which is the keyboard shortcut to resize the layer to fit the composition's height.

fit layer to compfit layer to compfit layer to comp

Apply a Fast Box Blur effect to the background layer so that it doesn't compete with the contrast of the text layer.

blur the backgroundblur the backgroundblur the background

Another effect that looks even better is the Camera Lens Blur. It contains more effects, but it's more intensive to render.

camera lens blurcamera lens blurcamera lens blur

You can also add a Curves Effect to the background.

curves adjustment curves adjustment curves adjustment


final animationfinal animationfinal animation

Congratulations! And that's how you can animate a bounding box reveal animation in Adobe After Effects. Now that you've learned the basics, check out some of the other tutorials we have below.

I hope you've found this After Effects animation tutorial useful, and I'll see you next time on Envato Tuts+!

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