In this lesson, you'll learn about the write-on technique to animate handwritten text in Adobe After Effects.
To get started, go to the text layer of your project and pre-compose it by using the mouse and choosing Right Click > Pre-Compose, or by using the keyboard shortcut Control - Shift - C.
Double-click the text pre-comp layer to open it up.
Make any adjustments to the text here if needed and then pre-compose it again (here we are calling the new layer 'Text Fixed'). Make sure that you don't have anything selected and then select the Pen Tool.
Change the Pen Tool properties at the top by removing the fill color and choosing a nominal stroke width.
Now use the Pen Tool by starting where you would start if you were to actually draw out the handwritten text by hand on paper. The key to getting a very convincing-looking write-on effect is to draw the line how you would go about drawing this with a pen.
Click and drag using the Pen Tool and trace out the text. The idea is to use the shape layer to completely cover the text layer, but only just barely. It's very easy to cover if you increase the stroke value to an absurd amount, but you really just want it to be just barely covering it. Doing so will give you the best results.
Now sometimes when you get a break in the text here, what you can do is create a new shape or you can draw a line up very quickly to join it to the next letter. You want to do it at an angle, so that it starts at the top and it doesn't jump in at the middle of the line.
Continue tracing until you reach the end of your text. If you have any additional lines such as the cross of the letter 't' or the letter 'i' you can do so by creating a new shape and using the Pen Tool again to trace over it.
Next you will need to order these shapes. Under Contents make sure that they are in the right numerical order with the first number at the top and the last number at the bottom.
Select Contents and go over to the Add button and select Trim Paths.
Set it so that it animates Individually.
Open up each Shape Layer and change the following:
- Line Cap: Round Cap
- Line Join: Round Join
Once that's done, we can look over the shapes and make any small adjustments that we might need.
Select Trim Paths and move to somewhere around the three second mark in the timeline. Drop an end keyframe and set it to 100%.
Use the timeline to go back to the beginning and set the end keyframe to 0%.
Now set the Text Layer or the 'Text Fixed' Layer to Alpha Matte. Click on the Play Preview Button to see your handwritten animation.
From here we can start to make further adjustments to the animation to make it look better. First let's adjust the timing of the animation to two seconds to make it faster.
Then let's Easy Ease the keyframes (Right Click > Keyframe Assistant > Easy Ease).
Add Motion Blur to the Shapes Layer.
Now finally if you really want to perfect the look of your animation, you can create a small mask using the Pen Tool and cover over any imperfections of the animation on the text layer. As you close up the mask hit the S key on your keyboard to make the mask Subtract.
Move forward in the timeline to just before the mask is no longer needed, set a keyframe for the mask. Move forward one keyframe again and then move it away.
Do this for all the imperfections to create a perfect looking handwritten animation.
Congratulations! And that's how you can animate handwritten text in Adobe After Effects. Now that you've learned the basics, check out some of the other tutorials we have on Adobe After Effects below.
I hope you've found this tutorial useful and I'll see you next time on Envato Tuts+!
- How to Use Masks in After EffectsJonathan Lam18 Apr 2022
- How to Use Text in After EffectsJonathan Lam19 Apr 2022
- How to Export Video and Graphics From After EffectsJonathan Lam21 Apr 2022
- How to Use Alpha and Luma Mattes in After EffectsJonathan Lam21 Apr 2022
- How to Prepare Logo Artwork to Animate in After EffectsJonathan Lam22 Apr 2022
- How to Animate the Layers of a Logo in After EffectsJonathan Lam23 Apr 2022