Animated Lettering in Adobe After Effects | Megan Friesth | Skillshare

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Animated Lettering in Adobe After Effects

teacher avatar Megan Friesth, Motion Designer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      Class project


    • 4.

      Getting started in Illustrator


    • 5.

      Tracing letters


    • 6.

      Adjusting the path of your letters


    • 7.

      Getting ready for animation


    • 8.

      Adding connectors and extensions


    • 9.

      Importing AI files into AE


    • 10.

      Trim paths


    • 11.

      Non-script lettering


    • 12.



    • 13.

      Animating connectors and extensions


    • 14.

      Adding a texture


    • 15.

      Importing .psd file


    • 16.

      Animating textured lettering


    • 17.



    • 18.

      Adding colors


    • 19.

      Animate out


    • 20.

      Exporting (rendering)


    • 21.



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About This Class

Learn how to create a write-on style text or hand lettering animation using Adobe Illustrator and After Effects.

Lettering such an expressive form of art. Adding animation can really take your lettering to the next level. 

Animated lettering is not just for hand letterers. Animated text can be used in so many ways...

  • explainer videos
  • kinetic typography videos
  • music lyric videos
  • logos
  • lower thirds
  • title sequences
  • digital greeting cards (gifs to text to your friends)
  • websites
  • make your hand lettering stand out on social media

Not only is animated lettering a super useful technique, but its a great way to learn animation in Adobe After Effects. This class is designed for total beginners. You don't even need to be a hand letterer!

You'll learn how to:

  • use the pen tool to draw or trace a lettering design
  • add a texture to your lettering
  • prepare your lettering for animation
  • animate your lettering using trim paths
  • animate lettering with a texture using trim paths and masks
  • animate letter connections and extensions for a more interesting animation
  • quickly and efficiently animate your lettering out
  • add multiple color layers to your lettering animation
  • export (render) your lettering animation as a .mov, .mp4, and .gif so you can show off your work

Plus tons of time-saving tips!

If you've never used After Effects before, you may find it helpful to check out my free After Effects orientation video and guide first.

What you'll need:

  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Photoshop (if you want to add a texture to your design)
  • Adobe After Effects
  • Adobe Media Encoder (if you want to export a .mp4 or .gif)

Bonus video:

After this class, check out:

Find me online:

My website




Meet Your Teacher

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Megan Friesth

Motion Designer

Top Teacher

Hi! I'm Megan Friesth, a motion designer and illustrator from Boulder, Colorado. For my job I create explanimations-that is educational animations-and here I create education on how to animate! I have degrees in physiology and creative technology & design. By combining these two disciplines I create explanimations that help patients with chronic diseases understand complex medical information and take control of their health. When I'm not inside Adobe Illustrator or After Effects, I love traveling, running, skiing, yoga, and gardening.

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Level: Beginner

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1. Welcome: Welcome to animated lettering in After Effects. Lettering is such an expressive form of art and adding animation can really take it to the next level. Hi. I'm Megan Friesth, a Motion Designer and Illustrator from Boulder, Colorado. Animated lettering is not just for hand letters. There are so many uses for animated texts from explainer videos, kinetic typography videos, music lyric videos, logos, lower thirds, title sequences, digital greeting cards, websites and of course, to make your lettering stand out on social media. Not only is animated text a super useful technique, but it's also a great way to learn animation in After Effects. That's why I've designed this course for total beginners. You don't even need to be a hand letterer. I'll show you how to use Adobe Illustrator to trace or draw out a letter and design. We'll also use Photoshop to add a texture to our lettering. Then we'll jump into After Effects to animate it. If you've never used After Effects, the interface can look intimidating. Don't worry. You'll need to know a fraction of what's possible in this powerful software to create a stunning lettering animation piece. It's all included right here in this course. After you're finished with this course, you'll be ready to tackle more advanced animation courses. If you're ready to make some lettering move, let's get started. 2. Inspiration: The write-on technique that I'll be showing you in this class is a super useful way to animate all different styles of lettering. Here are a few examples. Notice how in all of these examples the line thickness of the letters is consistent throughout. This is called monoline lettering or a monoline prom. The write-on technique that I'll show you in this class works best with letters that have consistent line thickness. Of course, it doesn't mean that you can't animate lettering that has a variable thickness, but that's a topic for another class. You can find tons of inspiration on Pinterest. You'll find that the write-on technique is foundational for a lot of kinetic type. I'll put a link to my Pinterest board of animated texts in a note in this video. 3. Class project: For the class project, choose a verb, that's something you'd like to do, and a noun, that's the place that you'd like to do that thing. For example, explore Colorado, or ski Winter Park, or surf Costa Rica, or Netflix on my couch. You can put your lettering animation on top of a photograph or add illustrations or accents too if you want. If you have something else in mind that you want to animate but doesn't fit the theme, that's totally fine too. Don't forget to post your final animated lettering to the class project. Feel free to post your work along the way if you'd like any feedback. You can always reach out in the community page if you have any questions. I'll show you two different workflows to animate your lettering with the write-on technique. For the first technique, we'll use Illustrator to either draw the design or trace a photograph of your hand lettering. You can even use a font if hand lettering isn't your thing. The second technique, we'll use Photoshop to add a texture to the design. Both techniques, we'll be animating in After Effects. 4. Getting started in Illustrator: First I want to show you how to create your lettering in illustrator. I'm going to go and start a new file. File, new. I'm going to set my art board to 1920 by 1080 pixels. But you can do a different size if you want to, just make sure that it's a decent size. Then I also want to make sure that my color mode is set to RGB because this is going to be digital. I don't plan on printing it out. You can find those in the advanced color options if you don't want that already set. Then just go ahead and hit create. I have a new art board. There's a few different ways that you could go about this. The end goal is that you want to have a line drawn for each letter, or if your letters are connected, it can be just one line that you can animate in after-effects. Basically we want just a line of our letters that doesn't have any fill. It's just a line with a single thickness. We'll use that to animate in after-effects. There's a few ways that you could start. If you are a hand letterer, maybe you drew this out on paper first. You can take a photo or scan in your hand lettering and then drag the photo into illustrator. I'm not so much of a hand letterer myself, but I just did this really quickly to show you what I mean. I've dragged in this photo and you can resize it, make sure you hold shift when you're resizing to constrain the proportions. Then what you'll want to do is have it on its own layer. If you don't see the layers panel or any of these panels that I use over here. You can find any of them under window and you'll see them here. I have this layer with my photo. I'm just going to hit the lock icon right here next to the eyeball. That'll make sure that I can't move my lettering photo accidentally. Then I'm going to click this create new layer button at the bottom of my layers panel to make a new layer. Then I can start tracing with this new layer. One tip when you're taking a photo of your lettering is that it really helps to have some grid, like these dots here, so that you can make sure that you're holding your camera or your phone up to your lettering. Not at a weird angle. If you don't have a photograph, that's totally fine. I'll just delete this. I'm not actually going to use this photo because it's not that great. Another way that you could go about this is to draw out your letters with your mouse, if you're really good with your mouse, or maybe you have a wacom tablet. You can use this pencil tool right here to just draw your letters. That'll make a line with a stroke and no fill. If it doesn't, you can always go in and adjust it here. This slashed line means no fill. Then here I have a black stroke and you can adjust the stroke thickness here. Obviously change the colors if you want to. The last way to do this, if you don't want to draw your letters free form on the computer or by hand, is that you can actually use a font. I'm just going to go up to the type tool right here and click to start typing. Then I'll just type in what I want. Then I'll click the selection tool again to have my lettering be selected. Then I'm just going to hold shift and make this bigger. You can also adjust the font size up here. I'm going to use the font Montebello. Then I'm going to make sure that this is centered to my art board. I'll just go up to these aligned tools. If you don't see them up here, they're also under the align panel, which you can find under window. I'm going to align to my art board. With this icon, you can choose what you're aligning to. So odds-on, aligned to our board and then I'll just center horizontally and vertically. Then I'm going to lock down this layer and start a new layer. I'll hit the lock button next to this layer, hit the new layer icon down at the bottom. Now I have a new layer where I can start tracing out these letters to create a stroke that I can animate. 5. Tracing letters: First of all, I'm going to set my colors to have a stroke, and I'm going to change the color from black so I can actually see what I'm doing. Now to trace, I think it's easiest to use the Pen tool. The Pen tool has a little bit of a learning curve if you've never used it. But I'd highly recommend practicing this because it can be such a powerful tool. Go into your Pen tool up here or hit "P" on the keyboard. Then to create a line with the Pen tool you're going to click to make a point and then keeping your mouse held down, you're going to drag out to see these handles. Now these handles are going to be tangental to the line that you're drawing. That'll make more sense when you just go in and try it. I'm going to click, hold, drag out the handles, then let go, and then repeat that, so click and drag. You can see when I drag these handles, its adjusting where my curve lands on my page. When I'm happy with the curve, I can let go and just keep going. You don't have to make this curve perfect. You don't have to have it exactly aligned to your letters right now because it's really easy to go back and change things. I'll just keep clicking, dragging out and move it off there. It's totally fine, we can go back and fix things. Make sure that you're tracing your letters in the way that you want them to animate on. I want these letters to animate on as if you're writing them on paper with a pencil. When I get to this e, I want to make sure that I'm going around here first and then up to this e. I'm going to have to make this curve like that. When I get to the top of this t, I want to just turn around and go back the way I came. If you notice, I have a plus sign next to my Pen tool. That means that I'm going to be adding a point on my line and that's not what I want to do. I need to just go a little bit further away from my line so that I can make a new point. If you don't want any curves like at the top of this t, all you have to do is click and you don't drag. So then you don't have those handles, then just makes a sharp turnaround point. You can see on this are r I wanted the curve here, but I don't want it to have a curve at the top here. What I can do is just click on my point again and it'll take away that handle. I'm going to do that same thing again on the g where I click the point and then go back the way I came because that's how you would draw on a g. I'm not going to be able to get this exact the first time but that's okay I can go back and adjust the points. Then to finish off your line, you can just hit "Return" on your keyboard. If your letters look something more like this, you'll also want to trace them, but there's a couple little tips that will help you out. I'm going to use the Pen tool and then I'm going to go and just click to make points. I don't have to click and hold because I don't want these to be curved lines. Now when I get to the bottom of this A, I know that I want this point to line up with this other point on the other side of the A. It's helpful to know where exactly I should put this point. One thing you can do, I'm just going to delete this line, is go up to "View" and "Smart Guides" or hit "Command U". Then when I make this path, it's going to give me a little indicator line that's pink, that shows me that I'm lined up with the other point, so that can be super helpful. Then I'll say "Enter" to end the line. Then for straight lines, you can just hold "Shift", so hold "Shift" to make a straight line. Then I couldn't put this point right on this path because Illustrator would think that I want to add a point to this path. I just made it a little bit shorter and then I'll just take the Direct Selection tool and holding "Shift" I'll extend that line by making sure it's straight by holding "Shift". Then you can continue that with all of the rest of your layers. If you have duplicate letters, you can just copy and paste them. I'm going to click and drag to select everything in this area. Then I'm going to hold down the "Option" key while dragging this over and also hold down "Shift" so that I keep it in line. Then I'll just release and I have a duplicated A, I didn't have to redraw it. Now if you want to add to an existing line, if you just hover over a point with your Pen tool, you'll see a little slash line and that means that you're going to add to an existing point. Another technique that you can use if you have letters that have nice rounded portions, is you can use the Rectangle tool. I'm going to demonstrate on this D. With the Rectangle tool, I'm just going to draw a rectangle roughly the shape of my D. Then you can go in and round the corners with the Direct Selection tool. If I'll round all corners, I can make an O shape. But if I just want around a couple of the corners, select the corner and then hit "Shift" and select the other corner that you want and then you can just drag those corners in. Then that's about the shape of my D but I can always go in and adjust these handles. 6. Adjusting the path of your letters: To adjust the path that you just drew, go to the direct selection tool, which is the white arrow key or the shortcut is A. Then you can move around any of your points to adjust them, and you can actually zoom in by hitting Command and the Plus key to get closer to your letters. Now, before I go in and address my line, I'm going to actually make it thicker, so more closely aligned with my font. I'm just going to go into the Stroke panel and increase the thickness, until it lines up more closely. Let's go with 30, a nice even number. Now, the first thing you'll notice is that the ends of my line are a sharp end, whereas the font has a nice curved end. What I can do is just change the cap over here under stroke, from butt cap to round cap. Then also on the t, where I have a sharp turnaround, I have a straight line and I want it to be curved like the font. Under Corner I'll just hit from the hard corner to the round corner. Now, one other thing I can do to make my life a little bit easier here when I'm adjusting the letters is to make this line that I've drawn somewhat transparent, so that I can see the text underneath. I'll just select it with my Selection tool and then up here where you see Opacity, you just change that to 50 percent. Now I can see through it partly. Now, I'm going to go in with my direct Selection tool or/and the keyboard and just adjust the points so that my letters are a little bit more lined up with the text. You can take creative freedom here if you want to go a little bit off of how your text is, say on this L, I want to make this a bigger loop down here, because I think that might be cool to animate. I can do that if I want to. You can spend as much or as little time as you want adjusting your path, however perfect your path is, is totally up to you, but your path is what you will see animated. You won't be seeing any of the text layer. Now, you'll notice sometimes you want to put a point in a really precise place, but you're getting the snapping, and it makes it hard to get it exactly where you want it. If you go under View, you might have snap to pixel or snap to point on. Sometimes, snap to point can be useful if you want to snap two of these points together, but sometimes it's not. If it's not being useful for you, you can turn it off. I usually don't like snap to pixel on because I want to be a little bit more precise than that. I'll just turn that one off for now. If you feel like you need to add a point to your line, you can hit the Plus key on the keyboard or go up to the Pen tool, click and hold, and then you'll find the Add Anchor Point tool. This just lets you add a point to your path, and then you can hit A and go and adjust that point. Now, say you added a point that you don't actually want, you can hit the Minus key or also find the Delete Anchor Point tool under the Pen tool, and then you can just go in and delete that point. Once you've got your lettering traced and adjusted, go back and make sure that you don't miss any of the little dashes on the ts or dots on the i and things like that. For the dot on the i, am going to just go into the Ellipse tool. Then holding Shift, I'm going to draw a perfect circle by just clicking and dragging. Now, that made a circle with a stroke and no fill, but I'm actually going to want it the other way around, and I'll animate this differently in After Effects. Something like that. Then for the ts, these have just two straight crosses, but since I have two ts together, I think it would be cool to have a connected cross on these ts. I'm just going to go back into my Pen tool and just draw something out. I need to make sure that this has no field, but it does have a stroke. What I can actually do is hit i in the keyboard or use the Eyedropper tool, and then just select the lettering that I've traced and that copies the styling that I have on that to this path that I've just drawn. It looks a little funny because these ts are a little short. I'm just going to make them taller. I'm going to select both of these points by holding Shift and then clicking the second one, and then I'll just drag them both up. But I'm going to try to maintain that same angle that they're at. Then maybe I move this up just a tiny bit. That looks good. You can always hide your texts layer so you can see what your lettering looks like without the text. You might find that it has some little issues like this line is a weird bend right here. I'll just go back in and adjust that. I'm going to go back to my lettering layer and change this back to a 100 percent opacity. I'm going to hide my reference layer again. Then I'm going to add a background. I'll just go to my Ellipse tool, click and hold, and you'll see the rectangle tool. You can also just hit M on the keyboard. Then I'm just going to click anywhere on my art board, and it'll bring up this little box, and you can type in the dimensions that you want and hit "Okay". You could also just click and drag to draw out a box, but this way I know that it's going to be exactly the same size as my art board. Then I can center it, and then change it so that instead of a stroke it has a fill, then we would go in and change that color. Right now my rectangle is on top of my lettering layer, so I'm just going to make a new layer, drag my lettering into it by clicking this little square here and dragging it up, and then I'm going to drag this layer to the bottom. Then I can double-click and just name this Background. Then this layer that has my lettering, I'm going to change the lettering color to white. Then change this dot on the i to white as well. I've gone in and adjusted my path of the block layers. Now, you'll see a couple things here. On this n, I'm a little bit off. First I'm just going to fix that by selecting both of these anchor points by holding Shift between clicking them, and then hitting the Arrow keys on the keyboard to just nudge those points over a little bit. You'll see that I've changed the corners into a beveled corner. You can also have a pointy corner like this, but then it extends really far past the letter, or you can have around corner. I'm not really liking the beveled corners, so I'm actually going to change mine to round corners. But what you'll notice is that the round corners extend past the letters. First, let me just change everything to a round corner and a round cap. It looks like some of my letters are a little shorter A and A shorter. I'm going to go in and do some more adjusting. One thing that really helps when you're trying to get things all lined up is to use guides. I'm going to hit Command R on my keyboard to bring up the rulers. You'll see those around my art board. Then from the ruler, if you click and drag, you can bring down a guideline. I'm going to bring this guideline down to the bottom of my text. Then if you place your guide down, it might be locked and you can't move it, and if you decide that you want to move it, you can go in and do Guide, and then Unlock Guides. Now you can adjust it. I'm going put it at the bottom of my E and D, and then I'm just going to take all of these anchor points and just move them up so that the edge of the curve lines up with the guideline. Maybe I'll just move my entire A up. Then at the top, I'm just going to move that A up so that it lines up with the T. You'll see I'm going off of what the font looks like. That's okay because no one will see the font. Your guides, if they're not locked you can't actually move them. I'm going to go back in and lock that guide, and then just finish adjusting my layers. Don't forget you can use your Arrow keys to nudge things into place. I'm going to delete this A and copy this other A. Now, let's make sure my letters are lined up at the top. I'll just drag down a new guide, line it up at the top of the D and E and I'll keep adjusting. I'm happy with that. I can just delete my reference text layer. Then I can just select all of these by clicking and dragging to change the color of all of them. 7. Getting ready for animation: The last thing that I need to do here in Illustrator to get this ready for animation is to separate each piece that I want to animate into its own layer. For this particular text, all my letters are connected, so I'm not going to have as many pieces as I would if my letters were not connected, they weren't cursive. Right now I'm just going to have this lettering layer that has basically all of my letters and then I want to put my cross and my T in a new layer. I'll just click the "New Layer" button, drag that up, and then double-click to name it and then I'll do the same thing with the dot of my eye. Then the rest of this, I'll just name lettering. You can delete your reference text layer if you want to, or you can keep it there if you rather keep it for reference later. If you're working with letters that are not cursive they're not connected, then you're going to want to separate each letter into its own layer, or even each part of each letter into its own layer. I'm going to go into my one layer that I have right here and just click over here and you'll get a little square and then you're going to go up to this hamburger menu right above that and then go down to release layers to sequence and now you'll see that it's released each different piece, into its own layer. But all of these layers are nested under this Layer 2. The first thing that I need to do is take everything that's under Layer 2 and drag it up above Layer 2 and that's really important, you don't want any of your layers to be nested because in After Effects, they'll all be still under one layer and we want them to be all separate layers. Now, you'll see that I have this Layer 2 that has nothing in it, so I can just delete it. Then I have each piece in its own layer and I'm going to animate each of these separately and it's actually put my guide layers into their own layers as well and I don't need these guides anymore, so I'm just going to select those and delete them. Then I'm going to go in and name each part of my letter and make sure that the layers are in the order that I want to animate them just to be organized and make it easier when I go to animate. I want to make sure that this A is first and I'll name this A and then this will be A cross bar. Then if you have duplicate layers, just name them A2 or whatever the letter is and then A2 crossbar, and then make sure you save this file. When you're working between Illustrator or Photoshop in After Effects, it's really helpful to have all of your files for one project in the same folder or group of folders. I'm going to just save this in a new folder called Lettering Animation and I'll name this lettering and then I'm also going to put that into a new folder called AI, so that I'd have all of my Illustrator files in one folder. Then later I'II also create a folder in the same level that's called AE for all of my After Effects files. Now, if I go in and change where my lettering Illustrator file is located after I've already started using in After Effects, After Effects is going to come up with an error that it can't find the file that is looking for. You need to make sure that you're really organized and once you are using files in After Effects so you don't go moving them in your file structure. Just hit "Save" and you can just hit "Okay" for that message and you're ready to animate. 8. Adding connectors and extensions: You can also add pieces to your lettering that are animated but not in the final design. So for instance, in this Boulder example, you can see that between the B and the O, I added a line that connects the two letters. But in the final lettering, there's no connection. So what I did here to make this line is, in Illustrator, I just have this line as a piece. So it lines up with the B and it also lines up with the O, but it's its own separate layer. Then you'll also notice that I added a little bit of an extension to the B. So it comes in over here and then it continues to animate, and then I actually animate this line off a little bit, so it ends here. Let's take a look at that again. The B starts over here animates in and then it ends here. What you do in illustrator is, you just add a little extension to your line, even though this section is not going to be visible in the final piece. 9. Importing AI files into AE: Once you have all of your texts separated out into layers and ready to animate, then fire up after effects. The first thing you're going to do is go to File, Import, File, or hit Command I. Then just navigate to the file that you're looking for, and select it here. Then make sure you have Import As, change it from Footage to Composition, Retain Layer Sizes. If you aren't seeing these options, click on this option button down here. Composition, Retain Layer Sizes and then click Open. Now you can see that after effects is imported, your Illustrator artwork over here in the project panel. A quick tour of after effects. The project panel is where everything you import and then everything that you create is going to live. It's all of your assets. Then in the center here, right now you see new composition, but this is usually where we'll be seeing what we're creating. Then down at the bottom here, you have your timeline. Let me just open up this lettering file that I just imported from Illustrator. I'll double-click it to open it, and you can see down here in my timeline, I'm now inside this file, and I can see the layers that I had created in Illustrator. You can see across the timeline we have some time codes, and then you can see you have bars for each of these layers. Where you see one of these bars is where that graphic is going to be visible in your timeline. If I were to take this lettering layer, and then just drag the bar away, you can see that there's no bar here, and so therefore, you can't see out at this time in the animation. I can just drag my playhead along the timeline to see any animation that I've created. I'm just going to undo that, so I don't want to do that. The first step here is to just click on your lettering layer, right-click, go down to Create, Create Shapes from Vector Layer. Then what that's going to do is create a new layer. You'll see if you go into this layer, you have contents, group, and then you have this path, and that's the exact path that we drew inside of Illustrator. You can actually just delete this original lettering layer, because we won't need it. If you ever needed to get back to it, maybe you messed up something and you want to start over, you can find it under the folder in the project panel called lettering layers, it saved each layer here on its own. I don't actually need to do this on the dot on the eye because I'm going to be animating it in a different way, but I do need to do it on the cross and the t. I'm just going to Create, Create Shapes from Vector Layer, and delete this illustrative version. If you're working with non script lettering, you also need to do this step. This is a good time to mention the composition settings. In this file I didn't make a background, and that's okay, I can always make a background in after effects. But I'm just going to go into Composition, Composition Settings, or Command K, to bring up my composition settings. Here I can see that it's automatically made a composition that is the same size as the artboard I had in Illustrator. That's 1,920 by 1,080, and my frame rate is set to 30. That's what I usually like to animate on, it's best to always animate on whole numbers to make things easier for yourself, but you can drop down to something like 24, or even 15, if you want it to be more of a cartoony, jittery look. I'm going to stick with 30. Then you can also see that the duration of my composition is three seconds, and one frame. But I can always change that later when I know how long my animation is going to be. Then I'm going in and change my background color to white, just so it's easier to see, and hit Okay. Then I can actually go in, and click and drag to select all my layers, right-click, go to Create, Create Shapes from Vector Layer, and it's created all of those shapes at the same time. I can just go back in and delete the illustrator layers, because I won't need them for now. 10. Trim paths: Now that I've got my lettering layer converted to outlines, I'm ready to animate. I'm going to toggle down with this little triangle next to the lettering outlines. I'm going to toggle down again next to contents, and then next to group. I'm actually going to go over to 'Add' in this little circle, triangle button. I'm going to click that, and then I'm going to go down to trim paths. That's going to add another property under my layer. I'm going to toggle down here as well, and then you'll see start, end and offset. These are the things that you can animate to make your lettering right on. Right now the end is at a 100 percent. What I'm going to do is set a keyframe at like one second, and to set a keyframe, you're going to hit this stopwatch next to the property that you want to set. I'm going to hit the stopwatch next to end. Then I'm going to go back to zero and I'm going to slide this all the way down to zero. Now you can see that my lettering is gone. If I play through this, either by clicking the spacebar or by dragging my play head across the timeline. I can see that my lettering is writing on. Now you might have the same problem as me and that your lettering is writing on in the wrong direction. What you can do here is next to path, you'll see this little arrow and you can just switch that, and now my lettering is going in the right direction. You have a couple options with these trimmed paths. You could also animate your lettering in from inside to the outside. Let me just show you what that would look like. I'm going to click this stopwatch again to delete both of my keyframes. Then with my playhead at zero frames, I'm going to set my start to 50 and my end to 50. Then I'm going to hit the stop watches to create keyframes. Then I'm going to go ahead in time with my play head and then I'm going to set the start back to zero and the end to 100. Then when I play that back, you can see that the lettering animates from the center out. I actually wanted it the first way, so I'm just going to set this back to zero and I have an animating in. What I can actually do now is select the trim paths, hit "Command C" to copy, and then making sure that my play head is at zero, I can paste this animation onto the T cross. I'll just paste, and then if you hit "U" on your keyboard, it'll bring up all of the keyframes that you have on that layer. You can see I now have my end keyframes on the T. But the T is going super slow because it's much shorter of a line, so I'm going to just adjust the timing of that and maybe I even wanted to come on after the lettering is animated on. I can just select these keyframes by clicking and dragging over both of them to select them both, and then drag them over on my timeline and it doesn't need to take so long. Maybe I'll just drag this keyframe to the left, and let's see what that looks like. Now maybe I want my T cross to come on, maybe around here, so I can just slide those keyframes over. Let's see what that looks like. I think I'll keep it like that. For the dot on the eye, I'm going to animate this scale. If I toggle down to transform, you'll see that you have all of these different properties that you can animate. You could animate the opacity. It could just fade in, something like that or you could animate the scale or position, you can have it like bouncing or something like that. But I'm going to do scale, so I'm going to go probably about here, hit the stopwatch to make a keyframe for 100 percent and then go back in time and then I can just click on the value of 100 and enter zero on my keyboard. There's a few ways to step keyframes as you may have noticed, you can drag these sliders, or you can type in the value. After you've set your first keyframe on a property, the stopwatch will already be blue, and so you don't have to click the stop watch again. In fact, if you click the stop watch again, it'll delete your keyframe, so make sure you don't do that. Now I have my eye scaling up. Don't forget to save your after-effects file. You can go to "File Save" or "Command S", and then just navigate to where you want to save it. I like to have a project folder and then within that I have an illustrator folder and then I'll create another aftereffects folder. Then I'll say my aftereffects file within that. The reason I have a folder for my aftereffects file is that it'll auto save files and so it'll build up in this folder. I also like to duplicate my files in case when something gets messed up and I want to go back to an earlier version. 11. Non-script lettering: Now I'm going to animate this nondescript lettering texts. I'm just going to go in same as I did with the script lettering and go to Add Inter Paths. I'm going to toggle down and I'm going to try to make all the letters animate at about the same speed. If you think about the distance your pencil would have to travel. If you are actually writing these letters, you can see that the a has two segments and then the n would have three segments and then I would have one. I'm going to try to time that out accordingly in the animation. For the a since has two segments, let's just make it easy and use these time code guide. I'll make two segments be 10 frames. One segment will be five frames. I'll just hit the end stopwatch to create a key frame for a 100 percent at the n value. Then I'll go back to zero and bring this down to zero. Now the a is animating in. Then I'm going to animate the cross of the a. I'm just going to copy this trimmed paths, so Command C and then select the crossbar and hit Command V. Then if I hit U on my keyboard, it'll show me any key frames I have set for this layer. That's the one that I just pasted. This a crossbar is really short. I'm just going to take this last key frame and drag it to the left to make it a faster animation. Then when that leaves off, I'm going to start the n animation so I'll Command V, I still have that same trend paths copied, hit U and then I can see my key frames. Let's just make this easy and started at 15 frames. This N has three segments so I'm just going to bring this key frame to the right to make it have three times 5 frames, so 15 frames. Then I'm just going to adjust this key frame just a little bit. Then I'm going to do the same thing for the I. Command B hit U. The I has one segment, so I'll just bring this so it takes five frames on m. Same thing on the m. Let's say the m has three segments, so we'll make it 15 frames. Then the a, what I could do is just take this a and copy it, paste it, and move it over onto this a. If I had very precise animation on the first day that I did and I don't want to try to replicate that on the second one, but this is pretty straightforward s I'm just going to command V to paste the key frames. Command V again to paste those key frames and make that a little faster. Then I'll just keep going with that. Let's just see what this looks like. Remember if any of your letters are going the wrong way, you can just go in. Say I wanted this d to go in the other direction. You can just go in and switch the direction of the path and then it'll animate in the other way. I'm going to keep it how it was. If I just have no layer selected and I hit U on my keyword, that will bring up all the key frames that I have on all my layers. Then this little mountain slider thing down here, that lets you zoom in on your key for him so it just expands your timeline. I'm going to bring that all the way to the zoomed out end so that I can see everything on my timeline. Let's see, this takes a little over three seconds to animate n. I think it's a little bit slow. Maybe I want my animations to overlap all over it. What I can do is just go in and select both of the key frames by clicking and dragging on top of them and then I can just move them over a little bit. Maybe like that, move these ones over. Making sure that the word is still going to animate on in the same order so letters that are after a are not going to start before a. I'm just making sure that I'm not bringing these ones too far to the left, but bringing them more overlapping. There's no right or wrong way to do this. You could have your letter start from the inside out. You'd have everything starts at the top. Everything store at the corner. You can do this however you want. Just play around with it and see what looks good to you. Let's take a look at that. Okay, looks like my, i and my m a little too close. Let's see. That's going to be this guy and this guy. I'm just going to take these key frames back a little bit and this one might be a little close to. You can actually select key frames from different layers at the same time. If I click and drag over all of these key frames, I can just move them all back at the same time and you can always drag your play-head over your timeline to see it in slow motion. 12. Easing: Let's add some easing to our keyframes to make our animation a little bit more interesting. So if you don't know what I'm talking about easing, let me just show you a quick example that I've set up. So I have two shapes that are going to move just across the screen, and right now you can see that they have these little diamond keyframes, and those are linear keyframes. If you go into your graph editor, to select your keyframes first, go into graph editor, you can see a graph of the position of the keyframes, over time. So since this line is straight, it means that they have the same speed the whole time. The nice thing about the graph editor is that you can actually see different kinds of graphs. This is the value over time, and this is the speed over time. You can see here that the speed is a constant like 540 pixels per second. Easing is when your animation is not linear. I'm just going to ease these keyframes on the purple circle. I'm just going highlight the key frames. Right-click. Go down to keyframe assistant, and then easy ease or the shortcut is F9. Now you'll see that I have a different shape of keyframe, like an hourglass. If I play this back, you'll see that at first the purple circle is going slowly, then it speeds up. You can see that because it catches up with the other one, then it goes slow again. If I look at that in the graph editor, I can see that it has this nice arc on the speed graph. So at starting out slow, going fast in the middle and ending out slow. You can also look at the graph of the value over time, if that's easier for you to understand, if you're wondering why there's two lines here. The red line represents the x position and the green line represents the y position. Since I don't have any movement in the y axis up and down, that's why that line is straight. It's not changing. So this is what putting easing on your keyframes means. You can adjust the easing too. One way to do that is to go into your graph editor by clicking this button right here. Then you can click on this graph and actually adjust the handles. Now let's play this back. It's going to go really fast and then really slow. You can adjust these in whatever way you want. This is shoots out and then goes real slow or it starts slow, and then it goes fast. Let's ease the keyframes on our lettering. I'm just going to click and drag over all my keyframes to select them. Then right-click keyframe assistant, easy, ease. Let's just play that back. It's looking a little bit more interesting. One thing we can do is just adjust the graph editor. Let's go to the speed graph. Then I'm going to click and drag at the bottom of the graphs, to select all of these points, and then just take the little handle and drag it to the left. Let's get that about, like that. Then we're going to take the other handle and drag it back just a bit. Now let's see what that looks like. I'm liking what that looks like. Now I'm going to move on to the word lettering. Again, I'm just going to click and drag over all my keyframes to select them. Then right-click on any of the keyframes. Go to keyframe assistant and easy ease watches. Take a look at what this looks like. I think it's a little bit fast because all of this hole chunk of letters is connected. It's going pretty fast in the middle of those letters. I'm just going to go into these key frames in the graph editor and just take this down a little bit, so I'll make it a little bit more linear. I'm holding down the ''Shift'' key to make sure that I will move this handle up or down. I'll do the same thing at the end. We'll make the handles about the same size. So go ahead and add easing to your keyframes. Now that the graph editor can be a little bit intimidating if Aftereffects is new to you. Remember that you can always use those presets, know if you just select your keyframes, go down to keyframe assistant, and then easy, ease. There's actually a couple of other presets that you can use, which are easy ease in an easy ease app. First I'm going to just set these back to linear keyframes, to make sure that I'm not combining any easing. To do that, I'm just going to have them selected, and then click on a keyframe, while holding command. That'll just set your keyframes back to linear keyframes. Then with those keyframes selected, I'm going to right-click, go to keyframe assistant, and then easy ease in. Then I'm going to go to the graph headers. We can look at what that did. What I see here is that it's going to start animating pretty quickly, linear at the beginning, then at the end it's going to taper off and slowdown. If I just undo that and then I'm going to show you what easy ease out looks like. That's just the opposite. It starts off slow, ramps up, and then at the end it's linear. You can always use those three different presets, if you don't want to mess with the graph editor. But I do recommend mastering the graph editor, because it can really enhance your animations. 13. Animating connectors and extensions: A few videos ago, I showed you this Boulder Colorado example and how you can have extensions or connectors between your letters. In this video, I'm going to show you how to actually animate them. So you can see on this B, I have a little bit of extra length to the B. It's starting way over here, but then it finishes over here. Let's go into that comp and let me show you my key-frames. We're looking at this part of the B. I'll just hit this little box under the dot and that means that I'm only going to see this layer, it's soloed. Now you can see that's the only thing that shows up and that can be a good way to focus what you're looking at. This end of the line is considered the start of the line and you can see the start of the line, starts at the start. So that's at zero percent. So I have a key-frame for the start at zero percent and the end is this end of the line. So that started at zero as well. So I have key-frames for the start and end at zero percent, and it animates in because the end of the line is going to 100. So that means the end of the line is going to be a 100 percent through. It's going to be at the end of the actual path. Then you can see that the start of the line is going to end up at 19 percent, which is right here. As this animation plays, you have the end going to 100 percent and the start just going to 19. So while it's animating on, it's also animating off just this little amount, and that's the same thing that I did with the top as well. Then for the connection between my two letters, I have this little line doing a little loop to loop coming up, and then it just disappears. Let's look at those key-frames. You can see that the beginning, I have both my start and end set to zero, so nothing is showing. Then the end of the line is going to animate up to a 100 percent, so that means that it's going to be on this end of the path. But then the start is also going to end up at a 100 percent. That means that my line will have disappeared, but it will in that time have traveled through this path. But if you set both the start and end key-frames to start at zero percent, end at a 100 percent and both the key-frames start and end at the same place and you have the same easing on them. So I'm just going to command, click on these key-frames to get rid of the easing. You'll notice that you don't see anything. That's because the start and end are at the exact same place, so nothing shows up. Let me just undo that and you'll notice that for one I have different easing on my key-frames and you can see that here. I've also staggered the start key-frame so that the start gets to 100 percent a little bit after the end of key-frame does. That way you can see this line grows a little bit and then it shrinks, and then it's disappeared and that's because it's just a connector between two letters and I don't want it to actually show up in my final design. In my animation of the word lettering, I didn't actually add any extensions or connectors, but now that I see it, I think it could be cool to add a connection at the end of this G that extends past the G and goes into the dot on the I. So I didn't make this line in Illustrator, but it's not too late I can do it in after effects. So I'm going to show you that now. So I'm just going to go up to this top toolbar and grab my pen tool. Then just like in illustrator, I can draw a line but I don't want this line to have this purple fill. So I'm just going to go up to the top where it says fill. Click on "Fill" and then you'll get this little option box and you can just hit the "No Fill" button. I want this to have a 30 point white stroke, so I've already set white in my color picker and then stroke I can just set to 30. Now you'll notice that it has a bug cap at the end of flat end and I wanted to have around and like the rest of my line. So I'm just going to toggle down in my Shape Layer into Content, Shape, Stroke and then change the Line Cap to a Round Cap and if I go and click on the "Top level path" right here where it says Path One, I can go in and adjust the points on my path. Now if you click the bottom one, the one with the stopwatch next to it, you're going to have your whole path selected and you can move the whole thing. Just be careful that you select the right one for what you want to do. Click on Path and then just make this a little more round. So now I'm going to animate this line coming up and then going over to the I, but also animating the start end of the line off. It's just like a little streak that goes over to the I and so I'm making this a separate piece from my word lettering because I want this end to animate off at the same time as it's animating over to here. First I'm going to add a term path to this line. So clicking "Add" and then "Trim Paths" and then let me find out where my fluttering finishes. It's about here. So I'll just set a key-frame on the start and the end of this new extension. Then I'm going to hit you on the keyboard just to give me some more space. Then I'm going to drag the end of the line down to zero percent. Then move forward in time maybe about here and then the end is going to be at a 100 percent and start will be also at a 100 percent. Now you're not going to see anything because these have the same easing and they both start at zero and go to a 100. So I need to do is offset the start of my path, so I can just drag both of the key-frames over and now you can see that the line is showing up. So if I just take this start key-frame and put it at the same point as my end key-frame. My line is going to start real small and then grow. Let's make this look a little bit better by adding some easing. So I'll just click and drag over my key-frames, right-click and go to Easy Ease. Let's see what that looks like. It looks a little fast, so I'm just going to select the two end key-frames and drag them out a bit. It's looking better, what if I want my line to be a little bit bigger, so it's a little bit more noticeable. If I drag this start key-frame forward in time, you'll see that it makes the line a little bit longer because the start of the line is going to take a little bit longer to animate out. So we'll just see what that looks like. Let's make sure that the dot of the I is not going to come in before the line. So it's as if the line is making the dot come in. Also if you look really closely, the line is not quite lined up with the dot. So I can actually just go back and adjust my path just a little bit so it lines up better. Maybe about like that. Now I want to make sure the dot on the I and that those key-frames are starting maybe about here. Let's see if that looks right. Yeah, so like the line comes in and it causes the dot on the I to come in. I also decided to add an extension to the L, so then my animation starts and finishes in a similar way. I did this extension on the L just the same way as I did the connection between the G and the I. You'll notice that I had to move my layers forward in time to fit in this new animation at the beginning. So go ahead and see how you can add some little interesting connectors or extensions to your letters to make your animation a little bit more interesting. 14. Adding a texture: If you want to animate lettering that has a texture, I'll show you how to do that now with this Explore Colorado example. If you already have a Photoshop file with your lettering texture you can skip this video. In this video I'm going to show you how I went from my design in Illustrator to a textured Photoshop file. Then in the next video we'll learn how to animate it. I created my design in Illustrator so, I'm going show you how I can get it into Photoshop. If you already have your design in Photoshop, but it's just not textured yet, you can just hold tight for a few seconds. I've separated out all the pieces that I want to animate into their own layers. To get from Illustrator to Photoshop, the first thing we need to do is go to File, Export, Export As then you're going to want to make sure you change the file format to a PSD file, and then just hit Export. You can change your resolution to 72 pixels if you want to, and make sure that you have right layers checked, and then just hit Okay. Once you've exported your PSD file, then just Double-click it to open it in Photoshop. The first thing I want to do is group all of my layers. If your layers aren't separated out and they're already altogether, then you can skip this step. I'm just going to select from my tree to my E, to all of the design layers, but not the background. Right-click and go up to Group From Layers. I'm just going to name this, lettering. An easy way to get a texture is just to take a picture on your phone of something that has texture to it. I've taken this picture of my sidewalk and I'm just going to drag it into Photoshop. The first thing I'm going to do in my layers panel, just double-click to unlock the layer. We need to convert this to a black and white layer that we can subtract the black pixels from our design, the lettering design. I'm going to first go up to Image, Mode and then Grayscale and just hit Discard. But we actually don't want any grays in our picture, we just want blacks and whites. I'm going to go to Image, Adjustments, Levels or Command L, then I'm just going to drag these level sliders until I get a mostly black and white image. Remember that the black parts are what you're going to be cutting out of your design. That looks pretty good to me, so I'm just going to hit Okay. Next, hit Command A to select all, Command C to copy, then you're going to hit Delete to delete everything. Hit Q to enter Quick Mask mode, and if you go to your Channels, you can see that there's a Quick Mask there, then hit Command V to paste and it looks pinkish, that's okay. What we've done is just pasted the black areas into this Quick Mask and then hit Q again to exit Quick Mask mode. Make sure that you have everything selected and it looks like it's moving like mine, and go to Select, Inverse then go up to Edit, Fill, and then just add a black fill. Make sure you have selected black here and hit Okay. Then you can hit Command D to deselect. Now what we've done is deleted all the white areas in the image, and we just have these black pixels. Let's add this texture to our lettering. Hit Command A to select everything, Command C to copy, and then go over to your Lettering file and hit Command V to paste. Then I'm going to click on my layer and hit Command T because my texture is way bigger than my lettering piece. I'm just going to shrink this down and try to position it in a way that the texture is going to look good on my letters. Then just hit Enter when you're done. The next thing you want to do is move your texture layer and your lettering into the same group. First I'm just going to name this, texture. Then selecting both of these I'm going to right-click and hit Group From Layers and I'll name this textured lettering. Then I'm going to toggle down into my group, double-click on the texture, and then in Advanced Blending, right here, I'm going to set the Fill Opacity to 0 and the Knockout to Shallow and then just hit Okay. Now you can see that it's added the texture to my lettering. If you want to add a solid edge to the edge of your letters like I did in my final design, I'll show you how to do that now. The first thing I'm going to do is go into my Textured lettering group, then I'm going to duplicate this lettering group, or you might have it as just one layer. Right-click, go to Duplicate, and then I'm just going to name this lettering edge. I'm going to drag it out above this group so that it's not within the group. Now I'm going to double-click on the lettering edge that I just created and then under Advanced Blending, I'm going to drag the Fill Opacity to 0. Then I'm going to go into Inner Glow, you can change the amount of noise if you want to, I'm going to leave mine at 15. Make sure that your Technique is set to Softer and that your Source is set to the Edge. You can see a little preview of what it's going to look like here, or actually on your image as well. If you have the Preview button checked. If you wanted, you could actually have it in the center if you like that one better. I'm going to keep mine on edge and then you can just adjust the Choke to make your solid line thicker. You can adjust the size to make it a bigger or smaller fade. I'm going to leave mine with these settings and hit Okay. Now if you look closely, you'll notice that on the Explorer we can see a lot more of the rough texture within the layers. But since our Colorado and our sun rays are thinner strokes, than the Explorer layers, we can't really see that much texture at all. I want to adjust the texture for just these layers. What I'm going to do is just duplicate this lettering edge group. I'll duplicate group, and I'm going to make this lettering edge thin for thin stroke. Then my other one, my original, I'm going to make lettering edge thick. Then I'm going to toggle down, and let's just hide everything with the lettering edge thick layer in the background. Then I'm just going to delete everything that's not a thick letter, so I'm going to delete the Colorado so the C O, all of these. I'm going to delete the rays. Then I'll close that up, hide it and show my lettering edge thin, toggle down, and I'm going to delete all of the thick layers here. So E X and the trees and the sun. I'll toggle this back up and show all my layers again. Then I'm going to go into the Inner Glow of the lettering edge thin. I'll just double-click that and I'll bring back up this box. Then you can just adjust the choke and the size so that it works better for your thinner stroked letters, maybe something like that, and then just hit Okay. At this point, make sure that you've saved your file, then it's actually a good idea to make a duplicate at this point in case you want to go back and edit any of the texture or the edges that we've just created because what we're going to do next is going to make it uneditable. I'm just going to go and just duplicate this PSD. I just saved it so, I'm just going to hit Command D and then name this editable. Then I'm still working in my same Explore Colorado PSD, what I'm going to do is select all the design layers, so everything but the background, and then right-click and hit Merge layers. Now what I have is all of my design on one layer. It's important to bake in your texture like this, because if you were to import it into After Effects how we just had it with the three different layers, After Effects wouldn't recognize that inner glow. This is why we need to do this step. I'm going to rename this layer and save my file. Next we're going to go and animate this in After Effects. 15. Importing .psd file: The first thing we need to do is import all of our files into After Effects. I'm going to go to File, Import File or command I, and then just select the PSD file. Make sure I have Import As set to composition retain layer sizes. If you don't see these options, just click on this option button down here, and then hit, Open. Then just choose again editable layers and hit, Okay. Then if I go over to my project panel and double-click the Explore Colorado, I open up my Photoshop file and I have the two layers that I hadn't photoshopped, the design layer and the background. If you created your design and illustrated it, you're going to be able to save some time here. I'm going to show you that first. I'm going to go command I to import my Illustrator file. Select the Illustrator file, make sure I have Import As composition retain layer sizes, and then hit, Open. It's named this Explore Colorado 2, because I already had a comp, which is my PST file called Explore Colorado. I'm just going to go into my Explore Colorado 2, which is the AI version. I can see that I have all of my illustrator layers separated out, just like I had that in illustrator. Now, if you didn't start in Illustrator and you don't have this Illustrator file, what you can do is within the Photoshop comp in After Effects is you can just go in, and trace all of your letters with the pen tool. What we need to do is create a line that we can animate. We can animate these letters on. I'll show you how to trace these letters in After Effects. Go up to your top panel here with all of your tools and select the Pen tool, which is this one right here, and you're going to go in and make sure that your stroke up here is set to a color that you're going to be able to see that's going to show up on top of your design, and don't worry you won't see this color in your final piece. Then you don't want to have a fill, so click on the word, Fill and then click on the, None option and click, Okay. You're just going to draw with the pen tool like you would in Photoshop or Illustrator. Just try to trace your letters as close to they are in the original version as you can. But don't worry about being perfect the first time you do this because it's really easy to go back and adjust. You want to trace each piece of your letter separately, so now I have the E. I'm going to go back to my selection tool. The shortcut is V, and then I'm just going to go in and adjust these points, so it's a little bit more lined up. If you need to select your path again because it got de-selected, you want to go down to your shape layer that you just created, toggled down and then go down to path. You just want to select that layer right there, and that will select the path so you can edit it. If you toggle down and select this bottom layer path, you can actually move the whole thing if you were a little bit off for some reason. Selecting this top layer path let's you adjust the actual points. Say you wanted to add a point because you can't really get this exact with the points you have here. What you need to do is go up to the Pen tool, click and hold, and then go to add vertex tool. If you need to subtract a point for any reason, you also have the delete vertex over right here. I'm going to add vertex tool and then just add a point here, and then I'm going to go back to my selection tool so I can adjust these points. You'll notice that the ends of these lines are flat and I want them to be rounded. What I can do is go into stroke then where it says Line Cap, change it from Butt Cap to Round Cap. Then I'm going to toggle up on the Shape Layer. Just hit, Enter to name it. I can type, hit enter again, and then I'm going to select anywhere on my timeline that's not the E, so that it's de-selected, and then I'm going to repeat that process with the Pen tool to draw the rest of my letters on. Now, if you have an Illustrator file like I do, you don't have to trace all of your letters again. I'm just going to delete these two layers, and I'm going to go in to my illustrator version, which is the Explore Colorado 2. I'm going to select all the illustrator layers except for the background. Then I'm going to right-click, go to Create, create shapes from vector layer. Then it's created outlines, which are lines that I'm going to be able to animate. They're basically the same exact thing is the shape layers that I was just drawing. I'm going to copy all of these layers by hitting Command C, then go back into my Photoshop version to hit Command V to paste them. This is a good time to save our file, so hit Command S to save. I'd like to have a main folder where I keep everything for the project, and then I'll have a folder within that folder for Illustrator files, Photoshop files or anything like that, and then I like to have another folder at that same level for After Effects files. I have that folder right here and I'm just going to name this, and hit, Save. It's important that you keep all of your files organized when you're working between Photoshop, Illustrator, and After Effects. Because if you move one of the files that your After Effects project is sourcing, it will have a missing file error and then you won't be able to see your design. Make sure you stay organized and don't move around any files once you've got going in After Effects. 16. Animating textured lettering: At this point, you should have traced all of your lettering or use your Illustrator file to create shape layers of all of your letters. Now we're ready to animate. I'm going down to the E. I'm just going to sell this layer, so there's not as much going on on screen. I'm going to go to toggled down, go to add trim paths and then toggle that down then I have the start and end values. I'm just going to set a key frame about there for the end to be at a 100 percent, go back to zero and then drag the end all the way to zero percent. You can see the ease animating and in the wrong direction. I'm just going to go into my group, go to my path and right here, you see these two little arrow directions. I'm going to switch which one is selected and now it's going to animate in the right direction. To [inaudible] very similar to what I showed you when I showed the world of lettering. We're going to actually animate this the exact same way. But you might be wondering, how we are going to get that texture to show up. We're going to end up using mass. But first, let's just worry about animating these letters on. What I can do is just select these trim paths, command C to copy them. Go into my next layer of [inaudible] that too so I can see it and hit command V to paste. If I hit U on my keyboard, I can see any key frames that layer has. Now I have both the E and the X animating on. Then I'm just going to stagger these key frames so that they start a little bit later. This is a shorter line, so I probably don't need the animation to last quite as long. I'm just going to drag that to about there. Then I'm going to solve the P and paste the trim packs, hit U to see the key frames and let's see what that looks like. My P has two pieces and you can see that they're both getting the trim pass effects at the same time. If I don't want that to happen, say I want one to animate after the other, I can change this trim pass multiple shapes from simultaneously to individually. Now you'll see that the belly of the P animates first and then the line. The lines actually going not the way that I wanted to, it looks like that's group two. I'll just change the direction and that looks alright. Another thing I can do is if I want these to be staggered, like the straight line of the P is animating right now. Well, this part of the p is animating on, I can just duplicate this layer. Then I'm going to delete the group one from this one and go into here and delete group two. Basically now I have just separated those two out. If I hit U on the keyboard to see my key frames, I can just stagger these. Maybe the line comes first and then the round part of the P comes second. They're a little bit staggered now. Then you just want to repeat this basic process on all the rest of your layers so that everything is animating in with trim paths. I'm going to do this cooking show style and come back in a second with all of my letters animating in. But first I just want to show you something you can do on letters like the O. I'm just going to show that one, then I'm going to go in and I'll just paste those trim paths again. Then I'm going to go toggle down into my trim paths. Notice how the O is starting from the right side over here. What if I wanted it to start at the top?I can use this offset value to adjust where my line is along the path, so I'll just bring it up to about here. Now as you can see it's on the top and goes around. Another thing I can do is animate the line moving. Well, it's animating on. I'm just going to set a key frame for the offset and then go a little bit forward in time, not going to go all the way to this key frame right now because I want to be able to see what I'm doing. I'm just going to drag this offset value to the right a little. You can see that moves a line along the path. Then I'm going to line up these two key frames that I made on the offset with the end key frames. Let's see what this looks like. You can see that as it's animating on, it's also moving a little bit. It just makes your animation a little bit more interesting. I've animated all my layers and I just want to point out a couple of things to you. The first thing is on these rays, each ray has multiple pieces. I set the trim paths to trim multiple shapes individually. Then I had to make sure that the direction of these was the right direction so that they would animate from the inside out. For some of the layers, I actually had to rearrange the layer order of these two groups. Because now you can see that I'm going to have the far one animate in first and then close one. Take note that the layer order here matters for how your lines will animate in if you have the trim path set to individually. Right now all of my ray layers come in at the same time and I actually want to stagger them. I'm going to show you how I can do that really quickly. I think I'm going to stagger them from the right side to the left because you see this explore Colorado animating and from left to right. Then this nice arc on the R and the E, it's going back up. It's pointing your eye towards the sun. It would be cool if I had the rays start over here this way. Then I'm going to have Colorado animating from left to right again. That leads your eye all the way around the whole piece. Makes like a nice spiral shape, that your eye is going to follow when you're watching this animation. One quick thing is that I've color coded my layers. You can do that really easily by just clicking on the colored box on your timeline. Then you can choose any of these colors from the list. To start with these ray layers, I'm going to select the first one, then hit shift and select the last one. The order that you select these does matter. Make sure that whatever you select first you want to animate in first. The first thing I need to do is trim these layers so that they only last one frame. I'm going to hit option and the right bracket key to trim them to one frame each. Then I'm going to right-click, go to key frame assistant sequence layers, and hit okay. You can see that it's staggered all my layers in this nice waterfall. I don't actually want them to just last one frame each so I'm going to drag out all the layers to last the full length of my timeline. Now you can see that they are staggered when they animate in. 17. Masking: At this point you should have your design animating in. But we can't see the texture, because we're just animating in the shape layers that are solid strokes. I have my texture here, and it's just hidden right now, but this is my texture layer. I need to make my shape layers reveal this texture layer. What I'm going do is select all of my shape layer, so everything that has animation on it, so that's all of these layers, so basically, everything but the background and the textured Photoshop layer, and I'm going to hit Command, Shift and C, and that'll bring up this pre-composed box. What I'm doing is moving all of these layers into their own composition, and I'm just going to call this animation, and I have move all attributes into the new composition checked. Then I'm going to hit Okay, and then you can see that it's condensed all of those layers into this one composition, and if I double-click this composition, there's all my layers and my animation. What you need to do now is go back into your main composition where you have your background, your texture layer, and your animation layer. On this Photoshop texture layer, you want to go over to Track Matte, and if you don't see Track Matte as an option, hit this button that says Toggle Switches/Modes, down here. You can see that, that shows and hides your Track Matte option. Then where it should say none right now, you want to change that to Alpha Matte animation. Now notice that when I made this an Alpha Matte, my animation composition was automatically hidden for me, and now you can see that my animation is revealing the texture layer below it, because I'm using this as an Alpha Matte. 18. Adding colors: Let's make the final animation, how there's a dark green line that animates in before the white line animates in. If I pause it, you can see very clearly like right here, there's a darker green line that's leading the white line. Make sure you all get that effect. In my composition, I have my pre-comp that is my animation that is revealing the texture layer. What I can do is to duplicate my animation and my texture layer, selecting both and then hit "Command D". Then what I'm going to do is just drag these two layers, a couple frames in the future. Then I'm going back to my first version, the one that comes in first. I'm going to select the "explore colorado" because that is the thing that is visible right here. I want to make that the dark green line, or you can make it whatever color you want. I'm going to go over to my "Effects & Presets" panel, and if you don't see that, just go up to a "Window" and make sure that "Effects & Presets" is selected. Then in my effects and presets panel, I'm just going to type fill. Basically just do a search for fill, and then you want this one 32 fill and just take this and drag it on top of your textured Photoshop layer. Now you can see that it's added a red color on top of this. I'm going to have this affects controls over here. If you don't see that again, go to "Windows", so you can see your effects and controls, then where it says "Color", I'm just going to click on the red square and change it to whatever color I want. I'm going to use the eyedropper to sample my background color and then just drag to make it darker, maybe something like that, then just hit "Okay", and let's play this back. Now we have the green line leading the white line. You could do this step as many times as you want to get like a rainbow of colors that animate in. Just remember that whatever is on top is going be the thing that is seen. Your layer order definitely matters down here, whatever you see on top is the thing that's going to be shown here. My white is covering up my color. You can use the same technique to add colors even if you aren't using a texture. I am going to add a color to this example too. I have everything in this one comp called lettering. What I can do another way instead of pre-composing is I can just take this comp, drag it down here onto the new comp button, then you'll see that it's made a new comp for me. It called it lettering 3. I'm just going to select it, hit "Enter" to rename it, and then you can see that it's made a new comp with my original lettering comp inside. If I click on this, I have the background in this layer. If I were to duplicate and stagger, my background would be blocking things out. I'm just going to copy this background and delete it from this comp, go back into my comp I just made. You can see that now we have the lettering but no background. I'll just paste that background, bring it to the bottom. There we go. Now, I'm going to duplicate my lettering and just bring this one forward a few frames. Click on the bottom one, go over to "Effects & Presets", search for fill, drag the fill onto that layer, change it from red to another color, maybe something like that, and then let's play this back. If I wanted, I could do this again, I'm just going to duplicate that, and maybe let's make the first one the darkest one. You don't have to use the same monochrome colors. You can always change it up more than I am. But now we have a total of three colors. 19. Animate out: We're almost done here, but our animation is not animating out. Let's tackle that now. There's a couple of ways that you can do this very easily. The first thing that we could do, is select the top animation composition, then duplicate this layer by hitting "Command D." Then I'm going to right click on the top layer, go to time, time reverse layer. What this is going to do is take the whole layer and basically play it in rewind. If I just solo this layer, it starts off with the whole design there and then it's going to animate out exactly the same way as it came in just in reverse. We can use this to animate our lettering out. Let's see where it starts to animate out. About here. What I'm going to do is, I want to mark this spot. What I can do is hit "Control 8" to set a marker. You can also go up to "Layer," "Markers," "Add Marker." I'm actually going to drag the beginning of this composition so that I'm peeling back the layer of the composition. I am not actually moving the composition and I'm also going to put that on this marker because I don't want to see this layer before it starts to animate out. This is just animating out this layer and it's not unreviewing any textured layer, so what I need to do is just duplicate the texture and it just automatically moved to where I wanted it and it did set itself to Alpha Matte. I'm already set to go. I need to make sure that I hide this animation layer, so that my texture can see through. Where this marker is, it's going to start animating out but that's too soon because it hasn't even animated in at that point. I'm just going to move it, it looks like it's done animating in there and then it can start animating out there. But you're not going to see any animation out because all of these other layers are still visible. What I need to do, is trim these layers. I'm just going to select all of the layers that need to be trimmed. That's not one of the layers that needs to be trimmed. I'm going to hit "Option" and the "Right Bracket "key to trim those layers. We're running out of time for this to animate out. I need to make my composition longer. I'm going to hit "Command K" to bring up my composition settings or you can go to composition, composition settings. I'm just going to go down to the duration and make this longer. Let's just do 10 seconds and I'll hit "Okay." Now we can see the rest of this. I would need to drag out this texture layer so that it's the same length as the animation layer on top of it. Let's play that back. A couple of things are wrong. First thing is that my background layer didn't last the whole time. I just need to drag that out. The second thing is that you can't see my green line anymore. That's because somehow it accidentally got hidden. Let's play this whole thing back one more time. When it animates out, there's no green line that leads the way and you could do that by duplicating these layers and then staggering them and coloring it green, just like we did for the beginning. I don't actually want to do my animation out this way because it seems like it takes too long for an animation up to me. I'm just going to delete this. I'm going to go back into my animation comp and animate it out there. Let's see. How long does it take to animate in? It's about four seconds. I'm going to go to five seconds. I'm just going to set a marker on my timeline so I remember where I start animating out. With nothing selected, I'm going to hit "Control 8" to set a marker on my timeline. You can actually add a note to your markers. If you just double-click the marker and you can type. Now, what I want to do is copy all of my keyframes and then just reverse how they animate. I want them instead of animating from here to here, I want to animate them backwards from here to here. What I need to do is just copy all my keyframes and reverse them. Unfortunately, you're going to have to select your keyframes layer by layer and copy and paste them. Unless you have this super handy plugin called motion 2. I don't have any affiliation with the people that make motion 2 and actually there are motion 3 now, I just haven't updated. What you can do with this is, hit "Clone." There's a ton of other really useful tools that I use every day. That's why I am telling you about it. What you can do with motion 2 is, instead of having to copy individually for each layer, you can just clone them all at once. Now, if you tried to just copy all of these keyframes at once, Command-C, Command V, after effects will paste new layers, and that's not what I want. That's why you need motion 2 or to do it individually. I'm just going to select all of my keyframes on all my layers. We're going to go back up and check to make sure I got them all, and then I'm going to hit "Clone." What motion 2 has done is just pasted all my keyframes, starting at my time indicator. I need to make my comp longer. I'm going to hit "Command K," just to make this 10 seconds and now I can see all those keyframes that I just pasted. I'm going to select all the keyframes that I just pasted. Then right-click on any of the keyframes. Go to keyframe assistant, time-reverse keyframes. This is essentially the same thing that I did when I time-reverse my layer, but I'm just doing a keyframe level now. You can see my design is back and now it's going to animate out, the same way that it came in, but at a keyframe level so the animation looks different. The first thing that animated in was the E, and that's also the first thing that animates out. It's a little bit of a different effect than when I reversed the whole layer, but it's still going to take the same amount of time because my keyframes are still spread out the same amount. What I want to do from here is adjust my keyframe so that they're not so spread out. I want to make this animation faster. What I'm thinking I'm going to try is dragging all the keyframes so that the last keyframe ends up on this five second out marker. Unfortunately, this is a little bit tedious because you have to do a layer by layer. I like the way that this looks. I like how the start of the animation out is all kind of staggered, but it all ends at about the same time. I'm going to go back into my original explorer Colorado comp and then drag out these layers so they last the full time. You'll see that you don't really see much of that green showing through. I think I want to have this animate off a little bit later, so let me go back in, select all my keyframes. Let's just make it so the first keyframe that starts animating out is on that out marker that I made. I'm going to go back into the main comp. Lets take these two layers that make up the green line. I'm going to hit "Command" shift "D" to cut my layers, and then I can go ahead in time a little bit so I can see where the green would show up. Then just adjust these layers, so that the green shows up a little bit more. It's going to be something like that. Let's take a look. I think that looks good. 20. Exporting (rendering): Let's export this file s, o we can view it outside of After Effects. I'll show you how to export a few different types of files and MOV and mp4 and a GIF. Out of the three options, MOV is probably the best quality, but also the biggest file size, mp4 is very universal and it's compressed, but it still holds its quality, so it still looks good. An mp4 is great for posting on Instagram. Gif are great for using on websites because they'll play automatically without a play button and you can make them loop. First I want to make sure that my composition doesn't have any extra time, where nothing is happening. I'm just going to trim this at six seconds. Now, one way you can do this that's really quick, is just hit Enter on your keyboard. This brings your work area to where your play head is, the end of your work area. If you've noticed on your timeline, you have this gray bar and that's your work area. When you're playing things back in After Effects and you see this green line, that means that it's RAM previewed. So it's basically calculated what all of the frame should look like and it's playing it back, as it will in your final animation. You might notice that the first time you play something through, you didn't have the complete green line and took a few times for it to play through before it played through nice and smooth. Where your work area is, is the only thing that's going to play when you're previewing in AfterEffects and also when you render it out into a final video format. You can just leave it like this and it'll render just this section, or you can actually cut your comp if you don't want to have that extra, doesn't really matter that much, but I'm just going to right-click on my work area and say trim comp to work area. That'll just do exactly as it says. So now I'm going to go up to composition, add to render queue. Then you'll see that it opens up this tab in the timeline. This is where you can put in what settings you want. So I'm going to go to format options. Make sure I have Apple progress 4.2.2. Hit Okay and hit Okay again. You can see here it's going to make an MOV file. If you click on your project name, you can choose where you want to export this to. I like to export my animations into a folder within the rest of my project folders and I just like to call it out, that way I know that it's a final thing that I rendered out. I'm just going to make this Explore Colorado and hit Save. Then in order to start the render, you want to hit this Render button right here. You've got that lovely noise, and then you can navigate to where you saved it and double click and if you're on a Mac, it'll open in QuickTime and you can play it out. Now let me show you how to export an MP4. Now you actually can't export an MP4 from AfterEffects, which is a little weird to me, but there's a way to do it and it's pretty easy. So I'll just go to composition, add to Adobe Media Encoder Queue. So you do have to have that installed on your computer first. It's going to open up Media Encoder. What media encoder is, it's just basically rendering machine. So you can see that in it's Queue, it has this explore Colorado file that I just sent to it. You want to make sure that you have the right file type. So just click right here. Then you can go in and change the format. I like to use H.264. You can see that this is exporting an mp4. If you have audio, make sure you have this button checked. But since I don't, I'm going to just uncheck it, and then just hit Okay, and then click on the file path to decide where you want to save this. Hit Save, and then click the green play button to render. Now I have an MP4 file. You can also just drag in an existing file into the media encoder to change the format. Now you'll see that this is going to convert it to an MP4 from an MOV. You can also export a gif from media encoder. So if you click on your file format, then you can choose animated gif from the list. Then just render that out. Then to play back your animated gif, just drag it into a web browser. It should automatically loop forever. 21. Wrap-up: Thanks so much for joining me in this course. I hope you've had as much fun as I have, and I hope you feel more comfortable in After Effects. I can't wait to see your lettering animation, so don't forget to post them to the class project. You can find my work at or on Instagram @explanimated, and tag me there if you post your lettering animation. If you've enjoyed this course, it would mean so much to me if you left a review, and if there's anything you're itching to learn, let me know. Until next time, happy animating.