Animating With Light | Jake Bartlett | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

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

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.

      Course Trailer


    • 2.

      Preparing the Artwork


    • 3.

      32 Bits Per Channel


    • 4.

      Building the Sign


    • 5.

      Color Management


    • 6.

      Building The Glow


    • 7.

      Using Incompatible Effects


    • 8.

      Making Adjustments


    • 9.

      Little Details


    • 10.

      What Are Hold Keyframes?


    • 11.

      Getting Organized


    • 12.

      Final Prep Work


    • 13.

      Traditional Neon Animation


    • 14.

      Taking The Animation Further


    • 15.

      Polishing It Off


    • 16.

      Exporting A Video


    • 17.



  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

In this class I'll show you my own method for simulating light in After Effects. You'll learn how to turn any text, graphic or animation into a neon sign, building completely custom glow effects. We'll also go over lots of tips and tricks for animating with shape layers, using precompositions to make a procedurally generated effect, a simple expression rig for color management, and lots more! Once you understand how to simulate light you'll be able to add an extra level of realism to any design or animation.

This class is designed for artists who have some experience with After Effects, but it's not required. As with all of my courses, you'll be able to follow along step-by-step with my videos even if you've never used the software before. But if you'd like a beginner's intro to After Effects first, check out The Beginner's Guide to Animating Custom GIFs, or Hand Lettering In Motion.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Jake Bartlett

Motion Designer

Level: All Levels

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Course Trailer: Hey, I'm Jake Bartlett and this is animating with light. In this class I'll teach you how to simulate light and After Effects using my own techniques for making motion graphics that appear to be illuminating. For the class project, you'll be re-imagining the name of your favorite fictional restaurant in the form of a neon sign. I'll show you step-by-step how to create a completely custom glow, animated neon sign traditionally, and then get into some more advanced animation techniques. Along the way, I'll cover how to make a procedurally-generated effects using [inaudible] , as well as a simple method for color management that will help boost your efficiency in after effects. This class is for anyone who's interested in motion graphics, it's a good idea to be familiar with After Effects. But as with all of my classes, I'll walk you through each step of the process so you can follow along even if you're new to the software. I'll see you in class. 2. Preparing the Artwork: Before you do any design work, I want to show you how I built my own animation. This is my final project and I was really going for a traditional neon sign look. So not a lot of animation going on, just turning layers on and off in sequence. But to be able to animate this way, I wanted to set up my artwork in a way when I was designing it, they would make this process much easier in after effects. If I jump into the Illustrator, this is the artwork as I designed it to bring into after effects. The stroke thickness and the colors of each line aren't really that important. I wasn't concerned with if these were going to be the final colors, what I was concerned with was making the objects that were going to be the same color in the end, the same color inside of Illustrator. That way I knew everything that's going to be red, everything that'll be yellow, and everything that'll be blue. Next, I had to think about what I wanted to be able to turn on and off independently from everything else. For instance, I want this outline to be separate from this line here, so that I can turn each one on and off simply by changing the opacity of the layer inside of after effects. Right now they're both on the same layer. What I need to do is separate these out into two different layers. I'll take this line plus this line over here because this is part of the same layer, select both of them, cut by pressing Command X or Control X on a PC, then I'll make a new layer and press Apple F or Control F to paste exactly where it was already positioned. Then I'll rename this, inlines. Now, this layer right above it has three different colors on the same layer and I know that I want to animate each one of those colors separately. I'm going to add to this layer yellow, then I'm going to take the red from the word, cut, make a new layer, Apple or Control F, rename this "Bob's-red", then do the same thing for the blue. Now, we can turn each one of these layers on and off independently. Because they're in separate layers in Illustrator, when I bring them in after effects they'll be separate layers there, and I'll have much less organization to do once we go to animate it. After you finish creating your design, make sure that you set up your file in a way that will make things easier for you and after effects. If inside of Illustrator you can see how your animation is going to play out just by turning layers on and off, that's a good sign that your file is set up well for after effects. 3. 32 Bits Per Channel: Let's jump back into After Effects and rebuild my sample project. The foundation of this entire effect and my method in general for simulating light in After Effects is based on using 32 bits per channel color, and I'm quickly going to try and demonstrate to you what exactly 32 bits per channel is. By default, After Effects compositions are set to eight bits per channel, and you can see that right down here. What that means is that for all of the color generation, the depth of the color is set to eight bits. In the case of this white ball, the fill color is pure white, which is made up of red, green, and blue values. Since it's pure white, all three color channels are set to the max of 255. If I were to bring this all the way down to black, the values would go down to zero. If I bring this all the way up to the top right corner, blue and green are still at zero, but red is now at the max of 255. That's because this is pure red, and as I change the hue, you can see that their color values are changing. Any color you make inside of eight bits per channel, it's just a combination of red, green, and blue values between zero and 255. If I wanted to make a blue light, I wouldn't go to pure blue like this because that doesn't look very bright, I would probably shift this over, so it'd be a brighter version of the blue, and then maybe add a glow on top of it and add some more effects so that it looks like it's a little bit brighter. Now if we switch our color depth from eight bits per channel to 32-bit, our colors are going to behave a little bit differently. Now inside of After Effects, there's a couple of different ways of changing your color depth. One is clicking on this number right here, and then coming to the depth menu item inside this window, and clicking on 32 bits per channel and then pressing okay. Another way you could do it, is holding Option or Alt on a PC and clicking on this button, and that switches to 16 bits per channel, and then one more time will bring you to 32 bits per channel. That's really the quickest way to switch, Option or Alt and then click on the numbers. Now something very important to take note of, is that this is a project wide setting, not specific to a single composition. If you're working in a project file that has multiple compositions, and you switch the color depth, it's going to affect everything in that project. The reason that's important is because the color depth affects how all of your colors behave and work together. Also, some effects are only compatible with 8-bit. If I open up the color correction tab, you'll see that on the left side of all of these effects, there's a little icon with a number inside of it. Curves, for instance, has 32 in it, that means it's compatible with 32-bit, Colorama is compatible with 16-bit, but color link is only compatible with 8-bit. If I were to apply this to this circle, and look over here in the effects palette, you see this little warning icon. That icon is telling you that this effect is not compatible with the current color depth, and it's probably not going to behave the way that you're expecting it to. Now sometimes this isn't an issue and sometimes it is, but we shouldn't have to worry about that right now. I'm going to go ahead and delete this effect and change the color of this layer again. If I put it at pure white, you'll notice that now instead of having a max value of 255, each color channel has a max value of one, and the minimum value is zero. Any color is a range between zero and one. But if I were to make this pure red again, and I move this window out of the way so we can see the ball. If I click and drag on the one, you can see that I can actually increase it past the value of one, and if I were to grab this green and increase that as well, that's going past a value one, and maybe I'll grab the blue and increase that as well. Even though we're seeing a pure white, because R, G, and B are all set to values over one, you can see that there's color data inside of this window. Now why is that? If I hit okay, all we see is pure white. But if I were to grab this fast blur and apply it to my layer and then blur this out a little bit, you can see this is actually producing a glow. What would normally be pure white, is actually getting this yellow tint to it, and on the inside, we're getting this fall off, making this look like it's a bright light. If I go back into the color and I take out some of the green, you can see that the hue is shifting to being more orange and the color is updating to be like that as well. If I increase the red, we get an even more intense glow, and the higher you crank up these numbers, the brighter your light source appears. If I turn this off, and back on, you can see how much of a difference that made, and if I switched back to 8-bit depth, you can see that now we just have a blurred out circle. If we go back into 32-bit, our glow is back. This is what makes 32-bit color depth so powerful. Another really cool thing, is it if I duplicate this ball and move it over, you can see that as I'm moving this, the two objects are warping into each other, switching back to eight bits, you can see that interaction doesn't really happen between these two objects. But because these are light values that are blooming out from the source, as they get closer together, they blend together. Hopefully that gives you a little bit of an understanding of what 32-bit depth is. 4. Building the Sign: Now we can start building our neon sign. I'll start by importing my artwork and making sure that import kind is set to composition. The footage dimensions are layer size, not documents size. I'll press Okay. That'll give me a composition with my artwork. Size to what my document was set to inside of Illustrator. I designed this in 4 by 3, but I actually want to make it 16 by 9. I'm going to go ahead and make it HD while we're at it. I'm going to go to Composition, Composition Settings, type in 1920 by 1080. Frame rate, I'm just going to set to 24, and duration of 10 should be long enough, but we can always make that longer, if we need it. Then I'll press Okay, and now my artwork is not filling out my composition. Because all of the layers have different anchor points, I can't just grab all the layers and scale it up. So with all of my layers selected, I'm going to pick whip, the background layer so that everything scales off at that point, and then I'm going to press Option Command Shift G or Control Alt Shift G on a PC, and what that does is scales the layers height to the height of your comp. Now this background was just for reference inside of Illustrator. I don't actually need it inside of After Effects. I'm going to go ahead and delete it, and I'll give myself some more room and fit this composition into the window. As you can see, all of my layers are separated out, just like I had them inside of Illustrator. Now is a good time to save. Now at this point, I want to convert all of my artwork to Shape layers inside of After Effects so that I have some more control. I get asked a lot, why don't just leave my layers as Illustrator files? That's because as Illustrator layers, I don't have access to things like the stroke width and the color, and the ways that I can animate them, are very limited compared to shape layers. I'm going to go ahead and select all of my layers by pressing Command or Control A on a PC, and then right-click on them, and scroll down to create shapes from vector layer. This requires CS6 or higher. This converts all my layers into Shape layers exactly as they were inside of Illustrator, but now I have complete control over the styling of the paths. I can change the stroke width and the color to whatever I want. 5. Color Management: The first thing I want to do is set up some controls for my colors. This isn't required at all, but it's a little bit of an efficiency booster. Since I have multiple layers that I want to be the same color, adjusting all of them at once could be a little bit time-consuming. Instead of selecting everything that's red one-by-one hoping that I don't accidentally click on something that's not red, I'm going to make a control for the color red and link everything that I want to be red to it. I'm going to go up to Layer, New, Null Object. Now Null Object doesn't do anything on its own. It doesn't render, it doesn't affect anything else, it's just an object you can use to control other things. I'm going to move it off the screen and then I'm going to come up to my effects and go down to Expression Controls, and add Color Control. That opens up the Effects Controls and gives me a little color picker. I'm going to rename this by clicking on it, pressing Enter and typing in red. Then I'm going to duplicate this by pressing Command D or Control D on a PC and rename this blue, and then duplicate it one more time and rename this yellow. Now I'll grab something that's yellow, copy this color value, and paste it into the value for the yellow color picker. Then I'll do the same thing for the blue and the same thing for the red. Now I have these three color values that are identical to the color values I have for my artwork. What I want to do is link the red color of each one of these layers to the red color of this color picker. I'm going to start with this top layer. I'll solo it and zoom in and then open up the Layer Contents. As you can see, we have a whole bunch of different groups inside this single layer and that's because it's put every one of these paths into its own group and giving each group its own stroke. Since every path is styled the same way with the same stroke width and the same color, I don't need all these different groups. What I want to do is merge all these paths into one group. To do that, I'll switch to my pen tool, select one of these paths, then hold down Command or Control on a PC to temporarily switch to the selection tool and click and drag a selection around all the paths, cut by pressing Command X or Control X on a PC, selecting the first group and pasting by pressing Command V or Control V on a PC. Now all of my paths are in that single group, but they're underneath this stroke so none of the paths are getting that stroke styling. I'm actually going to bring this outside of the Group and straight into the Contents. Now that it is applied to all of our paths, I'll collapse that first group, and delete all the other groups. Now if I adjust the stroke width of the single stroke, all the paths are updated, and I have one single color value for the entire layer. Now if I come to my null and bring up the effects by pressing E on the keyboard, we can see my red, blue, and yellow effects. I'll open up the red and come back down to the color value on this stroke and then hold option or Alt on a PC and click on the stopwatch which will add an expression to that value. Then I'll grab the expression pick whip and drag it up to the color value of the red effect on that null and I'll let go. An after effects then automatically fills in the code that it needs to reference that value. Then I'll click off of this expression, and now these two values are linked. If I change the value of this color, nothing actually happens because it's referencing the value of this color. If I come to that color and change the value, now that color updates. I'll undo and collapse this layer, then I'll unsolo it. Now we'll do this same process for everything that's red inside of my composition. Starting by moving all of the paths into a single group and then linking the stroke color to the appropriate stroke color on this control null and to make things even a little bit easier, since the expression is already written on the stroke of this first layer, I'll just copy it and then paste it in the contents of that layer and that expression on the color value is preserved. I'll continue doing this for all my other red layers. Now in the case of these flames, I accidentally left the yellow and the red together inside of illustrator. I need to break this up into two separate parts. I'll start by duplicating the layer, renaming the first one Flames 1 Red, and the second one Flames 1 Yellow. Then I'll unsolo the second one. I'm just looking at the first copy, open up the Contents, and delete the yellow group. Then I'll go into the yellow layer and delete the red group. Now I have two individual layers for that flame. I'll have to do the same thing for the second flame as well. I think I got everything that's red. To test it, I'll just change the color to something completely different like green, press Okay, and sure enough, everything that was red is now green. I can undo to go back to my red color, and then I'll do the same process for the other two colors but I'm not going to make you sit through that. Now all of my colors are set up based on this null. I'll go ahead and rename this null, Color Control. As you can see, if I adjust the colors of any one of these values, all the appropriate layers change with it. Now again, this is not at all a required step, but in my opinion, it makes this type of project much simpler to adjust but if your design isn't as complicated as mine, or if you don't mind having to select everything to adjust it, then by all means forget about that process. But now you have a little bit of insight into a way to decolor manage your projects. Now is a good time to pick out your restaurant. Once you've decided which one you want to go with, go ahead and create a project in the project gallery, and let me know what your choice is. You could start sketching and figuring out what you want your design to look like but I highly recommend that you watch all the videos in the next unit before you actually make your design. The way that this affect behaves might change the way that you approach your design but if you've got an idea in your head and you really want to go with it, there's nothing wrong with getting started. 6. Building The Glow: Now that we've set everything up so that we can animate it and easily address the colors. We can actually move on to building the neon look. First of all, I want to decompose all of these layers, so that it's all contained into a single layer. I'll select everything by pressing Command A or Control A on a PC. Then precompose by pressing Command Shift C or Control Shift C in a PC and rename this Neon-Source. Everything else is fine. I'll press OK. Now we have all that artwork contained on a single layer. If I double-click on that, we're right back where we were. I still have control of every layer. While we're in here, I'm going to go ahead and turn off some of the duplicate overlapping layers. Since this isn't actually how I'll ever see my sign, I want to make sure that I design the neon glow on top of something that had actually would represent. I can actually turn off both copies of this burger and that's bachelor. One of the two flames. I'll build my glow off of that. Now if I come back into this competition, first thing I want to do is make a background, because right now the glow would be blending on top of the black. I want to know what it's going to look like blending on top of the actual background color. I'll double-click the rectangle tool, which will make a rectangle size my composition. I'll move it to the back and rename it Background. Then I'll change the fill type to gradient. Press OK, and then click on the color to adjust the gradient and change the first color to a dark blue, the second color to a slightly lighter blue. I actually want these to be in the opposite order, so I'll just reverse the two positions. I need this a little bit more blue. Press OK. Then click and drag on this little handle to adjust the size of my gradient. Now that's brighter than I want it to be so I'm going to go back in and adjust these colors a little bit more. That probably will work just fine. I'll zoom in a little bit so I can see what I'm doing a little bit better. Then I'm just going to lock this background so I can't accidentally move it around. Next, we need to change our color depth from eight bits per channel to 32 bits per channel. I'll hold down Option or Alt on a PC and click twice. Now we can start building the glow. I'll start by selecting my source layer and duplicating it by pressing Command D or Control D on a PC, then I want to change the blending mode. If you don't see this column right here, make sure you have the second button down here expanded so that your transfer controls are visible. I'll change this from Normal down to Add. Right away you can see that makes everything a little bit brighter. It almost looks a little glowy, but it doesn't look very nice. I want to add a Fast Blur effect to this duplicate layer. You'll notice that this effect works with 32-bit color. Now if I increase the blurriness, it adds a glow to my artwork. If my mode was set to Normal, it still looks somewhat like a glow, but there's no real blending happening. Setting this blending mode to Add makes everything underneath this layer brighter, so it generates a more realistic glow. I'm going to rename this layer Glow 1. Then I'm going to duplicate it again. You see now everything's getting much brighter. I'm going to increase the blurriness, so we get a little bit softer glow. Then I'll do this one more time. You'll notice that this automatically increments the name for me, and then I'll make this top glow even bigger. Now this is a little too glowy, everything's a little bit too soft and it doesn't look very natural. What I want to do is lower the opacity of each one of these layers. With all three of them selected, I'll press T on the keyboard to bring up the opacity. Then I'll adjust the opacity of the top layer first, so that it's just a faint glow. Then I'll just the opacity of the second layer, and then finally the first layer. That just knocks the intensity back a little bit. That's what we started with, and that's what the three layers of glow add. Right now this doesn't look very bright to me, but we can enhance this look by adding another effect onto our blur layers. I'll come over to my effects and presets and type in exposure. Under color correction, you'll see the 32-bit supported exposure effect. Then I'm going to apply it to the first glow, and shut off the other two glows just for now. Then I want to bring the exposure above the fast blur in the effects stack and take a look at these controls. The exposure effect allows me to increase the exposure value for that layer as well as the Gamma. Because we're working in 32 bits per channel, we're actually adjusting the luminance value for that layer instead of just the brightness value. If I click and drag this exposure up, you can see that it's not only getting brighter, but that the colors are also getting a little bit more washed out. If I turn the Gamma up a little bit as well, you can really tell that it's starting to turn white. I'll reset this, increase the exposure a little bit, turn the Gamma down a little bit until it's looking about the way that I want it. I'm going to turn the blur down just a little bit. Maybe decrease the opacity. Then increase the exposure a little bit more. Building this effect is completely to your own taste. There's a lot of back and forth with playing with these different settings. What I really enjoy about the process is that I get to design exactly how this glow looks. My glow might look a little bit different from what yours ends up looking like. Now I can tell this is still a little bit too bright, so I'm going to turn the opacity down, right about there. Then I'll turn on the glow for the second layer. I'm going to copy the exposure and paste it onto the glow. Again, I'll bring it up above the fast blur, turn the exposure down a little bit, set the Gamma back down to one, and then maybe turn the opacity down just a little bit. You know that blur might be a little bit too big as well, so I'm going to adjust that. Everything is still looking a little bit too soft to me. I think the reason why is because my lines might be a little too thick, so I'm going to go back into any one of these pre-comps. Select all of my artwork, and then change the stroke value from two to one. Now all of my lines just decreased, halved in thickness. If I go back out, now that glow is much less intense. I think a stroke width of one is going to work much better for this design. Now I'll turn on my third glow. It's very subtle. If I turn this opacity back to 100 percent, you can see what it's doing. It's a very blurred-out version in the artwork. It's producing a very soft glow. I like the way that that looks, but I think I'm going to try and make it a little bit brighter. Again, I'll copy the exposure and paste it onto this layer. Now that is way too much, so I'm going to reset it, increase the exposure, and then maybe turn down the Gamma a little bit. I think that's a little bit better. Then I'm going to turn down the opacity just a bit. That's pretty cool. So far, so good. Now just looking at this, I don't think it's appearing to be bright enough yet. Looking at neon signs on Google, you'll notice that there are lots of different looking neon lights. It really is up to you, how you want your design to look. Personally, I want the inside of my lines to be brighter. To do that, I'm going to duplicate my source layer one more time and solo it. Then I'm going to add a fill effect to this layer. You'll see that that's 32-bit compatible. Double-click on the effect and then change the color to pure white. I don't need to increase this value past pure white. It's fine just the way it is. I'll hit OK, rename this layer core, and then un-solo it. I'll set it to Add. I feel like that makes everything look a little bit brighter. But because it's the same size as my original artwork, it's covering up the entire thing. I only want it to appear on the inside of that line, so I'm going to add another effect called Simple Choker. What this will do if I solo this layer again, is allow me to increase or decrease the size of the layer based on the Alpha channel. If I just increase this a little bit, you'll see that my lines get a little bit thinner. Keeping in mind that this is a pre-comp of my original artwork. The one pixel stroke value hasn't changed, this is just an effect applied on top of that pre-comp. Then I can un-solo and see how that affects my overall look. I think I could increase this choke just a little bit more. I really want this layer to be subtle. That looks pretty good. What I might do is come to my first glow and turn the blurriness down just a little bit more, so it's much closer to the actual bob. If I back out a little bit, I think that's looking pretty nice. The whole thing might be a little bit too bright, so I'm just going to turn down the opacity of that chord just to be about, let's say 50 percent. I think that layer just gives it a little bit of a pop to sell this neon bob look. Now if I duplicate my glow one more time, over to the top and reset the blur, I'm going to change the blur dimensions from horizontal and vertical to just horizontal. Now if I turn my opacity all the way back up and increase the blurriness, you'll notice that this blur is now being produced just horizontally, and it produces a really cool looking blur. If I were to change this to vertical, then would it just go up and down. Because everything is being based on a preComp, you can apply any number of effects to adjust the look of this glow, and as long as it's set to add, it will blend on top and do some really cool things because we're blending this all in 32 bits per channel. I could increase the exposure to make everything brighter. Maybe adjust the gamma a little bit and then turn the opacity down. Now I'm going to set this back to horizontal. Right now I think these lines are a little bit too crisp, so I'm actually going to duplicate this layer. Come back to the first one, hit reset so it goes back to horizontal and vertical, and then blur the layer just a little bit so that this layer gets softened a little bit before it gets blurred out horizontally. That way, this layer's glow is just a little bit softer. I'm not having enough control just by clicking and sliding this value, so a nice trick when adjusting a slider value, is if you hold down Command while clicking and dragging, it'll decrease the speed that you're changing the value by. I want to put this to right around 1.7 and I'm pretty happy with that. But this is a little too intense of a glow and I don't think turning down the opacity is going to do enough. I'm going to add another effect, which is curves. Instead of RGB, I'm going to switch this to alpha. Now we're working on the alpha channel. If I click and drag this, you see it gets brighter. If I click and drag this, it will get darker. What I want to do is just adjust this curve so that the brighter values are a little bit more visible and that the darker values fade off much quicker. That's before and after. That way, this effect is just a little bit more subtle. Now, again, I think this is a little too intense so I'm going to turn that down a little bit and maybe increase the blurriness prior to the horizontal blur. Then I'll bring back a little bit of that glow on the lower end but not too much. I think that looks pretty good. I'll rename this layer glow horizontal. Then I'll duplicate that layer and rename it glow vertical, and I'll change this second fast blur from horizontal to vertical. This one I want to make much less noticeable, so I'll turn down the opacity and increase these curves on the alpha channel a little bit. But then I might turn on the exposure, maybe increase the opacity just a little bit more, and then turn down the amount on that vertical blur. As you can see, everything is getting super bright and that's because I keep stacking more and more layers on top of each other. You just have to keep adjusting things as you go. I think I could turn down this glow three just a little bit. Maybe glow two is a little too intense as well and glow one, that's probably fine. The core is doing okay. Now what if I wanted to make a glow that wasn't just straight, left and right or up and down? Well, let's duplicate this glow vertical again, and I'll get rid of the fast blurs and the curves. Then I'm going to add an effect called directional blur, which is also supported by 32 bit. If I increase this blur, you can see that it's doing a similar type of blur to our fast blur, but it gives me a direction control. I could change this to something like 55, and now our blur is going at an angle. I'll rename this layer glow diagonal. Turn down the opacity, increase the exposure a little bit, turn down the gamma, and then add a curves layer. Again, we'll switch to the alpha channel, and just knock the intensity of this glow down quite a bit. Again, I think it's a little bit harsh so I'm going to add a fast blur, and I'm going to put it before the directional blur so that everything gets a little bit softer before that directional blur is applied. But not too much because I want this one to look a little bit more chiseled. I think that's good. Maybe adjust the opacity just a little bit, and I'm liking the way that that looks. Now I want to add one more horizontal blur. I'll duplicate that layer, move it to the top. I'm going to rename this glow wide. This time I'm going to take the first blur and increase the value a lot more. I'll reset the curves layer and adjust that in a minute. Then I'll turn the opacity up just so I can see a good representation of what this layer is doing. Then I'm going to change the value of the horizontal blur to be much more intense so it's super wide going all the way to the edge of my composition. Then I'm going to turn the gamma correction down just a little bit and maybe turn the exposure up. Now I'll lower the opacity and switch to alpha on my curves layer, and decrease the intensity on that a little bit as well. Now you've got this super wide glow that makes the entire sign look a little bit more vibrant. I just noticed that I have a layer turned on inside of my preComp that I shouldn't. I'm going to go back into that preComp, find that layer and turn it off. I go back in my preComp and it'll update and that's looking pretty cool. From here, you just make adjustments as you see fit. You can use any number of effects to build your own custom glow and then make adjustments to those glows until you've built something completely custom. But just as a reminder, this is where we started and this is where we ended up, and the entire effect is based on that single preComp. Anything we do to change our artwork will be automatically updated with our glow. Now if we take a look at some neon signs on Google, you can see that obviously my design is heavily stylized. My lines are very thin, these glows are not very realistic, but that's the look I was going for. Like this one, for example, has a bob that's much thicker than mine. If I wanted to replicate this look, I'd need to go back into my preComp and then change the thickness of the stroke of all my artwork. I'd select all of my art and then increase the stroke a bit. Now you can already tell I did not create this design to work with a line this thick, but I want to show you what happens to my glow if I actually increase the stroke this much. It completely blurs out and that's because the glow that I designed was based on a one pixel width stroke and I increased the stroke to four. The lines are four times as thick, which means there's four times as much content emitting light in this comp. That's why you want to make sure that you know exactly how thick you want your lines to be before you build your glow. Because if I really wanted it to be this thick, I'm going to have to go back through and adjust all the opacities and intensities of all the effects that we already spent the time tailoring specifically to a one pixel width stroke. 7. Using Incompatible Effects: I'm going to show you really quickly what happens if you do use an effect that's not 32-bit compatible and how to work around it. I'm going to turn off all my glows except the first one, and I'm going to get rid of both the fast blur and the exposure. Then I'll come into the Blur & Sharpen, and add Radial Fast Blur. You'll notice that 16-bit compatible only. Double-click that to apply it. We get a little warning icon. If I turn this up and change the zoom from standard to brightest so you can actually see what it's doing, I'll zoom in here. You'll notice that we're not getting that same bright blending happening even though our layer's set to Add. If I switches this back to normal, there's not much difference. I'll undo once to get back to the blending mode of Add. This effect messes up our blending. But if I were to add a fill which is 32-bit compatible after that effect, then I could change the color to be brighter in 32-bit. Now you see that we have the brightness back again. To make this look a little bit better, I could add a Fast Blur before the Radial Fast Blur just to soften it a little bit. Maybe turn the amount down. The brightness might even be able to be switched back to standard, so it's a little bit less intense. Now we've got these light ray shooting out from behind our sign. Now obviously because we're using a fill effect, it's not preserving the original colors of the sign. Unfortunately, there's not really an easy way around that. But if you combine it with all of the other glows we already have, it doesn't look that bad. Maybe on this version we wouldn't use the angled blurs that the other blurs didn't allow for. Now there are other effects that are 32-bit compatible that could have produced a similar result like the CC Radial Blur and the Standard Radial Blur. But I just use this as an example. The important thing to remember is that if you add a 32-bit compatible effect after the incompatible effect, you can bring it back into the correct blending space to match the rest of your artwork. Now that you have a better understanding of how this effect is going to work, you can finish your design if you haven't already, then go ahead and have some fun making your own custom glows. Post anything you'd like to show off or get feedback on your project page and then move on to the next video. 8. Making Adjustments: Now, I want to adjust my colors a little bit. I think the red and the yellow are a little pale. I want to push this red to be a little bit more orange, so the fire looks a little bit more like fire. The yellow is just a little too pale, so I want to increase the saturation of that. I'll go back to my source comp, click on the "Color Control" knob and go to the Effects Controls for it. Then I'll open up the red and push it to be a little bit orange. Now that was a very subtle adjustment, but let's see what an impact it has in our main comp. There you go. You can see that it made a pretty big difference. If I take a snapshot of my design by pressing this button right here, and then undo. Now we're back to the red color. Now that I took a snapshot, I can click and hold on the "Show Snapshot" button to see the difference. When I let go, it goes back to my current view. This is a great way to compare adjustments. I think I went a little too far orange, and it's still a little pale. Let me redo by pressing Command Shift Z or Control Shift Z on a PC. Go back to my source and increase the saturation by clicking and dragging on the saturation slider. I'll hit "OK" and go back and see what it does. That's closer to what I want. Another thing I can do instead of switching back and forth between these comps to adjust the colors, is come up right here to this little lock icon on the effects Control. If I click on that, this will stay in focus regardless of what comp I go into. I can continue editing these colors from my source comp, even though I'm in my main comp. I'll go back to my red, increase the saturation a little bit more and maybe make it a little bit darker. I'll press "OK". Now I like the color of the red, but it's not quite bright enough. It doesn't look like it's emitting light like the blue or the yellow are. I'll go back into my red, and what I need to do is increase the brightness of the red, green, and blue channels equally. What I'm going to do is take the first decimal point of each one of these values and add one to it. I'm going to change the red from 0.88 to 0.98, the green to 0.2, and the blue to 0.1. That way I increased each one by a value of 0.1. Let's hit "OK," and see how it updates. You can see that's a little bit brighter, but it's still not quite bright enough so let's go back in and add two this time. This will be 1.1, this will be 0.4, and this will be 0.3. That's looking much brighter. Now because I have so many different glow layers affecting the brightness, increasing it that much made a big difference. Now it's looking a little pale again. It's really a back-and-forth process of playing around with the brightness and the color value until you get what you want. If I just increase the saturation of this, I might get it back to where I want it. Yeah, I think that looks better. It could probably be pushed a little bit brighter, but I'm going to move on to the yellow. Let's take that yellow and increase the saturation. That's looking a little green to me, so I'm going to bring the hue down a little bit and press "OK." That looks better, but I think it can be even a little bit less green. Yeah, I like the way that those colors look. That's how you can play around with the colors to get it looking the way that you want. Remember that if one of your colors isn't looking as bright as the others, pushing the red, green, and blue values beyond one is what's going to make it really look like it's illuminating. I could push this even brighter to get a more dramatic look. Obviously, that was way too much, but that's how you can control the intensity of your colors without having to adjust the individual exposures and curves that we set for each of the glow layers. 9. Little Details: At this point, my design is done, my glow is built. But before we move on to the animation, I want to add some little details that'll push this design to be a little bit more unique. The first detail I want to add is probably the most obvious. When you think of neon signs, most of the time you think of a flicker. That will help bring this design to life before we even do any animation. So to add a flicker, I'm going to go back into my neon source, and I'll make a new adjustment layer by going to "Layer", "New", "Adjustment Layer." Then I'll make sure it's at the top of my layer stack, and I'll come over to the effects and presets and type in exposure, will add the exposure to the Adjustment Layer and rename this layer "Flicker." Now we're going to add some expressions to this effect. So press "E" to show the effects, twirl down Exposure, twirl down Master, and we'll add an expression to the exposure value. I'll do this by holding down "Option" or "Alt" on PC, and clicking on the stopwatch. This will allow us to type in an expression, and I'll type wiggle parentheses, 3, 10, parentheses. Then I'll click "Off." Now our work disappeared. Why is that? It's because this expression is saying, randomize this value three times per second by a value of 10. If I RAM preview the first second of this, you can see what's happening. The exposure is being randomized three times in this second by a value of 10. Now a value of 10 is huge for the exposure property. What I need to do is knock that down to something like one. Let me adjust this expression, and now you can see that flicker is much more subtle, but it's happening much slower than I want it to. I'm going to increase the first value, which is the number of times this property is adjusted per second from 3-15. Now that flicker is much more the speed that I'm looking for, but I think the value is being adjusted by is too much. I'm going to change this from 1-0.5 and see what that does. That's better, but I think it's probably still a little too dramatic. I'm going to drop that down to 0.25. It might even be a little hard for you to see at this point, but we want this effect to be really subtle, and once we come back into our main comp, it'll be much more apparent. Let's go back into that comp and preview what it looks like in here. Now you can see that this is taking much longer to process, and that's because it has to render every single one of these glow layers on top of each other for every frame because that exposure value in the Flicker Adjustment Layer is changing everything on every frame. It'll take a little bit longer to preview, but the end result should look pretty good. There you go. We've got a flickering sign. It still might be a little bit more than I need, but that's a decision you can make. Even now I can tell that this wide glow is a little too intense, so I'm going to knock that down to 25 percent opacity. I think that's working a little bit better. Now that we've got our flicker, let's add some texture by using grain. I'll make a new adjustment layer by going to "Layer", "New", "Adjustment Layer", and renaming this "Grain." Now one way to do this is by adding noise, which is 32-bit compatible. I'll double-click on that and then increase the noise until it's about the size that I want it to look. If I zoom in here, you can see how that's affecting the design. I'll turn it on and off. I just add some texture to make the design look a little bit more organic. I can turn off the colored part of the noise, so it's not affecting any of the colors, and I can increase the noise, but that's about all I can do with this effect. There's nothing wrong with this noise filter, but there's a great little preset from video called fast film grain. I'll put a link to download this free preset in the notes of this video. I'll delete the noise that I just added, and then double-click on fast film grain. Now by default, this is what the grain looks like, so I need to change the blending mode from normal to overlay. Now that's blending the grain on top of the design. Now any of the effects from this preset that start with fx need to stay the way they are, so you can ignore them. I'll just collapse any of the effects that have effects in front of it, and we're left with these controls. This is using the noise effect just like before. Probably turn that down just a little bit, and then there's a blur amount, which controls how soft the grain is. I'll probably turn that down to 0.15. It's a little bit more gritty. All of these effects working together produce some more natural-looking film grain. I'm pretty happy with the way that looks. Now, if we preview this, you can see that there's texture on every frame. It might be a little bit hard to view through this recording, but if you take a look at my project page, you'll see that it's there. Now if I back out, because my background is a gradient, I already have a natural vignette happening, so it's darker around the outside than it is on the inside. But just so I can show you how to make a vignette, I'm going to go ahead and set the background to be a solid color. I'll make it that dark, purpley blue again. Now I'll make another adjustment layer, "Layer", "New", "Adjustment Layer", and at the top I'll rename this "Vignette." Then I will add an exposure. Turn down the exposure, maybe decrease the gamma. I'll move this layer below the grain, so that the grain is affecting everything, and because this vignette is affecting the entire design, I need to add a mask, so that it is only affecting the outside. I'll come up to my "Mask Tools" and go to the "Ellipse Tool", then click in the center of the comp and drag. Then I will hold Shift to make it a perfect circle and Command or Control on a PC to scale it from the center. I'll make it about this size. On the vignette layer, you can see that mask 1 has already opened up. I'll change Add to Subtract, so that it inverts the mask. Then I'll press "F" on the keyboard to bring up the mask feather, and then crank this up to make the mask much softer. Then I'll click on this little icon to turn off the visibility of the mask. Then I'll collapse this mask and open it up, so I can see all of the controls and change the Mask Expansion to push the adjustment out further to the corners of the comp. That's how you can make a vignette. From here, you can adjust the exposure to your taste. I'll go ahead and lock these two layers, so I don't accidentally adjust them. Right now, all my lights are turned on, but once we get to the animation, the lights are going to be turning on and off. If I were to go into my source comp and then turn off a couple of the layers and then come back into my main comp, those bulbs completely disappear. I don't want them to disappear though. I want it to look like there's a neon bulb there that's just not being illuminated. What I need to do is duplicate my source layer. I'll come down to it and press "Command D" or "Control D" on a PC and rename this "Bulb." I'll move it below the source, and I'm going to solo it in the background layers. Now I want to make it look like these bulbs are turned off. I'll add an exposure effect to this layer. I'll turn the Exposure way down, and then I'll turn the gamma up, which will desaturate the layer. Keep turning that down until right about there. See, that's where we start to lose all of the illumination from the bulb. It's still a little bit saturated, so I'm going to increase the gamma just a bit. I think that looks pretty good. Now this might be extremely difficult for you to see. I'm actually going to add a new solid layer that's just a gray color, so we can see what's happening. If I turn this exposure back off, you see that we get our color back. That's what the exposure adjustment is doing. I'm going to zoom in here even more, and what I want to do is actually increase the thickness of these lines just a little bit. But I can't do it by going to the source and increasing the size of the stroke, because that will affect all of the glow layers as well. Instead, I'm going to come up to my effects and type in choke. Then I'm going to add the effect Simple Choker. If I bring it to a negative value, it actually gets a little bit thicker. Now, I don't want to do this by much. Just about there is probably fine. It makes the bulbs just a little bit thicker, which will allow us to add some depth to it. On the bulb layer, go to "Layer Styles", and come down to "Bevel and Emboss." You can see that that added some shading to my design. Now at its default, it's not set up the way that I want it. I need to come down to my layer styles, twirl down Bevel and Emboss, and the first thing I want to do is change the angle. Right now the light is coming from the left a bit, but I want it to come from straight up and down. I'll change the angle value to 90 degrees. Now that highlight is directly on top of our design, then we can change the altitude to make it appear as if the light source is further away from the bulbs. Then I'm going to turn the size down just a little bit. To adjust it by small amount, I'm holding down Command or Control on a PC while clicking and dragging. Then I'll scroll down a little bit more, and turn the highlight opacity down. I don't want this to be a very dramatic effect. I want it to be very subtle to add just a little bit of depth for when the lights are off. But I don't want it to be distracting from the rest of the design. I think the shadow is looking pretty good. If I turn this off and back on, you can see that we're pretty much just adding a highlight, but that's exactly what I wanted. I'll zoom back out, collapse this layer, delete that gray solid, and now you can see what that's doing. Looking at this with the dark background, I think that highlight is still little bit too strong. I'm going to go back into the bulb, scroll down to the highlight opacity, and turn it down even further. There we go. If I turn this on and off, you can see it's very subtle, but it adds a lot of depth. Now another thing I could do is actually add a drop shadow to this bulb layer. I'll type in drop shadow, change the direction from 135-180, so it's coming directly down. If I come over to this little control on the end here, I can temporarily increase the exposure of the viewer without affecting anything in the source. All I have to do is click this button to turn it off or back on. That's very useful for when you need to see things better. The shadow is a little bit too sharp. I want to increase the softness just a little bit. Turn the opacity way down, because I want this effect to be just as subtle. Then I'll turn the distance down to maybe three. Turning that off and on, you can see what that looks like. Reset the exposure. I think that looks pretty good. I can unsolo these two layers. Obviously now we don't see the bulb, because all the lights are turned on. But once we get into animation, that layer is going to be very helpful to sell this effect. One other important thing to take note of is that I've been working at full resolution this whole time, and generally working in pretty close. That's because the way that all of this light is mixing looks differently at different resolutions. If you're rendering at full resolution, you'll see an exact representation of how this is going to export. But if you're working at half, you can see that light is mixing a little bit differently, the grain looks much bigger, and if you were to back this out to quarter, it doesn't even look like the same glow. I highly recommend that you work at full resolution because even though it takes longer to preview, you're not really going to be able to see an exact representation of the final at any other resolution. Remember to zoom into 100 percent as well because sometimes looking at something from further away, also doesn't give you a very good representation of what it will look like in the end. At this point, you can design your own glow, experiment with different effects, play around with stuff, and just have some fun building your own custom neon sign glow. Post some examples of what you came up with on your project page, then move on to the next unit where we'll start animating the design. 10. What Are Hold Keyframes?: So the way that I want to animate my sign is by turning the bulbs on and off, and the way I'll be doing this is by using hold keyframes. I've set up a little demo to explain exactly what a hold keyframe is, just in case you've never come across it before. Here I have three different circles, they all have key frames with equal x position values that move across the screen and back. But each layer has its own type of keyframe, which determines how after-effects interpolates the animation between the keyframes. Let me play this back so you can see what I'm talking about. All of these keyframes have the exact same values, but because the type of keyframe is different, they animate differently. So this first layer has linear keyframes. That means there's no easing at all. It's just straight back and forth, equal interpolation between each keyframe, and it makes this animation pretty boring. The next type of keyframe is an eased keyframe. You can see that that makes the motion much smoother. Now if you check out my class animating with ease, I teach you all about how to ease your key frames using the graph editor, but I'm not going to get into that now. Then finally we have hold keyframes which will look like this. On this third circle you can see that there is no motion happening between the keyframes. It's just here and then there, and then back. There's no in-between animation. If I stop the playback and go to the first frame. You can see that all of the circles line up on the exposition. If I go to the second keyframe, all the circles line up on that side of the screen. Then going to the third keyframe, they're back on this side again, all at the same position value. The only difference is what's happening in between the keyframes. So if I were to take off the hold keyframes of this circle on the x position and press T to bring up the opacity, and then set a keyframe at a 100 percent, go to the second keyframe position by pressing K on the keyboard to jump to the next keyframe, change the value to zero, and then go to the third key frame and change it back to 100. Now I have three opacity keyframes. If I preview that, the circle fades out and back in. But if I were to convert these keyframes from linear to hold keyframes by right-clicking on the keyframe and going to toggle hold keyframe, then preview, you can see that there's no in-between values between a 100 percent and zero percent. It just turns on and back off. This is how we're going to animate the bulbs turning on and off for our neon sign. 11. Getting Organized: If I come back to my Neon-Source and make some more room in the timeline for animating, I'll reposition this artwork so I can see most of it. I'm going to start by locking the Flicker layer so I don't accidentally click and grab it. Then I'll scroll down, grab the bottom layer of the artwork, press T to open up the opacity, set a keyframe, and then right-click and go to Toggle Hold Keyframe. Or the shorter way to toggle hold key frame is by holding Option and Command on a Mac or ALT and Control on a PC and then clicking on the keyframe and that converts it to a whole keyframe. Then I'm going to copy this keyframe, select all the other artwork layers, and paste. That way, they all have hold keyframes set at 100 percent. Then if I were to go to say, one second and change the opacity of any of these to zero a second hold keyframe is automatically added. So undo that, and this just gives me a starting point. Now, I want to do a little bit of clean up. I don't want to see my Illustrator artwork anymore, but I want to keep it there just in case I ever need to go back to it as reference or to recreate my outlines. I'll select all of those and click on the Shy layer icon. Then I'll hide the shied layers by clicking on this icon right here. Now, you can see they disappear from view. They're still there, but it's no longer cluttering up my layers. Just for good measure, I'm going to go ahead and lock the Color Control. Then I just want to do a little bit of layer cleanup. Some of the layers names aren't descriptive enough, so I'm going to go ahead and rename some of these. Then since each one of these layers are their own color, I'm going to go ahead and color code the layers in my timeline just so it's visually easy to tell which layers are what color. I'll start with outlines, they're red, so I'll change the color from blue to red. Inlines are also red, red. The Spatula are blue, so I think I'll do a cyan. Some of the Flames are yellow. Burgers' texts are blue, blue, yellow, yellow. Now, we can easily pick out the different colors in my timeline. Now, I want to group all the colors together. I'll click on this red and say "Select Label Group" and that will select all of the layers that have the red label color and then I'll drag them down here so they're all grouped together. I'll do the same thing for the other colors. Just like that, I have all of my layers nice and organized, named properly, and easy to manage. 12. Final Prep Work: I want to start my animation with just the red line of Bob's the spatula and the burger on, everything else can be turned off. Go to the first frame and go to the first layer that I want to turn off, and I don't want to forget about the layers that I have disabled. They should have the key frame that I pasted on everything else, so that's good. I actually want to leave the first key frame of all of these layers to 100 percent, and I'll come back to why in just a little bit. To prevent myself from changing any of those 100 percent key frames, I'll go forward 10 frames by holding the "Shift" key and pressing ''Page Down'' on the keyboard to jump 10 frames forward. Then I'll change the opacity of this first bachelor layer from 100 to 0, and we can see that that effectively turned the layer off. Then I'll copy that key frame and paste on everything else that I want to turn off, which for the first frame will be everything except the burger, the first spatula, and the red in line of the text for Bob's. I'll select everything else that I can, paste, do that up here too, making sure not to have that spatula selected. Some of these things I'll just have to select in the Layers palette and then paste. Don't want to forget these, I'll paste there as well, and that's what we're left with. If we come back to our main comp, you can see this is what the design looks like. Now you'll notice that our bulb layer is not showing up, and that's because it's based on the exact same comp as all of the other layers. Because they're turned off in here, the bulb layer has nothing showing up either. Now this is why we left the 100 percent opacity values on the very first key frame of this comp. If I go back to the first frame, everything is turned on. If I right-click on this bulb layer, go to Time, and then Freeze Frame, this will enable time remapping and set a whole key frame for the frame that I'm selected on, which is the first frame of the comp. Now if I solo this layer and turn off the background so you can see it, no matter where I am in the comp, that layer is always going to display the first frame of the composition, and that will prevent the bulb layer from turning off, even though the light from the main comp is turning on and off. If I go forward 10 frames again, so we get back to the other value, now we can see the bulb layer for the portions of the sign that are turned off. Now that I can see it, I think it's a little bit too dramatic. So I'm actually going to lower the opacity of that layer. I'll knock this down until it's much more subtle, not too subtle, enough so that you can tell it's there, but not so much that it's taking away from your design. I think that looks pretty good. Great. Now we can go back to the source comp and continue our animation. 13. Traditional Neon Animation: Now, the way that you turn your bulbs on and off is entirely your choice. The animation is your own design. So I'll walk you through how I animated my sign, but you should feel free to be as creative as you want with your own. Now, I know I want the timing between the light bulbs turning on and off to be even. So just to make things simple, I'm going to space out every change in light by 10 frames and if that animation ends up being too slow, I can adjust everything later, but this is an easy way to get the timing evenly spaced. So I'll hold Shift and press Page Down to jump forward 10 frames. Then I want to turn on the blue in line of the text. So open up the opacity by pressing T on the keyboard and change the value from zero to 100, and I'll jump 10 frames forward again, and turn on the yellow outline for that text, change it to 100 percent, and then preview that animation so far. So you can see very easily with these hold keyframes, we can simulate a neon sign turning on and off. It's really that simple. Now I want to jump down to the word burgers and do something a little bit differently with that one. Instead of having it just turn straight on, I want to do two things. First, I want to split up the word into two halves and then I want to make it look like the sign is having a little bit of trouble turning on. Each half flickers on separately. So to start, I'll go to the first keyframe so I can actually see the text. Then I'll rename this Burgers 1 and then duplicate it. Then I'll solo the first layer, switch to my Pen Tool by pressing G on the keyboard, click on one of the points in the second half of the word, then draw a box around it. Press Delete, delete one more time and that gets rid of everything on the second half. Then I'll un-solo that layer and solo the second layer and then select the first half of the word. Delete, delete one more time and I'm left with just the second half. So together, it makes up the entire word, but now I have control over the two halves. I'll un-solo those and I want the first half of the word to come on at the same time as the blue inline of the word BOB'S. So I'll grab that layer at that point in time and change the opacity to 100 percent. Then I'll go 10 frames forward and that's where I want the second half of the sign to turn on. So I'll go to the opacity and change that to 100 percent. If I preview this animation, we now have the timing right, but I want each half of the sign to flicker on, and I'm actually going to do this by hand. It's pretty simple to do. I'll go to the first layer, have it start at 100 percent opacity. Then on the very next frame, drop it down to something very dim, like 15 percent, so you can hardly see it. Then I'll go forward one more frame, turn the opacity up but not all the way to 100, something around there, then I'll go one frame forward again, drop it down, but not quite as much as the first time and then go forward and set it to 100 percent. Now if we preview this, you see that it flickers on. I'll do the same thing with the second layer. Start at 100 percent and go forward one frame, drop it down to something really dim, go forward one frame, increase it, forward again, dimmer, and forward one more frame, 100 percent. Now that sign flickers on instead of just turning on perfectly, and if I wanted to make this a little bit more random, I could spread these keyframes out a bit, add some more flicker, adjust the values. Being completely random usually produces perfectly good results, and if we come back out into our main comp and preview the same time, you can see that we have a pretty convincing flicker on. Now I'm not going to make you sit here and watch me animate the rest of my sign. It doesn't get any more complicated than that. I used hold keyframes like this for my entire animation, and if you want to see the animation as a whole, just go to my sample project where you can see the final piece. That's all there is to this method for animating a neon sign traditionally. So if this is the route you're going to go with, go ahead and animate your design and post it to your project page. Now, if you're interested in animating things a little bit more creatively, check out the next video, where I'll get into some nontraditional neon animation techniques. 14. Taking The Animation Further: Just because we have this neon sign look built, it doesn't mean we have to stick to a traditional neon sign animation. I created my artwork with shape layers and thin strokes, which in After Effects allows me to make some pretty cool-looking animations. For example, I could make this text write-on, instead of flicker on. Even though a neon sign wouldn't behave that way, we're not bound by any rules inside of After Effects. I've merged this text back to one layer, and gotten rid of all my old keyframes on the transparency. Let me twirl this layer open and go to Add, Trim Paths. Now if you want to learn all about shape operators and shape layers in general, go check out my class, The Ultimate Guide to Shape layers in After Effects, where I cover everything you could possibly want to know about shape layers and how to animate with them. If you'd like a more in-depth look on how to do write-ons, check out my other class, The right Technique, where I showed you a whole bunch of ways on how to do this type of animation. For this example, I'm going to keep it very simple and just do a simple thin line write-on. With my trim path added, I will open it up, instead of end keyframe, move it forward 10 frames by holding Option-Shift right arrow or Alt-Shift right arrow on a PC and then change the value from 100 to 0. I'll preview that animation, and you can see what's happening. I'm gonna push this second key for a forward a bit and preview it again. Now all of my paths are being trimmed at the same time between these two linear keyframes, I want it to trim the paths so that it simulates being written on by hand. The first thing I want to change is from trimming multiple shapes simultaneously to individually. Right away, you can see that that trims one path at a time, but it's not doing it in order and some of the letters are being written on backwards. The trim paths operator works with whatever order your paths are stacked in. It's starting with Path 2, which is the u and the r. If I turn off the path visibility, you can see that it's writing that one on backwards, but if I come over to this icon right here, I can reverse the path's direction, now it's writing on in the correct direction. Then it moves onto the second path, which is this part of the B, and then the long line. Now, those two go in the right order, but they need to happen before the u and the r. I'll select Paths 4 and 5, turn my path visibility back on and you can see that those are the two paths I have selected now, then move them to the top. Now we have the B followed by the u and the r, and then Path 6 is this line. Now I want that to happen second to last, just before this line, so I'll move it down to the second the last position. Now we'll go to Path 1, which is part of the g, the e, r, and s. The next path after it is the first part of the g. I'll move that up one position in the stack. Now we've got the B, u, r, g, second part of the g, e, r, s, followed by the two lines. Now, if I press u on that layer to see the two key frames and run preview again, now my text is being written on the correct order. But that animation between two linear keyframes is a little boring. I'm going to select these two keyframes, go into the graph editor. Right now, I'm editing the value graph. I'll select both of these keyframes and press F9 on the keyboard to add easy ease, and then I'll click and hold Shift and drag this handle out a bit and this one out as well. That just increases the intensity of the easing between the two key. Again, if you want to learn more about the graph editor and how to do easing, check on my class animating with ease in After Effects. But you can see what this has done to the animation and my right on, it makes the animation a lot more dynamic and just a little bit nicer to look at. I'm happy with the way that looks. Let's move on to the word Bob's. I'm actually going to change all of my layers to be 3D layers, so I can animate them on the Z position and add a lot more depth to this design. Select all my artwork and click on the 3D layer checkbox, and while I'm at it, I'm going to turn on the motion blur as well. Then I'm going to select the Bob's layers and solo them, and then I'll set a position keyframe by holding Option or Alt on a PC and pressing the P on the keyboard that will set a position keyframe at the current time on each one of the selected layers, then I'll go to the start of the animation by pressing Home on the keyboard, zoom out by pressing the Comma key, and then clicking and dragging the Z position value while holding Shift to increase the value much quicker, and I'll just back all three of these layers up until they're completely out of view. Then I'll select the second key frame of each one of these layers. Go into the graph editor and then completely crank the influence of that speed handle to the left. Run preview that, and now you can see that the text flies in from behind the camera. Now I'm going to offset the three layers in time just a little bit so that they don't come in all at once. Hold Command or Control on a PC and click on the first layer to deselect it, then move the second to forward in time a little bit. Then Command or Control click on the red layer and move the yellow layer forward. Now if I ran preview, each one of those layers comes in one at a time. I'll turn on motion blur, and that's just adds a little bit more realistic looking motion. Let's go to our main comp and see what that looks like with all the effects applied. Very cool, that adds a whole lot of depth to this design. I'm getting an '80s vibe on this and I really like that. If I stop on this frame right here and zoom in, if you look at this portion of the yellow text layer, even the motion blur in 32 bits per channel helps blend the light together, and it makes the overlapping parts from the three different colors much brighter than if it was on its own, like it is out here. Again, if I were to switch this from 32 bits per channel to eight bits per channel, this is what it looks like, completely different. Let's keep going, I'll un-solo these layers and the blue layer too. We've got the word Bob's flying in and the word Burgers riding on, which the word Burgers is going to animate on a little bit later. Let's move that forward in time. It's probably going to animate on last, but we can worry about timing once we have everything else animated. Next, I think I want to move on to this inner line of the red outlines here, I'll go down to that layer, which is in lines, and I'll go into that stroke and press the plus sign next to dashes. That line is now dashed and I'll press the plus one more time to add a gap. I'll turn the gap size down to maybe two and the dash down to two as well, maybe three, and then maybe bump that up to three as well. Actually, I want to double the width of the gap. There we go, then if I animate the offset value, you see that that makes the dashes move, I'll go to Frame 1, and say the keyframe on the offset, reset that back down to zero, and then go forward maybe one second. I'll solo this layer, just so I'm not distracted, and then change the offset. If I run preview this, you can see what it looks like. Then I'll add a trim paths to this layer, set an end keyframe and go back to the beginning, set it down to zero. Now, this layer has two paths, but I want them to be trimmed at the same time. I'm going to leave this set to simultaneously. If I ran preview, you can see what that looks like. Again, I'm going to crank up the influence handles in the speed graph for the n value. Easy, easy these by pressing F9 in the keyboard and then increase the influence. Then I'll set a key frame for the offset value at zero and go back to the first frame and change that in a negative direction and see what that looks like. Actually just so it's perfectly clear what's going on, I'm going to take the dashes off and we'll add them back in a minute. The offset value is changing where those two lines are being trimmed based on the Trim Paths. If I animate the End value and the Offset at the same time, it just adds a little bit more visual interest. I don't think it needs the dashes anymore, I'm actually pretty happy with the way that looks. But just for fun, I'm going to try changing the end value to start at 50 percent and then set a start key frame, put it at 50 percent, and then set it back down to zero at the second position. Then I'll select the Start and End values, go back into the graph editor, easy ease all of them, and then adjust the speed handles again. If I ran preview, see what that looks like. I'm not as happy with the way that that looks. If I were to take off the offset value, it would probably look a little bit better, but I like the way that it was working before we added the starting animation, so I'm just going to undo until I'm back to where I was and that's just part of motion design, playing around with something to see what it would look like and figuring out what you like. All right, I'll un-solo that layer, and that's looking pretty good. I'm going to turned off the motion blur just so it previous a little bit faster for now. Next, let's do the outline of that red layer. I'm actually going to just copy the trim pads from the inline layer. See what that looks like, maybe solo those two layers. Maybe I'll make this animation a little bit longer since it has more to animate on. Yeah, that's pretty cool, that way we're just adding a little bit more motion. Unsolo those layers, see how everything's working. Yeah, I like how that all resolves at once. Next, let's do the yellow lines, go up to that layer, solo it, add another trim pads to this one. This time I'll set a Start and End value at one second, go back to the first frame and then change them both to 50 percent, and now they're all trimmed from the center outwards. I'll go into the graph editor and easy ease these key frames and then increase the influence values, you can un-solo that layer, see what it looks like together. That definitely needs some more timing, probably want to come in right about there. Preview that, cool. Next is the burger, the spatula and the flames. I'm going to keep on going with this Trim Paths theme, it's working out well for this artwork, so I'm just going to stick with it, move it forward 0-100 easy ease the keyframes, increase the influence values. I'm okay with it trimming all the pads at once, maybe I'll do this one from 50-100 and from 50-0, so it goes from the center outwards just like before with the yellow lines. Sure, yeah, I like the way that looks, I like how it comes from the center outwards on the tip of the spatula there. I might want the burger to becoming on at the same time, so I'm going to grab that Trim Paths, copy it, go down to the burger, which would be the first one, and paste the trim pads into the contents. Preview that, I think this time I don't want it to go from the center outwards, so press "U" to bring up the keyframes, take off the Start keyframes and leave that set to zero, and then change the End to zero and see what that looks like. You know what, I think I might change this from animating it simultaneously to individually on the paths. But I need to reorder them because they're not going in the order that I like, so I turn these paths visibility on, yeah, the last two paths are the first two that I want to be trimmed. I'll move them up to the top of that group, and now it starts with the outline of the burger and adds the details. Maybe I'll crank the influence handles down just a little bit, it's a little fast. Yeah, I think that looks a little better and I don't want it to come on exactly the same time as a spatula, so I'll move it forward just a few frames. That way I'm just layering my animation a bit, then all it's left is the flames, so I'll select those two layers, solo them and again, we'll add a Trim Paths. Set the first keyframe to 50 on both the Start and the End values, go forward maybe 20 frames, set the Start down to zero and the End up to 100. Right now it's trimming from the top down, but I'd like it to go in the opposite direction. All I have to do is change the offset value from zero to 180, so lets type in 180 and now the Paths are being trimmed in the opposite direction. This time I'm just going to grab the second two keyframes and ease both of those. Crank up the influence so the animation happens pretty quickly, and I'm going to crank that up even more. Here we go, and I like the way that that worked so I'm going to just copy and paste that Trim Paths from the yellow to the red. Move the red forward just a little bit and see where the start of the yellow one was, that's where I'll put the start of the red. I want that red flame to meet right at the tip of this point. The reason that's not happening is because the center point of that path isn't exactly at that tip. I'll just go into my Trim Paths and change the offset a little bit so it end right where I want it. Perfect, I'm going to push the yellow layer forward in time just a bit so it doesn't come on at the exact same time as the red, yeah, I like that. Now, I'm going to do something a little bit different and I'm going to add another operator called Wiggle Paths right here. Right now it's a little too dramatic so I'm going to go into Wiggle Paths, turn the Size down, the Point to Smooth, and the Detail down. I'll turn the Wiggles per second up to something around maybe 10, Correlation should be pretty high, maybe around 80 and then preview. You can see what that's doing to the flame. Now, I think the detail is still a little too high, so I'm going to hold down Apple or Control on a PC and turn that down, and then maybe increase the Wiggles per second to 12. Makes a little bit more jittery, maybe I could turn Correlation down just a bit, cool. Now I'll copy that Wiggle Paths onto the yellow flame and now I've got a little jittery flame going. I'll un-solo those two layers and preview the animation. Actually the flame is coming in way too soon, so I'm going to grab the yellow flame, the red flame, and push it forward in time until after the Burgers already begun to draw on, and then the Burgers text could probably come on right about there, so I'll move that layer back, preview the animation. Actually, I think it can come on even sooner, I like it all resolving at the same time, so really I want it to end right about there. I'll back this layer up and preview that again. Awesome, I'm pretty happy with the way that looks, let's see what that looks like in the main comp. I'll turn on my motion blur, come back out here, make sure motion blur is enabled. Zoom out so I can see the whole animation and then preview. I think that looks awesome. 15. Polishing It Off: Now, I want to just add a little bit of 3D camera movement and offset the layers in 3D space just a little bit, to give it even more depth. I'll go back into my neon-source. The first thing I'm going to do is take a snapshot so I can reference this when I'm moving things around in 3D space. I'll take a snapshot, then I'll switch from my active camera, to custom view 1, which is a three-quarters view of my artwork. Now, I want to grab this burgers layer and bring it forward just a bit in Z's space, not a whole lot, just a bit. If I press the P on the keyboard, that brings up the position, and it looks like we brought it forward about 27 pixels. I'm just going to round that off to 30. Then let's take the blue inline layer of the word Bob's. Now, we've already animated the position value of this layer. If I press P to bring up the position, there are the two keyframes. Now, if I were to just grab the Z axis handle and move this forward, see that adds a third key frame and it affects my animation. I want to make sure that I'm on that second keyframe, before I move it so that I'm editing the resting value of the position. I'm actually not going to click and drag because I know I wanted to be the same distance forward as the word burgers. I'll just click on the Z position for that layer and type in negative 30. Now, that ends 30 pixels closer to the camera. Then we'll grab the red layer of the word Bob's, press P to bring up the position key frames, go to the second keyframe and type in negative 15 for the Z position. It's halfway between the blue and the yellow. If I were to switch to the camera tool by pressing C on the keyboard and then clicking and dragging, I can orbit around this text and you can see that there's some parallax happening between those three layers. I'll undo, to go back to my three-quarters view. Then I want to grab the inner line of this red outline and move it forward 30 pixels. Then I'll grab the second line, the outline, and move it forward 15, then I'll push back the spatula and the burger patty by 15 pixels. Now, this time I can't just click and type in the number, you see that I reposition both layers to the exact same position, instead of affecting just the Z position, it copied the value of this first layer and pasted it on the second layer. Undo that and this time click and drag until it's at 15. When you click and drag, it only affects the value that you have selected. Now, the burger and the spatula, are a little bit behind. Then I'll grab the yellow part of the flame and move it forward, maybe just five pixels, then I'll grab the red part of the flame and move it backwards, maybe just 10 pixels. Now, if I switch to my Camera tool again by pressing C and rotate around. We have all these different layers to the sign. I think I want to reverse the spatula and the burger. Right now it looks like the burgers behind the spatula and it should go the other way around. I'll select my spatula, press P, push it 15 pixels back, then grab the burger and set it back to zero. That looks better. Then I'll switch from my custom view back to my active camera. If I click and hold on my show snapshot, you can see that everything is shifted just a little bit, but honestly, it's not enough for me to care. I'm going to take advantage of the offset position values in the main Comp, so I'm not even worried about it. Now, I need a 3D camera to add some more movement to this Comp. I'll come up to Layer, New, Camera, I'll make sure that 2-node camera is selected and the preset of 35 millimeters is fine. Make sure that enabled up the field is turned off and I'll press Okay. Then I'll switch to the Camera tool by pressing C on the keyboard, then click and drag to the right, so that I can position the camera down a little bit into the left of the artwork, and I'll push it further up so that it appears that we're looking up towards this sign, and I'll set a position keyframe by pressing option P or alt P on a PC, then move it back to the first frame of the layer by holding shift to have it snap to that first frame, then I'll click and drag with the Camera tool again to go to the opposite side and preview what that looks like. That's pretty cool. I think that it might move just a little bit too far, so I'm going to back this off a little bit on the second keyframe, and I'm also going to ease between these two points and then move these keyframes forward, so that it takes a little bit before that camera takes off and then rotates to the other side. I also want to push in on a sign a little bit, so I'm going to cycle through the Camera tools by pressing C a couple more times until I get to the track Z Camera tool, then I'll click and drag to push the camera forward. Now, not only does the camera pan from one side to the other, it pushes in as well. In fact, I'm going to pull it back just a little bit on the first keyframe. That should look good, let's preview that. Yeah, I'm happy with that motion. Maybe I'll have it start just a little bit sooner and one thing I noticed is that the three layers for the word Bob's actually coming in the reverse order that I like them to. I just want to swap the time positions of these two layers. I'll move the yellow layer to the first frame and move the blue layer to the current frame by pressing the left bracket on the keyboard. Now, the three layers should come in in the right order. That's great. Now, I think I just want the spatula, the patty and the flames to start a little bit further in time. They come on right at the beginning and I think they should come on just a little bit later. I'll grab my flames, my spatula, and the burger, and then drag them forward until probably right about here. Preview that. Great. Now, I think I'll just slow the camera movement down by about a second, so it takes a little bit longer to get to that final point, and I think we're finished. All right. Yeah, that looks great. Let's take a look at what it looks like with the entire glow built. There you have it. I'm pretty happy with the way that looks, considering how quickly I was able to throw it together. Hopefully this gets your creative juices flowing so you can see the possibilities that you have access to. You can apply this neon sign look to tons of different types of animations. Because you built it to be completely customized, it's totally unique to you and a 100 percent open to your own design. 16. Exporting A Video: The last thing we need to do is export this video from After Effects to a video file that we can upload on Vimeo or YouTube so we can share it. I'm going to extend my comps work area up to five seconds by pressing Enter on the keyboard to snap the outpoint of the work area to the current time. Then I'll come up to Composition, Add to Render Queue, click on the Output Module text that says, "Lossless", go into the Format Options, change the video codec to H.264, leave the quality at 100 percent. Key frame, every 24 frames. Frame reordering, I'll leave unchecked, and limit data rate to 10,000 kilobytes per second, and then I'll press "Okay". I'm going to turn the audio output to off, and I'll press "Okay". Then I'll click on the "Output to Text" and choose where I want to put it which for me I'll just put it on the desktop, then I'll click "Render". Then After Effects will render each frame and compile it into a movie file that we can upload to YouTube or Vimeo. This process is going to take a while because building that glow in 32 bits per color is pretty graphics intensive, so don't be surprised if it takes a little while to export even just a short clip. Now if I go to my desktop, there'll be a movie file. Double-click on that, play it back. It looks pretty good. That is ready for upload. If you're not happy with the quality of your video, feel free to increase the bit rate. If I come back into here and go to my format options, you could increase this data rate from 10,000-15,000 or even 20,000. On shorter video clips, it won't make the file size that much larger. This one is only 6.8 megabytes which is great for a 10 ADP video. I'm pretty happy with the way that looks, so I'm going to come to Vimeo, and I'll go to Upload your video. I'll choose a file. While that uploads, I'll rename this and I'll hit "Save" and go to Video. Then even before the file is done processing, I can click on this "Share" button right here and click on this button that says "Show Options". Then I'm going to come down to the Controls and make sure that loop this video is checked, so that the video continuously loops automatically. I'll also set it to Autoplay and I'm going to take off these credits just because I don't really need them to show up on my skill share project. I'll make sure that the width of the video is 580 because that's the width of a project on Skillshare. Then I'll scroll back up to the Embed code, click anywhere inside it, copy, then come in my sample project, and then click on this button right here that says Embed Media. I can paste that embed code in this window and press "Submit" and there you have it. My animation is auto playing and auto looping inside of Skillshare's project page, and once the HD version is done processing, it'll update and the quality will be even better. 17. Thanks!: That's it. Thank you so much for taking this class. I hope you enjoyed it and that you were able to learn something that you didn't know before. If you have any questions at all, feel free to ask them on the Ask Me Anything thread on the Community page. If you'd like feedback on your project, ask questions directly on your project page. I would love it if you left me a review for this class. I'm always trying to make my next class better than the last one, so your feedback really helps me out. If you post any of your work on social media, be sure to tag me @jakeinmotion because I love showing up my students work. Thanks again for taking this class and I'll see you next time.