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Animated Retro Text in Photoshop and After Effects

In this rad tutorial from Designer Audrey Stemen, you'll create a retro 80’s motion poster, complete with vaporwave animated iridescent text.

We’ll look at tools and simple techniques in both Photoshop and Illustrator to help you design stylized motion graphics elements, and then we’ll bring it all to life in After Effects. So cancel your meeting with the Breakfast Club, open your Trapper Keeper and get ready to take notes!

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Iridescent Text Project Files
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Just a bit of what you'll learn:

Crafting a Style Frame in Photoshop

It all starts with the style frame A style frame serves as a visual guide or blueprint for what the final video, animation, or motion design piece will look like. It helps set the tone, color palette, typography, and overall aesthetic. For this design, we're talking bold gradients, neon vibes, and textures that scream retro. Remember, a solid style frame in Photoshop is your ticket to an organized, visually stunning project in After Effects.

Layering Textures and Colors for That Vintage Look

Textures are the secret sauce here—think grainy, think glowing. To really sell the effect, you'll bring in light overlays, inner shadows, and that all-important bevel and emboss to make the text look it's straight out of a retro arcade game.

Next, it's time to take your creation from Photoshop into After Effects. Once in AE you'll add gradients, maps, and layers to really sell the 80s neon glow.

Animation Techniques for that Retro Feel

Finally, it's time to get moving – literally. From keyframe tricks to creating loops, learn animation techniques that give your design that dynamic, retro feel.  Star trails, glowing paths, and textures, it's all here.

Download the Free Project File

And that's a wrap—but these are just the highlights. Get your hands dirty with all of these techniques in the full tutorial and corresponding free project file above.

Now, grab your neon shades and let's make some 80s magic. 🕹️

Learn More about Audrey and Follow Her Work