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Tutorial: Create a Write-On Effect in After Effects

Joey Korenman

Here's how to achieve the write-on effect in After Effects.

You're going to need to know how to do a write-on sooner or later, so why not sooner? Joey is going to show you how to master this technique a few different ways. First, you'll start with a couple of quick ways of doing a write-on which are perfect for when you're short on time and need to get the job done but still have everything look good.Then you'll learn a very cool way of doing a write-on that looks like a paintbrush is actually painting the type on. It's a bit more time consuming, but totally worth it for those times when you want to make something look really bad-ass.We also want to give a quick shout-out to the Ringling College of Art and Design who sponsored the 30 Days of After Effects series. You can find out more about their awesome Motion Design Department in the resources tab.  

Download the project files for free below!

Free Write-On Project Files

Download these Write-On Setups Here!

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Tutorial Full Transcript Below 👇:

Joey Korenman (00:16):

Well, howdy Joey here at school of motion and welcome to day one of 30 days of after effects over the next 30 days, we're going to learn a ton about after effects. And I want to give a quick shout out to our sponsor for this series. The department of motion design at the Ringling college of art and design in beautiful Sarasota, Florida, if a traditional brick and mortar school is what you're looking for. Ringling is an excellent place to get emotion, design education. And I'm not just saying that because I taught there. It's an incredible place with some amazing teachers, including our very own Morgan Williams. Be sure to check them out now onto the lesson for this first lesson, we are going to talk about something. Every motion designer will have to do at some point in their career, right ons. There are a lot of ways to achieve this effect. And I'm going to show you a few different techniques, including one really neat way, which takes a little more time, but gives you an amazing result. Don't forget to sign up for a free student account. So you can grab the project files from this lesson, as well as assets from any other lesson on the site. Now let's hop into after effects and get started.

Joey Korenman (01:21):

So before I show you guys how to create this really nice painted, you know, right on effect, I'm going to show you a couple of really quick and dirty ways to do it too, because this technique here, while it looks great, it also takes a good amount of time. Um, and depending on the font you have and how many different letters, I mean, it can take hours. So, um, sometimes you don't have hours and sometimes you're doing those jobs that, you know, really you're just paying the bills and it's got to get done quick and you, you know, you can't spend an entire day creating one, right on effect for type. So, uh, first let me show you the quick and dirty way. So I'm going to, uh, create a new composition here. Um, and we'll just call this quick, quick radon.

Joey Korenman (02:04):

All right. And I'm going to spell out my name and you can, you can spell out my name too, if you want or spell out your name and that's okay, too. All right. So let me just size this up. Um, usually when I do write ons, I'll try to make the type bigger than I know it's going to need to be. And that way I can always scale it down. Um, obviously you don't want to scale things up cause then you're, you're losing resolution. So I'm going to pre-comm this. Now this is a type layer, but I'm going to select it and hit shift command C. And I'm going to name this name PC for pre-com that's my little to my little abbreviation, right? And so now I've turned that type layer into just a big layer that now I can, uh, I can put effects on.

Joey Korenman (02:51):

And the first way I'm going to show you to do this right on effect is by using the after-effects paint system, the paint system, and after effects is old and crappy to be quite honest with you, but it actually works pretty well for this. So in order to paint on a layer, if I click on this paintbrush and I try to paint on this, right, it's not going to let me, and I'm going to get this warning saying, use the paint and blah, blah, blah, in a layer panel. So here's what it's telling me. Uh, this is my composition panel right here. This is showing me that the end result of all my layers and everything that I'm copying together. Um, if I want to paint on a layer, I have to do it in a layer panel. So that way you get to that is you control, click or right click you layer and you go down to open layer.

Joey Korenman (03:37):

Okay. And when you click that, you can see now after effects is opened, another window here, and it's really small. So let me stretch it out like this. Okay. All right. So I'm going to click over in this window for a minute and just zoom out. There we go. And then over here, so what I'm looking at is I have two windows up. This is the end results, my composition, and this is just the layer, just this one layer. And right now they're going to look identical. You can see that now with my paintbrush selected and my layer panel open, I can start painting on this. Okay. Now the goal is to basically mimic the way you would write these letters. Okay. So I'm just going to do this for each letter, but first we have to make sure the settings are right. So the first thing is the size of the brush needs to be, you know, thick enough so that when I write down like this, I'm covering up the entire letter.

Joey Korenman (04:33):

Um, a quick tip is you can just hold command on a Mac and you can click, you know, and drag like this and, and make the brush bigger and smaller. So if you have a thinner font, you should use a thinner brush. Um, and the main reason not to just use some gigantic brush like this is because if all I want to do is write on the J while I'm also writing on part of the O right now, all right. So we get that brush the right size, okay. By the way, I'm using a Wacom tablet and that allows you to have pressure sensitive paint, strokes. So if I hold it lightly, it can be very thin. And then as I push harder, it gets fatter and it's a lot easier to do this with a tablet. So I highly recommend one. So, uh, I have my paint brush, um, tool and over here in the paint settings.

Joey Korenman (05:22):

And if you don't see this, just go to your window menu and make sure that you grab that, and that should open up this window for you. I want to make sure that, um, the duration is set to constant. Okay. Now there's actually a right on duration. I don't like to use that. And I'll, and I'll show you why. Um, if I use right on, this is what happens. I draw this paint stroke. And as soon as I let go, I can't see the pain stroke anymore. And if I hit space bar, it will play back my paint stroke for me, which is cool. Okay. But the problem with that is that I want fill up every single pixel of this font with paint. And it's hard to do that if I can't see the stroke that I just painted. So it's easier to do this first with a constant duration.

Joey Korenman (06:08):

All right. Um, and that's it. You want to paint on the RGB eight channel? So that's every single channel. Um, the modus sets a normal opacity and flow are 100%. That's what you want for the brush. Um, right now I've got pretty much the default brush. The hardness is set to zero. So you can see that the edges are kind of feathered, which is kinda nice. Um, I don't want it that feathered. So I'm gonna increase that. And you can see this little preview here tells you what you're doing to your brush. There we go. That's much better. Um, the, uh, the other thing, normally this spacing setting, I think, is at like 50% or 25%. And you can see that when I draw a shape, it actually just puts a bunch of little circles in a row and it can kind of start to look lumpy.

Joey Korenman (06:56):

So I put the spacing down as low as it can go, which I think is 1%. And that way you get nice, smooth curves when you, when you paint. So there you go. So the next thing to do is to draw this and you have to be very careful, draw it the way you actually would write these letters. For example, the way I write a why is this stroke first, then this stroke. Okay. Um, and so that's why I wouldn't go like this and then do that because that's not going to look right if you're doing handwriting. So first let's do the J okay, now you're going to see a problem right away. I can pretty much cover up this entire J except for the Saraf. So you have to make a creative call. Do I want that Saraf to be kind of knocked out with a separate stroke, or you can kind of cheat it and you can kind of, you know, start it here and then come down like this.

Joey Korenman (07:49):

And I think for this, that's what I'll do. Okay. So I've got the J now I'll do the, oh, and if you mess up, right, you just hit undo. So let's say it in like that. So I hit undo, and then I just do it again. All right. Now I'll do the E. Now III is going to be a downstroke in three horizontal strokes. So for the downstroke, I want to try and catch that Saraf, catch this one. And then here is where you gotta be a little careful. And there's not really, this is one of the problems with this paint technique is it's hard to be precise and you're not, you know, you're going to end up hitting a little bit of that. Y and that's going to get revealed and you don't really want that. Um, the solution would be to separate all these letters out onto their own layers and do this one by one for each letter.

Joey Korenman (08:32):

But of course, you know, th this client isn't paying us enough for that. Um, all right. So now we'll do the why. So I'll catch this, Sarah, come down here and then I'll catch this Saraf and do this. And there you go. Now, if you come down to this layer, right. Um, and I can close this layer window now, and let's open this back up. All right. So if I hit E to bring up my effects, you see, here's my pain effect. And if I open that up, you can see, I actually have these little mini layers for every single brush. Okay. And brush one is the first stroke I did the J brush eight is the last stroke I did. So it goes in order. Um, so that's why it's important to actually write these letters in the right order, too. And if I open up the settings for brush one, you can see there's a whole bunch of settings in here.

Joey Korenman (09:22):

Right. And the one I want to get to is this end. So in the stroke options for each brush stroke, you can animate the start and end. And you'll see if I animate the end. Right. I can actually have this thing draw on. Really nice. Okay. So I want to animate that ending property for every single paint stroke. So here's a little trick. I know that the property I'm looking for is called end. So in the little search box, I'm just going to type end and you'll see it brings up all of those properties for me. Okay. By the way, I don't know. Maybe you guys didn't know you do this. If you hold the space bar and you click in this little area that has nothing in it, you can scroll up and down on your, uh, on your timeline. It's kind of handy.

Joey Korenman (10:07):

So what I'm going to do is I'm going to, uh, I'm going to turn on the stopwatch for all of these, and I'm going to set them all to zero to start with. Okay. So what I'm want to do is select every single end, and I'm just holding shift and clicking them all, set them all to zero, and then I'll go forward. Um, you know, let's say I go forward six frames, uh, and set them to a hundred. Okay. Now, if I hit you, and if you guys don't know you as the hot keen, after effects, it brings up every animated property on whatever layer is selected. Now I just see those key frames. Okay. Um, I'm going to make this window a little bit smaller so I can see all of these. Um, and, and we can still see this whole thing. Great. Okay.

Joey Korenman (10:55):

Um, so next thing I need to do is sequence these. All right. So this J gets written first. All right. And then the, oh, and so I'm just going to drag these like this. All right. So we get the J then the, oh, and maybe I want to have the, oh, start a little bit, you know, like maybe a one frame towards the end of the J because I want this to happen pretty quickly. All right. And then here's the E right? So you get that first line of the E and then, you know, that these next three strokes are the little horizontal parts of E all right. And those are, those are much shorter lines. So those may be, don't take as many frames to write on and you just kind of sequence them. And really, you know, th this is just sort of experimenting and playing around with timing and seeing, seeing what feels right.

Joey Korenman (11:49):

All right. So now what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna move my play head over here. I'm going to hit the N key. And N if you guys don't know that hot key, that just moves the outpoint, uh, this little guy here, it moves this to wherever your play head is. All right. So now I'm gonna Ram preview this and let's see what this looks like. Okay. So now you can see it's writing on my name now. Obviously that's not what we want. We want to reveal the font using this. So all we need to do, let's rename this layer here, paint, and let's duplicate it and call this font. And what we want to do is have this paint layer be matted out by the original font. So what I'm going to do is I'm gonna click my font layer. I'm going to delete the pain effect off of it.

Joey Korenman (12:36):

Um, a new, uh, by the way, I'm going to, I'm going to do this a lot, and I want to make sure I don't lose anybody. Um, I, what I'm looking for is my track mat column. So I can set, uh, the mat for this layer, but you can see it was there. So I'm hitting F four F four toggles between these two sets of columns. Um, there's a button down here that does that too, but I always use F four. Um, so I'm going to tell the paint layer, right? This red layer to use the font layer as the alpha matte. And there we go.

Joey Korenman (13:09):

Okay. Now there's one last thing that I forgot to do. So what's happening here is, uh, let me undo this for a minute and let me turn off this. Uh, okay. So the font layer is off. It's not visible right now. All we're seeing is the paint layer, the paint layer, if you remember, is the pre-com that has my name in it with a paint effect on top of it. And the last step I need to do is once the paint is working the way I want, I need to click on paint on transparent. What this is going to do is it's going to turn off the, the reference basically that I was painting over. And it's only going to show me the paint strokes. So now when I set this to use the font layer is the alpha alphabet. It will write on this type.

Joey Korenman (13:51):

Okay. And this red color makes it horrible to see. So I'm going to use a, a fill effect on this paint, right? So I have my pain effect and then a fill effect to just change the color of the layer to black. Right. And there you go. You can see there's your simple, quick and dirty right on. Now, if I wasn't talking through this, I probably could have done that in two minutes. So if you have a ton of, of, you know, writing that you need to write on, this is a fast way to do it. That doesn't look very good. Um, and there's a couple of tricks that, that can kind of help it. You can see that one big problem is that you have, um, you know, there's, there's just a very soft, unnatural edge, right? So one thing you can do, because you haven't set up this way, um, and, and you are, um, you know, you're basically filling in the, um, you're filling in this font, right? With this painted effect that you've done, you can, um, add more effects to the paint, right? Um, and actually another way to do this too, maybe this might, this way might even work better is to just reverse the order, this take this font, let me get rid of this fill effect for a moment, take this font and use the paint as the alphabet. And this will kind of do the same thing for you, right?

Joey Korenman (15:12):

And now what I can do is I can take this pain effect, which is my mat, and I can put effects on it. So I'm going to grab the stylize Ruffin, edges effect, and this, this effect can be kind of cheesy if you, if you overdo it, um, you can see what it does. Um, actually let me turn this layer on for a minute and you can see exactly what it's doing. It's literally, roughening the edges of that paint. Right? And so, as it paints, it just kind of makes it look a little bit more natural. And so now if I turn this off, you'll see, it's gonna, it's going to give that right on effect just a little bit more of a grungy kind of look, right. And there's a lot of settings. You can, you can try different actual, uh, different types of edges.

Joey Korenman (15:58):

Um, you can turn the sharpness down if you want, and it'll make it a little bit softer. Um, you know, it can start to look really terrible if you go too far with it, which you have. Um, but if you use a light touch, it actually can work out. Okay. And another trick that I like to do a lot, when I do stuff like this is all, you know, let's say I'm fairly happy with this, right? I can take this up pre composed this, and we can just call this Joey right on and I'll duplicate it. And I'll offset one of these by one frame, the way I just did that, by the way, uh, hold option and hit page down. And it nudges your layer forward. One frame, it's just a quick way to, to offset things. Um, and I'm going to take this bottom copy here, and I'm gonna make the opacity 50%.

Joey Korenman (16:47):

So now what you get is you get this kind of leading edge, all right. And it can just help sort of visually soften the effect of this super hard edge. Um, another thing you can do too, is I just line these back up for a second is, um, you can select your layers and you can turn on time remapping, okay. Right there. Um, and then let me scrub for it. So the animation finishes here, so I'm going to put a key frame there, and then I'm going to move that key frame way over here. And what I'm doing is I'm making this animation take longer. And so it's going to, it's going to end up smoothing out the animation a little bit by doing this. Um, and this is something that, you know, when you're doing this with paint, sometimes you'll get some weird artifacts when you do that.

Joey Korenman (17:40):

Um, but there you go. You can see this as a quick, super easy way to do this. Um, let me show you one more way. That's a little bit more controllable, then I'm going to show you the cool way. So here's, here's one more web. So, uh, let's go back into my font here. Okay. So we've got this, right. So this is my name pre-camp. So I'm just going to drag this into a new comp here, and we're going to call this right on stroke. And the reason I'm going to call it right on stroke is cause we're going to use a different technique to do this. So the, the way we're going to do it this time, instead of using the paint effect, we're going to use shape layers because shape layers are a little bit more controllable. So I'm gonna select the pen tool up here.

Joey Korenman (18:28):

Make sure you have no layer selected. That is very important. If you have a layer selected, it's going to put a mask on that layer, which is not what we want, want to shape layer. So I'm going to just draw a shape and you can tell I've already practiced this tutorial, or because of course, it's got the perfect little thickness of the shape, right? And what I'm doing is I'm just drawing a shape. Now what it's doing is it's creating a shape layer with a stroke on it. And then I can adjust the width of that stroke and I can adjust these points, right? And then I can add more points and I can, you know, move things around and use this to cover up the letter. And I'm basically doing the exact same thing with the shape layer that I would have done with paint, right?

Joey Korenman (19:20):

So this is for the J and now what I would do with this shape is I would, uh, open up this little arrow here and on a shape layer, you can add a whole bunch of modifiers to it. So one that I use all the time is called trim pads. And the way you add it is you just open up the arrow, click, add trim paths, and then you can open up the options for that. And if you animate the end property, it does the exact same thing. You can see here, though. It's very smooth and you have so much control. And when you time remap this, it gets very, very smooth. It never gets jerky the way pink can get, if you're not careful. Okay. So what I would do is I would just set a key frame here. I would go six frames forward, right?

Joey Korenman (20:10):

Do the same thing. And you know, one thing that's great about doing this trick, right? So now let's do the, oh, so I have to make sure nothing is selected. If I have this layer selected and I try and draw the shape of the, oh, it's going to put that same. That's going to put that O's shape on the same layer as the J, which is not what I want. I want a separate layer. So nothing is selected. And I just quickly, you know, fill in oh, here, and you don't have to be super duper precise because again, you're not going to see this at all. You're just going to see the other, you're going to see the layer that's using that stroke as a mat. Now this, oh, it needs to be a little thicker, so I can make that stroke thicker. And this is why I like to have things on different layers, because now it's very easy.

Joey Korenman (21:02):

This stroke can be thicker than the GA. All right, we'll call this. Oh, and now I can actually click on this trim pads I added and it's got key frames on it and I can copy. Right. And then just move this over to where I want to start and hit paste. I did that wrong. Let's try that. Copy paste. There we go. All right. And so now, if I hit you to reveal the key frames, you'll see it copied that trim pads and those key frames on there. And what's cool about this is you can, um, you can do easy ease and you can make the T you know, if you really want to slow this down, right. What you could do is movie's key frames further apart, like maybe a second, you know? So it takes a longer time to write these letters out, and then you can select your key frames, go to your curves editor and really amplify the ease.

Joey Korenman (21:57):

Right. So now you can get a little bit more, right. And what's cool about this is, uh, you know, in, as opposed to the paint is it's super duper smooth. It's super duper controllable in this, you know, it just has a different feel to it. Um, so I'm not going to do every letter. I don't want you guys to have to sit and watch me do that. Um, so let me just, pre-camp this real quick, the Janio right. And it's the same trick. So this is going to be our mat. And we're just going to tell the font underneath, use the mat as our alphabet. All right. And there you go. Now you have a much smoother ride on, and you can still do the exact same tricks, right? If you want to put rough and edges on that, you can, okay. And now here's, here's a problem with rough edges.

Joey Korenman (22:50):

It actually erodes away some of your image, right? And so if you have it set too high, the edge looks really nice here, but the problem is we're actually eating away at some of this type here. So a good trick to fix that is to use an effect called a simple choker. And you're going to want this before the rough edges and what the simple choker does. If I turn the mat back on and turn rough edges off, the simple choker, it just erodes, or, you know, creates more matte, right. It it's called eroding or dilating. All right. So what I'm going to do is dilate it just a little bit. I'm just dragging this choke mat backwards into negative numbers. And so that way, when we roughen the edges, you still get those nice rough edges, but you're not losing any of the math that you need to fill in the letters.

Joey Korenman (23:42):

Cool. So that's another cool way. Now, this is actually the way I do it most of the time, because it takes a little bit more time than painting, but it's very controllable. Um, and you have a lot of flexibility and precision with it. Um, and then, you know, you can, you can add texture to it really easily. Um, if you look in the description of this tutorial, I've linked to a bunch of resources that I used, um, which are all free to use and I've given credit to the right people. So, um, there are some really cool resources out there if you just want to get, you know, some nice textures, um, and make things feel a little bit more organic. Um, you know, I can, I can basically put a texture over this whole setup and click the transparency button, which a lot of people don't know about, but it's a nice little trick.

Joey Korenman (24:27):

Um, it basically just lets you use everything underneath it in the composition as a mat, it's really, it's really a slick way to do it. And there you go. And so now you, uh, you know, you've got this nice sort of paint effect. There's a nice texture on there. Um, you know, it's obviously it's obviously too bright. We need to like, you know, push that a little cooler de-saturated dark and a little bit and there we go. Cool. All right. So now what you all came for, let's talk about the big fancy right on here. Okay. Now this has all, this has a lot going on. Okay. And, um, I'm going to try in true school of motion fashion to let you see in my brain, how I figured out how to do this, because it's great. I can show you exactly what to do and you can copy it, but it's better.

Joey Korenman (25:18):

If you can start to think this way and figure this stuff out on your own and make up your own cool effects. Right. So what has always bothered me about the right on effects that I've done is they don't really look like a paintbrush, right? Cause that's, I mean, that's what we're trying to mimic here. It's either a paintbrush or a marker or a pencil. It doesn't really look like the, the actual brush is, is following the contours and making those letters move right. Uh, or sorry are making the ink move to fill in the letters. Um, and if you see what we've achieved here, it really does look like there's little brushes, painting these things on. And by the way, this is not the only way to do it. There's there may even be better ways, but this way seemed to work pretty well for me.

Joey Korenman (26:03):

So here we go. So, uh, to start with, I created in illustrator, I just, uh, I took this kind of nifty thick font and thick fonts are good for this because they give you, um, a lot of chunky areas of type to reveal. Um, and I just split them up into each letter and I kind of offset them a little bit. Okay. So what I want to do is one at a time, create the brush strokes that are going to reveal each letter. Okay. And I won't do them all in this tutorial. I'll do one or two and then you'll, and then you'll get it right. So let's start with the R what I'm going to do is pre-camp, this are, and I'm just going to call this R dash PC. We're going to dive in here. Now, what, the way, what I was thinking was I want to be able to use a real brush stroke to be able to reveal this, okay.

Joey Korenman (26:55):

The internet is just filled with like, you know, brush stroke, video brush, strokes, stills. Um, you can go to the art store and make your own brush strokes and take a picture and scan it. I mean, there's a million ways to get gray brushstrokes. I found a free resource on the internet, which I have linked to. So you are free to grab these if you want to. Um, and these are just, you know, high contrast paint, stroke images. Okay. And I said, I want to be able to make this pain stroke animate and, you know, come down this way and then curve around this way. And I want it to feel like a paint stroke. So, you know, I come from, you know, uh, after effects and cinema 4d background, primarily. So in cinema 4d, you've got this great tool where you can sweep a shape along a spline, right.

Joey Korenman (27:48):

So if I have this pain stroke, which is just a horizontal pain stroke, but I want to curve it, right? Like around this shape in cinema 4d, that's really easy to do in after effects. There's no built in way to do that, but I have to think EGA over at I designed because I can't even remember when I saw this, but I saw a tutorial of his, he mentioned this plugin called amanos snake and it is free. Um, and I've linked to that as well. So I'm going to use that plugin for this. And it's amazing. So watch this first thing I need to do is I need to pre-com these brushstrokes. Okay. So I'm going to pre comp them shift command C, and I'm going to, uh, just call this brush and I'm gonna call it brush dash R because this is going to be specifically the brush stroke for the R it may also be the brush stroke for every other letter, but I just like to name things carefully, right.

Joey Korenman (28:45):

Just, just in case. Um, and, uh, you can see my composition get a little sloppy here. My is getting sloppy. Um, I normally wouldn't stand for that, but, um, I'm trying to, I'm trying to be a little briefer with these things. All right. So here's our brush. Pre-camp now all I want is this stroke. Okay. You can use any of these. Um, but I like this one. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to click this little guy here, this little button. This is the region of interest button in after effects. Um, and what it does, it lets you draw a window.

Joey Korenman (29:21):

All right. And the first thing it does is it tells after effects. This is the only part of the composition I want you to render. So it's actually, it's really useful. If you have a very, you know, complicated comp, it takes a long time to render and you just want to work on this piece of it and it'll render faster for you. You can also crop your composition with it. So if you click that button, drag a box around here and then go up to edit, sorry, composition crop comp to region of interest, and it will crop the composition for you. Okay. So that's step one. You crop this paintbrush. Okay. So now let's go back into our R dash PC. Now I need to, uh, the first thing I need to do is actually need to turn this black and white image into something that has transparency.

Joey Korenman (30:11):

So let's, let's go back into that pre comp real quick. Here's a, you know, there's a, there's an easy way to do it. Um, and there's a slightly harder way, which is what I'm going to show you. Cause I like it better this way. If here's the easy way you take a white solid right command, why create a new white solid, and you put it underneath the brush stroke and you say track matte Luma, inverted mat. Okay. If I turn on the transparency grid, you can see that now I've got a nice, transparent white paint stroke here. The reason I don't love doing it this way is because now if I scale this brush stroke, like this, I'm seeing the white behind it, right? So that can create problems if you have to stretch this thing. So the way I like to do it, let me delete that, turn this back on.

Joey Korenman (30:59):

And let me scale this back up to a hundred percent, I'm going to use, uh, I'm gonna use two effects. One is the into the channel menu here. It's called set mat and set mat is an effect that lets you use, um, either a different channel within an image or a different layer as an alpha channel. And so when I put it on this layer, right, the options are which layer am I taking the matte from? And by default, it's looking at itself right at the image use format, alpha channel. Well, this image doesn't have an alpha channel. That's my problem. So I'm going to change that to luminance. Okay. Now I'm going to turn on my transparency grid and you can see what it's done here. Okay. What, what it's doing now is it's actually knocking out the pain stroke. It's doing the opposite of what I want.

Joey Korenman (31:57):

So you can just click this invert map button. And now there we go. Now I've got transparency. Now I don't want a black paint stroke. I want a white paint stroke. So then I'll go to my old buddy generate fill and we'll just make it white. And there you go. Now, if we go back into this R dash PC, I now have this nice paint stroke, right? And this is great because now let me turn this grid off. If I scale or stretch this, I don't get any of those weird artifacts. Nice little tip. All right. So now I need this brush stroke to follow the contours of this letter. Now, obviously that's not going to be that hard to do for this part of the yard, but it's going to be a little bit harder for the curvy part. Now this is where this amazing plugin comes in.

Joey Korenman (32:41):

So first thing we do is we turn off this layer. You don't need to see it. We make a new solid, and I'm going to call this solid our mat. Oh one. Okay. And, uh, let's make this a different color just so that we can see the paint stroke over it. If we need to. And I'm going to apply the effect, the effect is in the AMO group. And these are all free plugins. Whoever made this, this guy is amazing. You know, pay him, give him money, throw money at him. All right. So amanos snake. And the way this plugin works is you have to tell it, um, first, which layer is going to be the source of the image that you want it to wrap. And I want it to use this paint brush him. And so I'm gonna tell it to use brush R the second thing it needs is a path.

Joey Korenman (33:36):

Okay. So, um, if I click on, I'm going to click on this, um, adjustment layer icon for a minute, and this is a trick I use a lot. The only reason I did that is so I can see through the layer. Okay. I don't actually need it to be an adjustment layer, but I do need to do is put a mask on this layer in the shape that I want the ominous snake effect to warp that paintbrush image. So the first stroke of the arm is going to be this downstroke. All right. So now what I can do is I can turn this adjustment layer off and I'm going to tell the effect, the source layer is brushed dash R. The path is mask one, and you can see I'm going to turn the mask visibility off for a minute. You could see what's going on.

Joey Korenman (34:21):

There's a little white line there. Okay. By default, the source scale is set to 5%. So you generally need that to be a lot bigger. Okay. Now, if you just scale it like this, okay. You can see, you'll be able to see right there. It starts to clip the image. So I need to bring it back. And that is the ideal scale, um, for this stroke, at this kind of, at this kind of scale, basically. All right. There's an option here that I'm going to turn on called clear background, which now gets rid of the background. Okay. So now I can see the paint stroke over the art. Now it's not thick enough. Um, and so there's a few options. You have to make sure a set correctly, the source Y center. All right, let me zoom in here and go to full Rez for a minute.

Joey Korenman (35:12):

So you guys can see this, the source, why center, you can see it kind of shifts the image around. So you can see me turn the mask visibility back on here. Um, it shifts the center of that image on the mask, right? And so you want to make sure that that's centered. So you get both the left and the right side of the image. All right. Um, you've also got the Y width, which, you know, if it's too thin, you need to expand that out, but that's not the problem. And then you've got the X length, um, which, which is set correctly. That's why you're not seeing any problems, but if it's not set correctly, it will actually get rid of some of the image there. Um, and there you go. Now the main settings use on this, when you're animating it, you use the advance setting here, and this lets you move the image along the path.

Joey Korenman (36:01):

I mean, this is amazing. This should be built into after effects. Adobe should just buy this from this guy. Oh, this is great. All right. Um, but it's obviously not thick enough right now. So what I'm going to do is I need to thicken that stroke up quite a bit. Um, so what I actually want to do is thicken it up in this pre comp. Okay. But I want to be able to see the result of it here. So I'm going to use two comp viewers to do that. What I'm going to do is I'm going to come up here and click this lock, unlock this cop viewer. Then I'm going to, double-click my brush dash R. And I'm going to lock this copy, or it's not, I've got two comp viewers and I can grab the little left side here. You see, these is a little, there's these little tiny, almost invisible divots in this tab.

Joey Korenman (36:48):

And you can click and drag and move this window to the left side here. And now I can see both the results and the comp. So I'm going to move the anchor point of this layer. You can see right now it's here. So I'm gonna hit Y and move it right in the middle. And then I'm going to scale it up vertically like this. Okay. So now it's thicker. So now I can come back into this comp and I can adjust this mask like this. All right. And now just to get this out of the way, you are not going to be able to obviously fill in this font perfectly just with a paint stroke. Okay. There's holes in the paint stroke. That's what makes it look natural and makes it look like a pain stroke. So we're going to have to do something else to actually get this to, to fill in.

Joey Korenman (37:45):

All right. So that's, that'll be another trick. I'll show you in a few minutes, but first let's just try to get this as close as we can. All right. And what's cool is you can just kind of interactively, you know, adjust this mask. All right. So now we've got one paint stroke. And what I'm gonna do is, uh, you know, oh, here's another setting I want to talk about. You see these little lines, right? It almost looks like, is it an error happening? Well, the way this plug-in works is it actually divides this image up into a bunch of little triangles. And so it can move them around. And that's why you can see little triangles here. Um, the default setting is designed to make it the plugin render faster. It's not designed for quality. Um, and so that is a problem. And that's easy to fix.

Joey Korenman (38:31):

There's a setting here called draw step. And the smaller, that number is the more detail you get. Right. So if you set that down to one, now you get maximum detail. Okay. And so what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna start, I'm going to animate this advanced parameter here. We're going to start here. All right. And you can see that this isn't actually doing exactly what I want. I want that to start here like that. There we go. That's what I want. All right. And end about there. Okay. So we'll start here. Put a key frame on advance. Uh, let's go forward. Maybe one second. We're working at 24 frames a second. So that was 24 frames go like this. Wonderful. Um, I'm going to go into the curve editor here. I'm going to select those key frames, hit F nine to make them easy, ease key frames, come into the curve editor, and I'm going to stretch out these Bezier handles.

Joey Korenman (39:33):

So I get a nice ease in, ease out. Okay. Um, if you're not familiar with the curve editor, go back and watch my tutorial called introduction to animation curves, uh, that will explain everything you need to know about what that is doing. All right. So that's one stroke. Now I need to do another stroke. And then there's obviously this little Saraf here we need to fix. So what I'm going to do is just duplicate this layer, and then I'm just going to, uh, I'm going to turn off the effect for a minute, delete that mask, make this into adjustment layer, and I'm just going to draw a new shape.

Joey Korenman (40:18):

Okay. And before I turn this effect back on, uh, I'm going to set the path to this new mask. Okay. And then turn the effect back on. Um, and we're good to go. Okay. Now here's something, uh, look this plugin, um, it was, it was written by this guy and he even says on the website that this was written in like one night for this project he was doing. So it was a little bit buggy. So I have to warn you, if you ever turn the effect on and you don't have a mask set, it will lock up your computer, um, you know, for 30 seconds. And it may think it may make you think that it's gonna crash. So you just gotta be careful, obviously save, save your work a lot when you're doing this kind of stuff. Um, and there's also this strange bug where now the clear background, um, it actually seems to be doing the opposite of what I need it to do.

Joey Korenman (41:12):

So let me turn that off now. Um, so, you know, again, I'm sorry that this isn't, uh, a little bit more polished, but, um, you know, sometimes motion design is messy, but now we've got, um, our second stroke, right? And you can see that the mask goes all the way down to the tip of the Yar, but the paint stroke doesn't. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to go back to this last key frame here on the advanced property, and I'm going to move it right? And now you can see what's happening here. The paint stroke is no longer long enough to reach. And so the way you can fix that is by turning up the source scale. So I need to adjust the, uh, advanced property back like this, and then turn the source scale up until we get the result we're looking for. And now I think that X length needs to be longer too.

Joey Korenman (42:06):

There we go. Okay. All right. So now you can see you get this nice. It's a really nice brushstroke here. This is great. Okay. Um, and I want this brush stroke to start back here, just so there's no weird overlaps. Okay. So now I can offset this in time. Okay. Let's move this forward. 12 frames. Now you get first that stroke and then the stroke and the advanced needs to be adjusted here. Here we go. There we go. All right. So now you've got most of the are filled in, um, and I'm going to try to F I'm going to try to make this work a little bit better. I'm going to up the source skill a little bit more. I don't want it to go too far, cause I don't want to distort the paint stroke too much. Um, but you can also mess with the actual shape of the mask and try to cover up a little bit more of the shape there.

Joey Korenman (43:02):

Okay. That's great. Um, and then I'm going to, now I need to do the Saraf part here. I definitely need that to be filled in. So maybe what I'll do is I'll just duplicate this Armato one. We're going to call this, this layer, our mat. Oh three. All right. We'll offset it in time a little bit. And I'm just going to manually, I'm going to delete a bunch of these points on this mask. So there's only two left and then I'm just going to move this mask down here like this, and I'm new, just the source scale until it's the right size for me.

Joey Korenman (43:43):

There we go. And then I can adjust the advance amount until it gets right edge there. Okay. And then that's going to be a quicker stroke. So, so these key frames will happen, you know, faster in time. And now you've got this happening right now. You're probably starting to see where this is going. This is going to start looking cool. So now that we've got that set up, there's a little bit more to it. Um, and so what I'm going to do is I'm going to take this AR and I'm going to move it up to the top of this comp. I'm gonna hit F four and I'm going to set the transfer mode to stensul alpha. Um, now because of my screen capture software, you can actually see where my mouse is going, but I'm going down to stensul alpha. Okay. And what that does is it tells this layer to become the mat for every single layer below it.

Joey Korenman (44:42):

All right. So now you can kind of see the paint stroke drawing on. Okay. And it's working fairly well. Pretty cool. All right. Now I'm going to, uh, I'm going to try, I'm going to duplicate this, our turn, the mode back to normal, and I'm going to turn the stencil off. Okay. Because I still need to work on this a little bit more. Now. One of the things that I found was, you know, I'm getting a little bit too much of the sense that this is not a paint brush, actually creating a paint stroke, but that it's a picture of a paint stroke being moved through a font. Um, if that makes sense, it just looked a little bit too synthetic for me. So what I did was, okay, let me, let me go back to my initial set up here. Um, and let me turn off the last two paint strokes.

Joey Korenman (45:35):

So we just have one paint stroke here. So what I, what I decided to do was to duplicate this layer here and let me open up my key frames and on this, uh, on this top copy here, which I'm going to make into a different color, just so it's differentiated instead of having it advance all the way through the letter, I'm going to set the initial key frame to zero. So it moves right. But just a little bit, and it's actually moving backwards. So let me, let me scoot it back a little bit. I just want it to move a little bit forward just a little bit. Okay. Um, and then I'm going to tell the, the bottom copy to use the top copy as the alphabet, right. And it's a subtle, subtle, subtle, subtle little difference. But basically what it's doing is it's revealing the paint stroke with the paint stroke, but the two paint strokes are ever so slightly offset.

Joey Korenman (46:37):

Okay. And you can offset them even a little bit more if you want to, but what it ends up doing is it just gives a little bit of a shimmer to it as parts of the, uh, of the paint stroke pass through a copy of itself. That's offset. You get these nice little, you know, these nice little kind of natural touches. So I want to do that with every paint stroke I've done. Okay. So here's an easy way to do it. Let me reset this, get rid of this. So I've got three paint, strokes, select them all, duplicate them with the duplicate, still selected, click on the color, swatch over here and make them a different color. So I can tell that they're different, hit you to bring up the animated properties and then just select all three of the initial key frames and double-click them.

Joey Korenman (47:29):

And now I can just type in a value for them. So they're going from, you know, negative 500 negative 28 to all the way, um, you know, to this one almost goes to zero. This one goes to negative hunter. So there, the values are increasing. Okay. So that's key. So I just want them to increase a little bit less. Okay. So I'm just going to click on this. And instead of having these numbers be so far in the negative, I'll just set them all to zero. Okay. And then I'm going to select the bottom layers and tell them, use the top layers as alphabets. All right. And now if we play this,

Joey Korenman (48:14):

Okay, so there's our paint strokes, Snell, turn the bottom, our off, turn the top one back on so we can see how we're doing. Cool. All right. So we're getting there. Okay. So now the next thing we need to do is we need to fill in some more of these letters. So an easy way to do it. All right. Is to just duplicate these paint strokes you've already got working and just scoot them over a little bit. So I'm going to take these bottom two. All right. And those bottom two layers are the first vertical pain stroke. I'm going to duplicate them. And then I'm just gonna use my arrow keys. I'm just going to nudge them over a little bit, right over and up a little bit. And, you know, just fill in a little bit more of that are okay. And I'm going to offset them two frames forward in time, just so it's not perfectly lined up.

Joey Korenman (49:00):

Okay. So now you see more of that. Ours filled in, I'll do the same thing with this big curvy paint stroke. I'll select these two layers, duplicate them, move them forward to frames. And then I'm just going to nudge them up into the right with my keyboard. Right. I'm just trying to find the sweet spot where they fill in the most are. And then I'll do the same thing with this last paint stroke, select them duplicate for two frames and time. And I'm just going to move this around until it's filling in most of the R. Okay. So by doing that, we filled in even more of the AR there's still a big chunk here that's missing. So let me grab the copy of my first stroke, duplicate it one more time and scooted over to the right. So it fills that in.

Joey Korenman (49:53):

Cool. All right. So you could see now we're pretty close, but there's still these little holes. So this is where the last trick comes in. I'm going to add an adjustment layer and I'm going to put it right above all of these paint strokes that we've made. And on that, uh, on that adjustment layer, I'm going to call this adjustment layer dilate. All right. And I'm going to use an effect in the channel, man. You called mini max. All right. Now, let me turn this R off. Uh, let me turn stensul alpha layer off for a minute. What mini max does is it kind of works like a matte choker. Um, but it does it a little bit differently that, that it's a little bit sort of, I don't know, smoother, more organic, whatever. It works a little bit better for this effect. Um, the only reason I know that is cause I tried the mat choke, right?

Joey Korenman (50:47):

I didn't like how it looked mini max. It does a different thing. So first thing I need to do is tell it to, uh, you know, do this effect on not just the color, but also the alpha, so alpha and color, and you can see what it does. It basically takes each pixel and it blooms it a little bit. Right. So I want it to start out with the effect of zero. And as the paint begins to finish drawing the letter, I'm going to put a key frame there and then I'm going to go forward maybe 12 frames and I'm going to dilate it. Okay. Now I don't know how much to dilate it yet. So let me turn the R back on. Let's go back to zero here. And it, all I want to do is dilate it until all of the holes have been filled. And so when I get to three, everything's been filled. Now, if I hit you on this dilate layer, I'm just going to easy, ease these key frames, just so that the transitions a little bit smoother. And so now when I ran pre-vis this you'll see, as the paint is finishing, it's actually thickening up those strokes at the same time.

Joey Korenman (51:57):

Cool. All right. So now is there anything else that's still bothering me? Well, one thing that's still bothering me is this stuff here in the, in the, in that first vertical stroke of the R, um, because I'm, I'm just noticing it, it's drawing my eye. So what I want to do is maybe make one more copy and maybe offset these even a little bit and just try to just, just do my best here to try and there we go. Cool. Okay. All right. So now what I'm gonna do now, I've got this, our comp, okay. So, uh, let's go back to our little letters pre-com here, right? And I can close this. I don't need to see this anymore and get a better look at this. Okay. So my other letter is, um, you know, we haven't, we haven't done anything with yet. Oh. And I still have this composition viewer locked. So when we unlock that, okay. So now I've got the, are painting on.

Joey Korenman (53:03):

Cool. I would just do that to every single letter. And that's exactly what I did. Um, if we go into my comp here and we go into the letters, you can see that I just did that to every letter. I offset them in time. Um, and that's pretty much, that's the big trick, right? The rest of it was just compositing, you know, adding a little texture. Um, I will show you one cool trick that I did think was pretty neat. Um, I wanted to have a little bit of a leading edge to this. So, um, so here's my, here's my animated letters. Write letters. Animated is the name of that. Um, so if I, if I take all of these net pre-com them.

Joey Korenman (53:53):

And I duplicate my pre-camp and I take the copy and I move it forward. One frame, I tell the bottom copy to use the top as an alpha inverted mat. You see what it makes, it makes this interesting sort of leading edge animation, which even on its own is pretty cool. Um, one problem is it does give you this, like, you know, one or two pixel stroke here. Um, so I do need to get rid of that. So what I would do is just take the top copy, um, apply simple choker to it and just erode it a little bit until that goes away. There we go.

Joey Korenman (54:37):

Right. And now you get this interesting leading edge comp that you could do, you know, you could layer that on top of your right on and get like an interesting kind of looking, you know, like a, like a glowing leading edge or something. All right. So yeah. So in my comp I used that leading edge that leading edge is a, let's see that leading edge is right there, but that leading edge really can just help add like another little, you know, visual cue that, that makes it look neater. All right. Um, so there you go. That was a ton of information, you know, as a motion designer, you will be asked to make something right on at some point in your career, probably multiple times. And now, you know, not only two easy ways to do it, that can be done very quickly, but now, you know, a pretty slick way to get a really very natural painterly looking right on effect.

Joey Korenman (55:37):

So thank you guys. I hope this was helpful. And I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of 30 days of after effects. Thank you guys. Thank you so much for watching. I want to give one more quick. Thank you to the department of motion design at the Ringling college of art and design for sponsoring the 30 days of after effects. I really hope this lesson gives you some new ideas on how to do ride ons that you can make on the fly or spend some time on and really wow, your clients. If you have any questions or thoughts, please let us know. And we'd love to hear from you if you use this technique on a project. So give us a shout on Twitter at school of motion and show us your work. And if you learn something valuable from this video, please share it around. It really helps us spread the word about school emotion. We truly appreciate it. Don't forget. Sign up for a free student account to access project files for the lesson you just watched, plus a whole bunch of other cool stuff. Thanks again. And I'll see you next time.

Speaker 2 (56:41):


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