Learn How to Animate Hand-Drawn Letters with AfterEffects

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Lesson Overview

In this lesson, I will teach you how to create the hand drawing effect on any font with Adobe AfterEffects CC. Here are the steps we will cover. 

Steps to Create Hand-Drawn Animation

  1. Choose a Font and Write Something
  2. Trace the Letters with the Pen Tool, as if you were writing them by hand. 
  3. Apply the Animate Stroke Effect Effect >> Generate >> Stroke
  4. Make the brush size just fit the edges of the text
  5. Set the following options in the effect panel (all masks, stroke sequentially, paint style=reveal_original)
  6. Set Keyframes. End 0%, --- End 100%.
  7. Add Easing. Ctrl-Shift-K

Download the Entire Alphabet Animated in NeoRetroFill Font

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Download the Alphabet Animated with AfterEffects

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Step 1 - Type a Word

Using your favorite font, type the text you want to use for the hand drawn effect. Keep in mind, fonts with minimal overlapping paths are easiest to work with.

Step 3 - Trace the Text with the Pen Tool

Your goal here is to create a series of masks within the text layer, almost as if you were writing the letters by hand. It does not need to be perfect, but try to stay within the center of the text path and don't go out of order.

Step 3 - Generate the Stroke Effect

Select the text, then go to Effect >> Generate >> Stroke

Step 4 - Increase the Brush Size

Increase the brush size in the effect panel to cover the entire text. You may need to adjust the masks or change the brush color to make sure the text is fully covered. Keep in mind, the color of the brush does not matter.

Step 5 - Make sure the Correct Options are Set

The following options should be set in the stroke effect panel: 

  • All masks - CHECKED
  • Stroke Sequentially - CHECKED
  • Paint Style - Reveal Original Image

Step 6 - Set the Keyframes

Now its time to set the keyframes. Place the timeline where you want your animation to start, then hit the stopwatch for the "End" attribute and set it to 0.0%, move the timeline to when you want the animation to end, then set the "End" attribute to 100%. Easy as that, you should now see a drawing like the one above.

Watch the Hand Drawn Text Video Tutorial

Check out this tutorial on youtube!
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