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Activity Forums Adobe After Effects Write on effect with existing handwritten text

  • Write on effect with existing handwritten text

    Posted by Laurie Pepper on August 28, 2023 at 1:40 am

    I would think this would be easiest to do in After Effects and not FCP.

    I have an existing handwritten letter. I want to preserve the handwriting, but make it look as if it is being written on the screen. Everything. I’ve found works only with prre-existing fonts. This is an image of a letter. Is it possible with masks to make it look as if its being handwritten in real time?

    Ryan Daily replied 9 months, 3 weeks ago 4 Members · 7 Replies
  • 7 Replies
  • Graham Quince

    August 28, 2023 at 1:26 pm

    I think this is possible, although you’ll have a bit of work to do.

    1. With your handwriting layer selected, go to Layer > Auto-trace
    2. Select Luminance and set a blur of about 5 pixels and for the auto-trace to create a new layer
    3. Add a stroke effect to this layer, select All Masks and set a large stroke width.
    4. Animate the stroke’s end from 0% to 100%. When you do this you’ll see the words “write on” but not in the correct order.
    5. Now it’s a case of selecting each mask and dragging them into the correct position. You can select them in the comp view and then drag them up in the timeline.
    6. Once complete, use this layer as a Alpha matte for your original image.
  • Liz Dawn

    August 28, 2023 at 4:19 pm

    Have you tried the Stroke effect? It uses masks for each letter to add a written-on effect. There are lots of YouTube tutorials to watch to learn how to use it.

  • Ryan Daily

    August 30, 2023 at 8:38 pm

    I have had to do this many times. The problem is that for a block of text like that it will be very time-consuming. What you want to do is create a new shape layer or solid and basically draw out all of the curves to as you would if you were writing with a pencil in one continuous line. Draw the loop of a “t” and then draw the cross part of the “t” all as one line. You want to add a trim paths to it if it is a shape layer or a “stroke” to it if it is a solid with masks. Make this layer a matte layer for the image with the text. Animate the stroke or trim paths from 0 to 100 over time. Adjust the thickness so none of your letters get cut off or look too thin.
    I know this sounds complicated but if you would like, I can send you an AE file with basic setup or you can join a small discord we have for interactive AE help. ✌

  • Laurie Pepper

    August 31, 2023 at 12:08 am

    Thanks so much. I’ll try it!

  • Laurie Pepper

    August 31, 2023 at 12:09 am

    Thanks so much. I’m not sure I follow, but I’ll work on it!

  • Laurie Pepper

    August 31, 2023 at 12:11 am

    Ryan! It does sound complicated! But I’m so glad to hear you’ve done it. I would love to have a template from. you or more advice. How???

  • Ryan Daily

    August 31, 2023 at 12:16 am

    Here you go. This is with the latest version of AE. If you want to discuss the details, me and a few others hang out in an AE help group on Discord:

    I hope this helps.

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