After Effects & Stroke

This gif is only an indexed version of the effect, but you can get an idea. The lines are being “hand drawn” in and at the same time you feel this shaky effect that is so cool and gives the video dynamics.


Hand draw

First we hand draw the object or type 3 times. You can use free hand, scan and clean, or a digital pen and photoshop. To be honest, I used the mouse directly and you can sense it, but it was only a quick trial.


Why 3 times? Well, switching between them is what will give the so cool shattering effect.

Now switch to After Effects and create a composition 9 frames long. 3 frames for each one of the three images.

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 11.09.24

Time re-mapping to loop

To make this whole composition loop forever (and ever), first enable time re-mapping (right clic):
Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 11.16.42

Then grow the composition until the desired length and add the loopOut() function (alt + clic on stopwatch) as an expression:

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 17.29.54

Finally correct a black out frame that appears on the 9th frame. By simply clicking a new keyframe right before and deleting it is fine.


There you go! It is looping!


Drawing in

But you would like to draw in I guess. This is when the stroke effect comes in.

Draw a mask along the picture/type. It doesn’t need to be perfect though, just rough.

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 11.27.05

Apply a stroke effect on the composition.

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 11.22.00

Asign all the masks you created to the stroke effect (it could be more than one!) and remember to clic “Stroke sequentially” so that it interprets the masks just the way you drew them.

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 11.29.16

Finally animate the “End” property by clicking a keyframe on 0% right at the beginning and a keyframe for 100% wherever you want the animation to end. See how it draws itself all along the masks?

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 11.29.27

This effect can be used on line drawings and typography that you can mask away with a path. Try changing the size for thicker strokes and play around.

Author: Bea Cabrera

Freelance Filmmaker with a passion for big cities, snowboard, cinema and a weakness for the smell of freshly ground coffee. Engineer & Graphic Designer in a previous life, loving and living both: art and technology.  

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