Showcase and discover digital art at yex

Follow Design Stacks

Subscribe to our free newsletter to get all our latest tutorials and articles delivered directly to your inbox!

Animating a Signature in After Effects (MAC)

Animating a Signature in After Effects

5 Quick tips on mask animations, including paint
by Ko Maruyama

Several years ago, my PaintBox initiation began with rotoscoping signatures for a game show that featured celebrities’ names in the promo. For the show’s promotional campaign, I was charged with the task of replicating the light-pen animation that was used on the set to animate each signature for the 15 celebrities that would appear that week. These sorts of effects are much more accessible these days, and programs like Adobe After Effects offer a variety of solutions for creating animated signatures or other writing effects. This week, we’ll take a look at a few of the options you can use to create the illusion of writing in your compositions.

Before we get started, you should know this isn’t a tutorial for animating specific fonts. After all, do you sign your name in Helvetica Neue? If you are interested in text animation, you can read about it in Stephen Schleicher’s tutorial on text here. Otherwise, read on to learn about animating hand-drawn signatures.

There are are a few things you have to consider when animating a signature.

  • Are you creating the graphic from scratch or scanning an actual signature?
  • Do you want to retain or create the irregularities found in a signature?
  • Do you need to set specific timing for the character animations? ascenders and curves take longer to write by hand, creating irregular speeds in a signature.

You’ll have to play around with these tutorials and find out which method is appropriate for you.