How to Blur Text in After Effects Progressively

Updated on: October 13, 2022

Among all the possibilities for animating text that exist in After Effects' layer properties, there is one that can be quite striking and easy to use. It is the fading of characters: an effect that comes in handy when you want to present a message and vanish it without abruptness. 

If you've already written something in your composition and you're wondering how to make your characters change little by little, read on because you'll learn how to blur text in After Effects progressively.

Activating the Animate option to fade text in After Effects

When you open the properties tab of a Text layer, you will find three groups of options with tools to animate your characters and paragraphs.

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Text is the first option and includes the Source Text button. That feature allows you to change one word to another without deleting the first one. Transform is the second one, and it is present in all layers to create basic motions. The third option is Animate: the one you will need to fade your texts. Here’s how you can use it:

  1. Click on the button next to the Animate feature to display the list of options. 
  1. Note how many of the options are also available in the general Layer properties or even in panels. Then, click on the Blur option.
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  1. Now that you have activated Blur, you have two features available on the Layer you are working on. On the one hand, the Range Selector tab, and on the other, the Blur button.
  1. Place the Time Indicator in the first seconds of the Timeline and turn on the stopwatch next to Blur.
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  1. Move the Time Indicator a couple of seconds ahead of your previous keyframe and increase the value highlighted in blue to blur out the text of your composition.
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  1. Select the two keyframes on the Timeline as if you were going to group them and press F9.
  1. Hit the spacebar to play the animation.

The above steps work to fade all the characters in the text at the same time. If you want to fade one letter first and then the other: 

  1. Place the Time Indicator over at the height of the first keyframe created, open the Range Selection tab and turn on the Start stopwatch after increasing its value. That will cause the blurring to start from the left.
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  1. To complete the blurring, position the Time Indicator to the second keyframe and activate the End stopwatch.
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  1. Select the two keyframes and press F9.

We recommend you follow these last steps with words of many characters; otherwise it will be hard to appreciate the sweep. Remember to play with the Start and End buttons' values to change the speed of the effect and see the results.

Andrea Mercado is a tech-focused journalist and copywriter with over 5 years of experience covering innovation, edtech, AI, and internet trends across media outlets. She is passionate about how technology can democratize access to education and is an avid learner when it comes to emerging tech like AI. Her articles and webinars help readers stay informed on the latest tech developments.
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