How to Create a Write-On Effect in After Effects

Updated on: October 15, 2022

Sometimes to create eye-catching effects in After Effects, you only need to know a few options that the software offers by default. For example, have you ever seen a video that presents the text differently? How about with a "writing-in-real-time" effect?

To learn how to create a write-on effect in After Effects, you need to activate five essential features: a Solid background, the Brush tool, and a couple of panels. But let's go in order. Let's start by arranging the workspace to create your effect.

Setting up the tools to create the Write-On effect in After Effects:

Before anything else, you must create the Solid Background, as the Brush Tool becomes useless without it. Hit Ctrl + Y or Cmd + Y on Mac. Next, choose the background color and click Ok.

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Now that you have created your backdrop go to the layers area and double-click on the one linked to it. This action will enable the Brush tool. Activate it in the toolbar next to the Text tool or by hitting Ctrl + B or Cmd + B.

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How to change the brush duration to create the Write-On effect in After Effects

You should have activated your Brush tool; however, you won't use it. So click Ctrl + 8 or Cmd + 8 to open the Paint panel. You will set the color of your Brush and the Write-on effect. To do this:

  1. Look at the three tabs below the Opacity and Flow options, and select the Duration tab.
  1. Choose the Write-On option.
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  1. Go back to the main screen, and write anything in one shot with the Brush tool activated. No pauses.
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  1. When you finish writing your message, return the Time Indicator to the beginning of the Timeline and press the space bar to play the animation. You will see how the software automatically follows and displays the stroke you made.

As any animation in After Effects shows keyframes on the Timeline, you should know that if you want to modify them to make the stroke faster or slower, or start at another point on the Timeline, open the Brush 1 properties in the layers area.

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When you do so, deploy Stroke Options and change the values of its features to see the possibilities available when generating the Write-On effect.

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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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