After Effects training in-class or online
After Effects tips… Creating handwritten text

Here’s a short After Effects tutorial showing how I create the handwritten text effect.

To follow this tutorial, you’ll need to download and install a handwritten-looking font. The one I use is Bradley Hand ITC., which you can download from

Here’s the process:

  1. In your After Effects project, Create a New Composition.
  2. Create some text using the Text tool or Layer > New > Text.
  3. Choose the Pen tool and draw a Mask Path on the text layer as if you were actually hand writing something – this may take some getting used to!
  4. Make sure the Text layer is active and choose Effect > Generate > Stroke.
  5. In the Effect Controls panel:
    1. Tick All Masks and Stroke Sequentially.
    2. Set the Brush Size to approximately 50, or a size that equates the real letters.
    3. Set Brush Hardness to taste – I use around 50%.
    4. Make sure the Opacity is 100%.
    5. Set Paint Style to Reveal Original Image.
    6. Turn on the stopwatch for the End value and set it to 0.0% at the point in time where you want the animation to begin.
    7. Move the CTI forwards in time (around two seconds works for me) and set the End value to 100%.

Play it back and your words should be revealed:

Handwritten text in After Effects

I hope you can make use of this technique in your projects!


Armada offers After Effects training to users at all levels. See Introduction to After Effects and Advanced After Effects.

About the author

Chris Nelthorpe is an Adobe Certified Instructor (ACI) and an Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) in both After Effects and Premiere Pro. He is also an expert user of Adobe Audition.He uses all three applications extensively in his professional work as an Editor, Motion Graphics Designer, Visual Effects Artist and Sound Designer.Chris has worked on documentaries, short films, fashion shoots, corporate videos and features, editing over a hundred show reels for clients including Forces TV and British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS).

Leave a comment

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.