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Tutorial: How to Create a Moving Glow Effect Using Adobe After Effects CC 2015

This tutorial demonstrates a nice way to highlight key words, titles, logos, and lower-thirds within your video graphics using a simple workflow in After Effects CC.

Add a Blur

Now you’ll fine tune this solid by adding some blur to soften the overall look. Navigate over to the Effects and Presets panel and do a search for Gaussian Blur (Figure 7, below). Once you see it, take the effect and drag it over to the solid layer.

Figure 7. Searching Effects and Presets for Gaussian Blur

Then, in the Effect Controls panel, enter 999 in the Blurriness area to maximize the blur (Figure 8, below).

Figure 8. Setting the Blurriness value

Mask Out the Glow

The next step in this workflow is to mask out the glow so that it appears only in your text and not the entire screen. Start by moving the white solid glow effect between the two text layers you created earlier when you duplicated the type you entered (Figure 9, below).

Figure 9. Repositioning the white solid Glow layer in the layers stacking order

Next, we'll change the track matte for our solid. In order to see these options, you may need to change the view by selecting the Toggle Switches/Modes button.

Under the solid glow layer, change the Track Matte option from No Track Matte to Alpha Matte “GLOW EFFECT 2” (Figure 10, below).

Figure 10. Changing the Track Matte option

Now, if you move your glow solid to the right, you’ll see the glow applied only to your text (see the 2:40 mark in the video at the end of this article).

Animate the Glow

The final step is to animate the position of the glow. With the glow layer selected, press the P key to reveal the layer's Position properties. Select the Stopwatch button to enable keyframes for the position. Then navigate ahead in time with the CTI to the 2-second mark, and drag the X value in the position area to the right so that it goes off screen (Figure 11, below).

Figure 11. Changing the X value for the Glow layer’s position so the glow goes off-screen at the 2-second mark. Click the image to see it at full size.

You can do a RAM preview to see what your animation looks like (to see how it previews in the example used in the video tutorial below, go to the 3:05 mark). You can adjust the keyframes by moving them closer together or further apart. This will affect how fast the glow moves across your text.

You can continue to do a number of things to stylize and time this glow or you can stop at this point. Overall, this is a nice way to highlight key words, titles, logos, and lower-thirds within your video graphics.


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