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Tutorial: Creating Dynamic, Customizable Title Effects in Red Giant Universe 2.1

This tutorial runs through some of the highlights from the new Red Giant Universe 2.1 plug-in package of effects and filters, working in After Effects because that's where so much ambitious title work happens.

Animating the Main Title

That's the subtitle, which will remain unchanged throughout this tutorial. Let's go on to our main title, "The Bell Witch." The first one I'll pull up is Glitch. Glitch does not really affect the text that much by itself, but you'll find that every few frames, something will happen on screen. A random couple of pixels will pop up, or part of the letters will actually disappear as you can see right there on the second L in "Bell” around the 4:55 mark in the tutorial video. Part of that gets removed. It happens for a frame at a time. Then you'll see other places on the screen where things will appear. Glitch gives the title that unnerving feeling that you might want for something kind of creepy like this.

Jumping up to the top of my list of applied effects shown in Figure 5 (below), I have the AV Club preset applied. You can see right away they're going for a high school video project or cable access kind of effect.

Figure 5. The AV Club effect on the main title

Again, each one of these you scroll over, you can see a quick preview—like Late Night Infomercial. There are even some pixelated options here that are tailor-made for your Nintendo or Atari interfaces. To me, this doesn't work that well with my subtitle, because this has this weird ’80s or ’90s retro VHS effect, whereas this is definitely more traditional spooky movie look.

Let's move on to the next one. I chose Ecto again for the main title, but it has a completely different look than my subtitle, as you can see in Figure 6 (below). It's all white. It has what I think of as a phantasm look to it. It's a white flame.

Figure 6. Same group of effects, totally different look in the main title

Again, when that subtitle comes on, it casts an eerie orange glow even over the white smoke, or flame that's up here. That preset is called Phantom. Again, browsing the presets shows you everything you have available at your disposal, and the diversity that you can get out of this one effect, just by spending a little time making some tweaks. By the way, while I'm looking at this preset again, also notice the E that they've chosen for this preset (Figure 7, below). If it makes you think of a particular series on Netflix, that's probably not by accident.

Figure 7. Stranger things have happened than Red Giant designing a "Castle Byers" E that looks like the title typography in the hottest horror series on Netflix.

Glo Fi II

Moving on down the list. Now we're to Glo Fi II (Figure 8, below). If you've used Universe in the past, you'll be familiar with Glo Fi. This is their new version of this.

Figure 8. Glo Fi preset options

It has some new presets. They are available in vertical glows, horizontal glows, and then just straight up Gaussian glows, which hugs the shape of the letters rather than being directional. I went with a horizontal glow, and you can see at the 7:16 mark in the tutorial video that it gives this cool effect where it moves around, different letters will glow at different rates, and the words will have the effect in a varying degrees over time. By the way, you can see all of these effects as rendered, final outputs at the very end of the tutorial video.

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This tutorial walks viewers through a number of cool new effects, transitions, and text animation tools in Red Giant's omnibus plugin package, and shows how to navigate and customize the preset options available with each effect.