Lately we’ve been seeing quite a few teams animating signatures in their videos and gifs. SkullSparks featured one of these graphics done by Oklahoma’s Women’s Basketball team recently.
— SkullSparks (@SkullSparks) February 27, 2017
This effect is especially popular for National Signing Day and in contract announcements in professional sports. It can also be used when announcing autograph session promotions for games, players good-bye notes to fans, and for a final score in golf.
We’re going to be working in Adobe After Effects CC. I have set up a graphic of Allen Robinson as the background. We want to have the signature sign in the space between his stats and the jump ball cutout.
If you notice, there’s a layer that’s invisible. That’s the png of the signature that I brought in earlier. I’m just going to make it visible to work with and select it. With that layer selected, we are going to go to Effects -> Generate -> Stroke.
Select the Pen tool (G is the keystroke). Simply begin tracing the signature from start to finish with the pen tool. You want to keep the line from the pen tool in the center of the signature as best as possible. If you need to adjust the curves, hold CRTL and click on the rounded balls to move around and adjust the curvature of the line. For whenever the ink would lift of the paper, hold CTRL and click off the pen path, then click on the new starting point.
Go back to the ‘Effects Controls’ panel on the left side. Select ‘All Masks’. Increase the ‘Brush Size’ until it covers the signature (I decided to change the brush color to pink because white-on-white is hard to see). Adjust using the pen tool to make sure that the entire signature is covered.
Change ‘Paint Style’ to ‘Reveal Original Image’. This will make the pink disappear. Change ‘End’ to 0%. This will make the signature disappear and only the pen tool lines remaining. (If you play around with sliding the ‘End’ attribute, you’ll start to see how this all works)With ‘End’ at 0%, click the stopwatch item to set a keyframe. Change your position on the timeline to a few seconds away (say 4 seconds). Go back to ‘End’ and change it to 100%. Then press preview to see it work. To adjust the speed, go into the timeline, under the layer click the triangle next to effects, then the triangle next to stroke, and then move the keyframes (diamond) on the timeline closer together.
Export and save as an animated gif and you’re done!
Let us know what you think and if you have any questions!