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How to Create a Handwriting Effect in Adobe Premiere and After Effects (+ Templates)

Animated handwriting or text is a simple, subtle way to inject a bit of flair into your business or personal video projects.

While it's possible to create an animated handwriting effect with plugins, downloadable templates, or online "whiteboard video" builders, these methods can be either limiting or overly complicated for a simple writing effect.

Example of a video handwriting effect made in Premiere.

Fortunately, it's actually quite easy to create this kind of effect inside of Adobe Premiere without downloading and installing any additional templates. That's a big plus for those familiar with Premiere looking to achieve the effect.

In fact, the effect tool used to create simple handwriting animations is literally called "write-on."

Word of caution: Applying this effect to your text won't magically animate the text. There's a bit of legwork (and patience) involved in creating a handwriting animation in both Premiere and After Effects.

That said, you'll also have a lot more control over the effect than if you used an online generator or similar option.

If you're versed in After Effects and prefer that software for graphics and animations, then you can more or less take the steps provided in this tutorial and create a comparable effect in that program, as well. 

Let's walk through how to create a handwriting effect in Adobe Premiere Pro.

What Is a Handwriting Effect?

A handwriting effect is a tool that allows you to digitally write and animate text. Creating the handwriting effect makes the titles on your website stand out to your visitors.

The handwriting effect has many other uses for your website and other marketing materials such as the following:

  • Video production: You can add animated handwritten text to YouTube videos, promotional videos, and videos for various other social media channels.
  • Email marketing: Inject some extra pizzazz to your marketing emails by adding handwritten effects. You can use these effects for holidays, promotions, and other special events.
  • Website titles: You can also use cool handwritten graphics to add something special to your hero images and other text on your website.
  • Social media posts: Make your social media posts stand out with gorgeous animated text on your videos and other animated graphics.

Using these effects can be easy and fun while providing an excellent user experience for your target audience. The best part about the animated handwriting effect is that you can create it yourself.

How to Animate Writing Using Adobe

You can learn how to animate writing on Adobe by following these three easy steps.

1. Apply Write-On to Your Text Layer and Tweak the Starting Settings.

To access the effect, simply open your effects window or tab, scroll down to Generate > Write-on, then drag and drop the effect onto your text layer. Easy as that.

Then, you're going to want to change a few parameters in the effect options before making the magic happen. The ones you need to worry about are the following:

Write-on effect options in Adobe Premiere.

Brush Position

This is the location of your effect on top of your video. Set the position to your starting point and create a keyframe by clicking the animation button (the clock icon).

A diamond will have popped up in the timeline to the right of the effect. This is your first keyframe. In this tutorial, any mention of "keyframe" refers to the Brush Position.

Color

This is the color of the effect's brush, which forms the overlaying path for the effect that you're going to create in this tutorial. Set it to something contrasting from the underlying video so it's easy to follow when creating your path.

Brush Size

Your brush size should be set slightly larger than the width of the text you're animating.

Brush Hardness

The hardness of the brush edges should be left at 100 percent for a solid animation. Or, you can lower the hardness a bit to have the letters fade in as they are "written."

Brush Opacity

This refers to how much of the brush is visible. It can be helpful to set it to 80 percent or so when creating this effect (and switching to 100 percent when it's complete), so you can make sure you're following along the text accurately.

Stroke Length and Brush Spacing

These options control the effect's animation path between the keyframes that you're going to be making later.

Stroke length is the important one because it affects how the actual strokes between keyframes behave, which you can always tweak after creating your path.

Paint Style

"Save the best for last," as they say. This option affects how the write-on effect interacts with your text layer or image.

Set it to On Original Image for now. Once you've plotted the brush path with your keyframes, you can effectively turn the animation "on" by switching this setting to Reveal Original Image.

Enough chit-chat about setting the stage. Let's get to animating this thing!

2. Create the Animation Path With Keyframes.

Excited to get started? Well, this part takes a while.

To start creating your handwriting effect, go to the first keyframe for the effect in your timeline (the one you created in Brush Position).

This is your starting frame. Click "write-on" (the effect as a whole) or "brush position" to bring up the position controls in your program window (the one with your composited video screen). Welcome to your new playground.

Creating Write-on keyframes in Premiere.

Use the directional keys on your keyboard to move forward a few frames (or more, depending on how long you want the effect to last).

Then, click inside the program window and move the write-on effect along its intended path. This can only be a straight line between each position, with the stroke length setting from earlier filling in the gaps and curves as you progress through creating the effect.

Move ahead a few more frames, rinse and repeat.

It can be time consuming, but at the end of the day, you're going to get the exact effect you need with the added control that Adobe provides.

If you look back over to the write-on effect's properties, then you'll see that every time you move ahead on the timeline and drag or draw your path, a new keyframe is created. This is marking the frame and on-screen position of the brush as you go through the motions.

Keyframes auto-populating when editing Brush Position in Premiere's Write-on effect.

Once you completed the keyframes and animation path, it's time to flip an "on" switch and see how we did.

3. Hit Play and Watch Your Animation in Action.

Head back to the effect options and change the paint style to "Reveal Original Image." Render the effect or effect area, hit play, and be amazed by how gnarly you are for creating a handwriting effect!

The final result of a handwriting text effect created in Premiere.

To make it easier for you, you can opt to use a handwriting After Effects template. This way, you can get the cool animated look you want without taking the extra time to make something for scratch.

10 of the Best Handwriting After Effects Templates

Take a look at the 10 of the best handwriting After Effects templates that you can use for your website:

1. Paint On

painton-template

The Paint On template is similar to a painted brush look. Each character has blue, white, and, black colors that can be customized to fit your brand. 

2. Ash Tree

This easy-to-use template allows you to create cool and creative text animations to impress your audience. With the Ash Tree Template, you can type your text, pick a color, and generate a duration for your text. 

3. Elegance

elegance-template

The Elegance handwriting template is a classy animated typeface that has a slow animation with 60 frames per second. It also includes options to change the typing speed.

4. Hand Drawn Animated Font

handdrawn-template

You can create eye-catching titles with this Hand Drawn Animated Template without plugins. You can customize the font color, and the letters animate in and out of the frame to provide your title, email, or presentation with a cool effect. 

5. Whiteboard Write

This template is more than a simple handwriting template. It is perfect for companies that want to make promo videos to market their product or service.

Whiteboard Write has two different fonts and allows you to choose your own colors. 

6. Neon Script

This fun template is a write-in animated font that is great for promos, quotes, titles, and openers. Neon Script provides you with easy-to-use controls so the animation process is simple in After Effects.

7. Avocado

Avocado is a fun animated handwriting template that provides you with a clean and elegant font. This template is perfect for enhancing the look of your presentations, slideshows, and promotional videos. 

8. Calligraphy

calligraphy

Calligraphy Animated Typeface is a classic After Effects template that allows you to create beautifully handwritten text animations with a few simple clicks.

9. Beauty

Beauty is a slow animated typeface that can be used for several different occasions. 

10. Handcraft

Handcraft is a great animated template that is good for titles, signatures, cards, and stories. This template includes the entire English alphabet, special characters, and numbers. 

Think of the effect and brush path as an animated opacity layer, because that's all it really is. This effect is also a neat skill to have that can apply to much more than text, like image or icon outlines, border frames, and more.

Whatever layer the effect is applied to, you have the same controls and freedom to explore.

Download our YouTube style guide now!

Erika Giles

Erika Giles

Erika is a Marketing Copywriter at Bluleadz. She is a huge fan of houseplants and podcasts about conspiracy theories. She spends most of her free time reading, writing, and enjoying the outdoors.