You've all seen the popular effect in film and TV titles where the title text is outlined by lights rays that shoot out from the edges of the characters, so that the title looks as if it's illuminated from behind by a powerful light source. Sometimes the effect is animated, so the light source itself appears to be in motion. This effect is sometimes known as "God Rays", and I'll show you how create it in this quick After Effects tutorial.
Let's get started.
We're going to work in a 720p format here, so start by creating a new composition (Command-N, or Composition > New Composition...) at 1280x720 pixels, 10 seconds long. Make the background black, and call it "God Rays" (or, if you prefer, something less blasphemous like "Light Rays"):
Next, grab the Horizontal Type Tool, place it in the center of the comp, and type in "Light Rays" (or whatever you like):
With the Type Tool, select the text, and in the Character palette, make the type white, and set it to a large heavy font, so that it fills most of the center of the comp - I'm using Myriad Pro here:
Select the text layer in the Timeline and duplicate it (Command -D or Edit > Duplicate):
Select the bottom or rear-most layer and apply Light Burst to it: Effect > Generate > CC Light Burst 2.5. (We're applying Light Burst to the rear layer so that the front layer masks the light rays and enhances the rear-lighting effect.) Use the default settings for now, except check the Set Color box, click the color swatch next to Color, and set it to a light yellow:
Now we'll create the sweeping light effect. In the Timeline, set your Current Time Indicator (CTI) to zero seconds, and enable keyframing for Center, Intensity, and Ray Length in the Light Burst Effect Controls. Set Intensity and Ray Length to zero:
Click the crosshairs for the Center property and, in the Comp window, position the crosshair so it's on the right edge of your text:
Move your CTI to 5 seconds, and set Intensity and Ray Length to 100 and 200, respectively:
Move your CTI to 10 seconds, and set Intensity and Ray Length both back to zero. Click your Center crosshairs again, and position them on the left side of your text:
Preview this, and voila! There's your God Ray effect:
Try varying the Light Burst Center, changing or animating the Color, different Intensity and Ray Length settings - above all, experiment, and have fun!