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After Effects: Christmasy Particle Text Reveals

Check out our After Effects: Secrets of Particle Playground course!

So as it’s Christmas very soon here’s how to create a quick Christmasy particle text reveal effect in After Effects.


Step 1

First off, create a new Composition (Command-N) and make it 1280px x 720px. 

New composition


Then make a new Solid. Give it a nice deep red color.

Solid red


Select the Ellipse tool from the Shape menu and double click it to make a comp size mask. Twirl down the mask parameters and feather the mask to around 500px.

feather mask to 500px


Step 2

Create  some text by choosing the Text tool and write out some text. I’ve gone for ‘Merry Christmas’ (surprisingly enough!) using Minion Pro at about 140px.

I’ve given it some simple Layer Styles by going to Layer > Layer Styles and adding a Drop Shadow and Bevel and Emboss set to Hard Chisel.

add a Drop Shadow and Bevel and Emboss set to Hard Chisel


Step 3

Now I’m going to animate the text to wipe on using the inbuilt text animation tools. Open the text layer and press Animate. Choose Blur.

Choose blur


Step 4

Open Animator 1 and set the Blur to 20px or so.

Set the blur to 20px


Step 5

Then add a parameter for Opacity by clicking Add > Property > Opacity.

Add opacity


Step 6

Your text should now be invisible.

The text


Step 7

Twirl down Range Selector 1 and set the Start to 100% and the End to 0%.

Range selector


Step 8

Moving the Offset parameter will reveal your text. Animate this by creating a keyframe (click the stopwatch by the Offset parameter) near the start of your comp at 0%. Move 1 or 2 seconds into the comp and change the value to 100%.

Revealing the text


Here’s the text reveal:



Step 9

Now it’s time to create some particles. I’ve done this with After Effects' default particle system CC Particle World so you can follow along. However, you’ll get much better results using Trapcode Particular from Red Giant.

Create a new solid and drag CC Particle World onto it. 

Creating some particles


I’ve keyframed Position X the Producer section to follow my text wipe with some keyframes.  I’ve also animated the Birth Rate from 0 to 1.5 so the particles only start to emit just before the text starts to reveal. I’ve also keyframed this to stop emitting once the text has fully revealed.

Here are the settings for my Star particle. I’ve also added a default Glow effect to the particles.

Star particle settings


Step 10

Now duplicate the particle layer (Command-D) and change the setting in CC Particle World to emit some smaller secondary particles. I’ve set the Birth Rate higher and the Longevity of the particles so they trail of a bit more. Here are my settings:

Duplicated particle layer


Step 11

You should see something like this:

The result so far...


Step 12

Finally, duplicate the new particle layer again and drag it underneath the text layer. I’ve made the new particles quite large to create a glow effect for the animation. The layer transfer mode is set to add so it blends nicely with the background.

blend it with the background


Here’s the final animation:



Even though CC Particle World is pretty basic you can still get some nice effects from it by layering it up.

Check out our After Effects: Secrets of Particle Playground course!

Toby Pitman

Toby Pitman | Articles by this author

For the past 20 years Toby has worked as a professional guitarist, programmer and producer. Clients include Sir Paul McCartney, George Michael, Shirley Bassey, Yusuf Islam, Giles Martin as well as the London 2012 Olympic Ceremonies. He has also worked extensively in TV, Advertising and Film. As well as composing himself he has also worked alongside many composers like David Arnold, Clint Mansell and Simon Franglen on many major film releases. An expert in synthesis and sound design Toby has also lectured for Apple on their Logic Pro music software which he has used since its days on the Atari. He has also worked as an educator for the International Guitar Foundation and the Brighton Institute of Modern Music teaching guitar. In his spare time (of which there is very little) he moonlights as a motion graphics artist specialising in Cinema 4D and After Effects.

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