The First Lettering Animation Technique Every Beginner Should Learn


Design in Illustrator

  1. The lettering is a stroke, not a fill
  2. Separate bg and lettering on different layers
  3. Set art board size to 1440 x 1080

Animate in After Effects

Import and open composition

  1. File > Import > File
    (Import As: Composition - Retain Layer Sizes)
  2. Click Open
  3. Double click “full” composition to open it

Convert lettering into an After Effects shape layer

  1. Right click on “full” layer > Create > Create Shapes from Vector Layer

Animate with Trim Paths

  1. Toggle down the layer
  2. Click the arrow next to Add
  3. Click Trim Paths
  4. Toggle down Trim Paths
  5. Click the stopwatch next to End to add a keyframe
  6. Change End value to 0%
  7. Move the playhead to 1 second
  8. Change End value to 100%
  9. Click and drag to select the keyframes
  10. Right click > Keyframe Assist > Easy Ease (F9)
  11. Drag in the work area


  1. Move playhead to 2 seconds
  2. Click stopwatch next to Add to add keyframe
  3. Move playhead to 3 seconds
  4. Change value of Add to 100%
  5. Adjust work area to end at 3 seconds and 12 frames


  1. Add to Render Queue
  2. Click Render

Make a GIF in Photoshop

  1. Open Photoshop
  2. Open your newly rendered video file
  3. File > Export > Save for Web (Legacy)
  4. GIF 32 Dithered
  5. Adjust size (800x600)
  6. Select Loop: Forever
  7. Save

Post your animation to Twitter or Instagram

I'd love to see what you make 😄 So if you post this to Twitter or Instagram, tag me! I'm @ItsAustinSaylor on both Twitter and Instagram.


Hi 👋 I'm Austin Saylor

I've been animating in After Effects for many years for clients like Honda, Chick-fil-A, Vans, and Texas Instruments. 

In the past few years I've been focusing on animating custom lettering. Lettering is such an expressive form of communication and I love infusing life into it with motion.

If you love lettering and you love animation, this is the place for you! 

See more lettering animation on my Instagram: @itsaustinsaylor