Create Retro Horror Movie Titles in After Effects
In this video tutorial, learn how to create some 80s-inspired, retro horror movie titles in After Effects.
For a lot of people, the horror movie genre peaked in the ’80s. Influences, call-backs, and homages to ’80s horror can still be seen in modern horror films.
That’s the inspiration for this tutorial. We’re going to create some retro horror movie titles in After Effects, using only FREE plugins and assets. (Be sure to download the FREE project file with the video assets to follow along!)
First, you’ll need to design the general layout of your movie title. To do this, simply use the text tool in After Effects and create a title. You can then format the layout of the title using the various text settings in the Character and Paragraph panels.
Video Copilot Saber Plugin
Once you have Saber installed, simply apply the effect to a Solid layer. Then, change the Core Type to Text Layer, and select your text titles. For the look of our titles, I recommend starting with the Neon preset that’s available in Saber.
You’ll likely need to adjust the Glow Spread, Glow Bias, and Core Size settings for best results.
You can refine the look of your titles even more by enabling the Flicker settings available in Saber. I highly recommend checking on the Mask Randomization option, which will allow each letter to flicker independently. This creates a neat shimmer effect.
To finalize the look of the neon titles, try playing with the Gamma, Brightness, and Saturation in the Render Settings.
Animating the Titles
To animate our movie titles, we’re primarily only going to need to keyframe two different settings. The first is the Scale of our title Text layer. In my example, I scaled my text from 110% to 90%. I suggest doing this over a long period of time, around 10-12 seconds.
Next, for the animation of the title, all you need to keyframe is the Start Offset setting in the Customize Core settings of Saber. Set the Start Offset to 100%, then have it keyframe down to 0%. (You can keyframe it at the same speed as your scale animation.)
Finally, you’ll need to Precompose your title text layer and Saber layer together. This will make it easier to work with later on.
Making the Titles Look Retro
Now, we need to make our movie titles look more like they were from the 80s. First, apply a Gaussian Blur effect to your precomped titles and set the Blurriness to 4.
Next, we can add some chromatic fringing using the Channel Blur effect or using the FREE plugin Quick Chromatic Aberration 2.
More FREE Retro and Horror Assets
Looking for more FREE files to accent your 80s horror movie titles? Check out our free Synthwave and Vaporwave Graphics Pack. It has plenty of elements to help you stylize your 80s titles even more!
Interested in the royalty-free tracks we used to make this video? Give them another listen:
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