How to create and animate a lower third in Adobe After Effects – MUO – MakeUseOf | Hot Mobile Press

You’ve probably seen bottom thirds on almost every YouTube video you’ve watched, those banners asking you to subscribe to or follow their social networks, or add fun facts about the video.

Lower thirds are easy to create and add a touch of professionalism to any video when done right. In this tutorial we will show you how to create a simple lower third graphic and animate it in Adobe After Effects.


What is a lower third?

Bottom thirds are miscellaneous graphics that appear in video and television in the bottom third of the video screen. They don’t have to take up the entire bottom third of the space, but any graphic that appears in that bottom section counts as the bottom third.

Lower thirds can be subtitles, informational banners, logos, or interactive messages. Typically it provides information to the viewer, but it could also have entertainment value. If you don’t want to create a lower third graphic yourself in After Effects, you will find animated graphic elements using jitter.


How to create a lower third in After Effects

Start creating a new composition. Go to composition > New composition and set the video size; the default is 1920 x 1080px. click OK when you’re done

Turn on transparency by clicking on it Toggle transparency grid in the composition panel. Because the bottom third overlays the video footage, it must be rendered with a transparent background for the footage to be visible, but you can design with a colored background and toggle the transparency later.

Go to layer > New > Firmly to add a solid color. Choose a color for your graphic in the bottom third. click OK. Your entire composition will be one solid color, which will also appear as a layer in the timeline. You can change the color of this graphic at any time by selecting the graphic and going layer > Solid settings.

Click and drag the corners to resize the solid color to a more appropriate size. Once it’s the size of a banner graphic, move it to—you guessed it—the bottom third of the screen.

Turn those on Title/Action for sure Guides by pressing the apostrophe on your keyboard (), which will help you align your bottom third so it doesn’t get cut off. It doesn’t have to be centered, so place it where you want it at the bottom of your composition, but keep it away from the safety guidelines.

How to animate a lower third in After Effects

A bottom third needs to be animated to smoothly transition in and out of frame. On the timeline, open the solid layer’s properties and open it transform. We’ll use those position Option to animate lower third banner on and off screen. It should be a relatively easy transition so as not to distract the viewer from the rest of the video content.


Move the time indicator up 00:02s and select that stopwatch Next position to turn on position keyframes. Going backwards adds a new keyframe on the timeline to show the final position of the graphic.

Then move the time indicator back to 00:00s and change the X axis Next position, or you can click and drag the graphic outside the frame. Move your bottom third completely out of the frame where you want to insert the graphic.

Now you have two keyframes in the timeline. Highlight keyframes by clicking and dragging over them to select both at once. Then click Chart Editor at the top of the timeline. This gives you a visual representation of how the keyframes move your animation.

In the diagram, highlight each keyframe whose settings you want to change. On the right below the timeline you will find options for how the movements react. Here you will find Slight lightness. Easy Ease adds a subtle curve to each movement so it’s not as abrupt. An Easy Ease keyframe changes to an hourglass on the timeline.

You can also right-click and select a keyframe Keyframe Speed. Here you can enter amounts for both incoming and outgoing speed. An incoming input from 80 and an outgoing input from 20 the graphics will bring in quickly, but slowly calm down.

To preview your keyframe changes, move the current-time marker to 00:00s and press spacebar to start and stop playback. After you’ve set your input keyframes, select them all. Copy the keyframes—ctrl + C (Windows) or command + C (Mac) – and paste them into your timeline a few seconds later –ctrl + v (Windows) or command + v (macOS).

Arrange the pasted keyframes in reverse order. This creates opposite outbound motions for your bottom third, causing the banner to move out of the screen instead of coming in.

Add detail to your bottom third

Many YouTube vloggers use a bottom third graphic to encourage people to subscribe to their channel or follow their social media handles. So let’s do that.

Choose Enter toolctrl + T (Windows) or command + T (Mac) – and enter your social media handles. If it’s not open yet, go to window > character to open the character Blackboard. Then select the text to change font, color or size.

Once your text is formatted the way you want, use the selection tool (v) to drag the text to the solid color. Position it however you like; It doesn’t have to be centered if that’s not your style.

Since you’ve already set the position animation for the spot color, you can easily attach the text to move with the same attributes.

If you want the text to stay on top of the color block and blend with it, change the text’s parent background to the solid layer. This keeps the text and solid color as separate layers, but groups them together for animation purposes. You don’t need to add keyframes to the text layer.

We’ll use those too track mat special feature. right click source name above the layers and select columns > modes.

Click on the solid layer track mat. You can choose one of the options for different effects, but we’re going along with it Alpha Inverted Matte. This inverts your text color, which – if you’re using a transparent background – means the text is transparent. Press spacebar to preview the new effect. You can use Canva to create a similar masked text animation.

Select the solid layer and copy and paste it (ctrl + C and ctrl + v for Windows or command + C and command + v for Mac). Select the bottom color layer and then go to layer > Solid settings to change the color to an accent color. Toggle the track mask on No track mat on this layer.

You can add other elements to your bottom third in the same way, or leave it as is. You can even import Illustrator graphics to animate them in After Effects, or take it a step further and sync your lower third to respond to an audio track for visual excitement.

Render your animation with a transparent background and then add it as a layer when editing a video you want to use it on.

Create professional lower-third graphics with After Effects

Creating a bottom third chart is easier than you think. It started with a colored rectangle and if you followed this tutorial you now have a cool animated banner to add to your videos in After Effects.

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