Hello and welcome to another dgtl Workshop! For today’s tutorial, I’ll be showing you how to animate a Stroke Logo within Adobe After Effects. It’s straightforward to do and will only take up to 30 minutes of your time. Once you’ve mastered using this effect, you’ll be able to use it on any logo you want!

For those who prefer video tutorials, I highly suggest checking out the one above! Though, if watching a video is not to your taste or you find my pacing to be too fast, then feel free to own speed

What is a Stroke Logo animation?

A Stroke Logo animation is where various lines, such as the ones above, are drawn within a few seconds. Some fantastic examples of its use would be for stylised hand-drawn logos, pencil sketches, simple logos and so on forth. I wouldn’t recommend using it on logos that are extremely complicated, as too many colours and shapes can not only be time-consuming to create but can lead to an animation that is confusing to watch.

What will I need to make a Stroke Logo animation?

You won’t need much, just Adobe After Effects and a copy of your Logo’s Illustrator file. However, if you only have a PNG or JPEG, you will have to use Adobe Illustrator’s Live Trace feature to transform them into a vector image. It’s not perfect, but it’s quicker than manually having to recreate the logo in After Effects or Illustrator.

For this tutorial, I’m going to be using the dgtl Concepts logo, so not everything I talk about will be useful for your Stroke Logo. Either way, I still recommend reading all of these instructions, because if you skip straight to Stage 3, you will find certain areas to be unclear, as I don’t touch on them as much as I did in the previous stages.

Setting everything up

Once you have everything you need, open up After Effects, import your logo and create a brand new composition with a dark-grey background. You don’t need to change any of the settings, as the default will be okay.

Stroke Logo Composition and Assets

There are a lot of steps to follow, so I’ll be breaking down the process into three stages.

  • Making a Stroke Circle – This will be a brief look into using the Stroke animation on a circle.
  • Creating the dgtl Stroke Text – Similar to the animation on the circle, but used on the dgtl Text instead.
  • Making the Concepts Stroke Text – I’ll be going into a lot of detail for this stage, as the process of drawing the text is complicated. Once you have a good idea of how to do it, you should be able to reproduce the animation for your logo without any problems.


Stage 1: Making a Stroke Circle

With everything ready, the first thing you need to do is to drag and drop your assets into the composition. If your logo’s size and positioning is not to your liking, then feel free to adjust it. Now with that out of the way, hover over your Illustrator layers and convert them into shapes. The reason for this is because the Stroke effect will only work on shapes and masks.

Next, I’m going to lock the Text and make them invisible. Once locked, it will allow for me to focus on the circle and not accidentally select the Text.

Step 1: Adding a Stroke

With that done, we are going to open up the contents of the Shape. Locate the circle’s folder and open it up. Untick the Fill 1 visibility and look for a small triangle button with the words “Add:” next to it. Then hover over the stroke button and click on it.

Step 2: Customizing the Stroke

When you add a Stroke to your Shape, you are just adding an outline. It has a variety of settings to change, but for the circle, I only want to change a few things about the Stroke. The first one being that I’m setting the Width to 36 because the size matches the overall style of the logo. As for the Line Cap and Line Join, I’m going to change them to Round Cap and Round Join. Since the overall style of the logo is round, it makes sense for me to choose this.

Step 3: Using Trim Paths

Now that the circle has a Stroke, we need to add the Trim Paths effect. It’s crucial that you add this, as it is what draws the Stroke Logo. So to add it, simply head to the “Add:” play button. Click on it, then look for “Trim Paths”. Once you’ve added it, you should see it below Stroke 1. Open it up, then look for the “End” feature. You’ll want to click on the little stopwatch next to it so that it turns blue. Then you’ll need to set the “End” to be 0% at 0 seconds and 100% at 3 seconds.

If you want your animation to look smoother, then feel free to add Easy Ease as I did in the example image below. With that done, hit play and you should see the animation work as it should. If that’s the case, congrats! You’ve created a simple Stroke animation. If that is not the case, read the instructions above again and find out where you have gone wrong.


Stage 2: Creating the dgtl Stroke Text

After finishing the Stroke animation for the circle, I am going to repeat the same process for the dgtl Text. However, unlike the circle, the dgtl Text has three separate lines. These include the outside line and the two inside lines that are the holes for d and g. Due to this, the process will be slightly different, as I’ll be using a feature called “Trim Multiple Shapes” to make their animation flow more smoothly.

Step 1: Adding a Stroke to all of the Shapes

With the circle completed, lock it, unlock the dgtl Text and make it visible again. Once that is out of the way, repeat the Fill removal process for each Shape inside the dgtl Text’s contents folder.

Afterwards, add a Stroke effect to the object. Then repeat the same actions you carried out for the circle, by adjusting the Width to 8. You will also need to change the Line Cap, and Line Join to Round Cap and Round Join. Once you’ve completed changing the settings, the Text should fit snugly within the circle.

Step 2: Using Trim Paths and Trim Multiple Shapes

Much like Stage 1, the process of using Trim Paths is the same, except this time around, we want to change Trim Multiple Shapes from “Simultaneously” to “Individually”. By doing it individually, each line is drawn one after another, instead of at the same time. An example of proper use would be a text based animation where the letters are drawn one at a time.

Step 3: Dictating the Order of the Drawn Lines

Don’t like the order in which the lines are drawn? Well, as long as you keep in mind that the Strokes are drawn from top to bottom within the contents list, you can just reorder the positions of the lines to your liking. It’s important to remember to reorder the lines when drawing letters individually, as the wrong order can result in the Text not being drawn correctly. With all of this taken care off, you should now have a fully working Stroke animation.


Stage 3: Making the Concepts Stroke Logo Text

With the first two out of the way, we can now move on to the final and biggest part of this tutorial; Stage 3. The reason why I left this stage till last, is because of the amount of time and effort required to accomplish making this, is a lot more than the other two stages combined. As well as that, the knowledge learned from the previous steps will help you to understand this section a lot easier. So first off, lock down the dgtl Text and circle, then unlock and reveal the Concepts Text.

Step 1: Drawing a Shape

Afterwards, select the Pen tool and change its Stroke to 0. Hover over the first letter and draw a line that follows the letter’s form. Once you’ve completed that, give the new Shape a name that will help you to differentiate between the drawn Text and the regular Text. Then open up its contents and remove its Fill.

Step 2: Add a Stroke

With the Shape’s Fill gone, add a Stroke and increase its Width to 30. After that, change its Line Cap to Round Cap, and its Line Join to Round Join. Reposition parts of the line, so it covers the entire letter then alter the Opacity to 75%. In doing this, you will be able to see which are lines and which are letters.

Step 3: Using Stencil Alpha

Next, parent the Shape to the letters and change the letters to Stencil Alpha. The letters should be a layer above for this to work. While you don’t have to always have Stencil Alpha on while you are creating all of the lines over the Text, it’s just handy to switch back and forth so that you can see how the letters will look in the final animation.

Step 4: Apply Trim Paths then finish drawing all of the Letters

Look for Trim Paths and apply it to the Shape. Adjust the End settings so that it is 0% at 0 seconds and 100% at 4 seconds. Hit play and you’ll be able to see the Shape’s animation.

With that done, switch the Text from Stencil Alpha to normal and repeat the process of making a line for every letter. Each line should be created within the same shape so that the Stroke and Trim Paths effect applies to all of them.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

Later on, you should come to a point where you have finished all of the lines for every letter – This means you can transform it back into Stencil Alpha and adjust the Shape’s Opacity to 100%.

The final thing you will need to do is pre-compose the Text and Shape together, then hit play. In which the animation should draw itself into something like the image below. If that happens without any problems, you will have successfully created a Stroke Logo!


Thanks for reading (or watching)!

If you enjoyed this tutorial on creating a Stroke Logo, then feel free to check out my dgtl Workshop tutorial on making a letterbox effect in Adobe Premiere Pro!

Also, let us know in the comments below what you would like us to cover next or if you need any help with doing one of these tutorials!