After Effects Tutorial: Create a Neon Sign

After Effects Tutorial: Create a Neon Sign


Neon signs have become a popular aesthetic in recent years, adding a vibrant and eye-catching presence to videos, motion graphics, and web designs. After Effects offers a powerful set of tools for creating realistic and stylish neon signs, allowing you to customize their appearance to match the theme and tone of your project.

Step 1: Create a New Composition

In After Effects, open the project containing the footage or background where you want to add the neon sign. Create a new composition with the desired resolution and frame rate.

Step 2: Draw the Neon Sign Shape

Use the Pen Tool to draw the outline of your neon sign. You can create simple shapes or more complex designs, depending on your desired aesthetic. Consider using reference images to guide your drawing.

Step 3: Add a Stroke Effect

Apply the Add Strokes effect to the neon sign shape layer. In the Effect Controls panel, set the Stroke Width to a value that represents the width of the neon tube. Choose a neon color for the Fill color. You can also adjust the Miter and Roundness settings to control the shape of the corners.

Step 4: Add a Roughen Edges Effect

The Roughen Edges effect can add a subtle texture to the neon sign, giving it a more realistic appearance. Apply the Roughen Edges effect to the neon sign shape layer, either above or below the Add Strokes effect. In the Effect Controls panel, adjust the Size and Edge Hardness to achieve the desired level of texture.

Step 5: Create a Glow Effect

The Glow effect is essential for creating the signature glow of neon signs. Apply the Glow effect to the neon sign shape layer, either above or below the Roughen Edges effect. In the Effect Controls panel, adjust the Glow Intensity, Glow Radius, and Glow Color to achieve the desired level of glow.

Step 6: Add a Drop Shadow Effect

The Drop Shadow effect can add depth and dimension to your neon sign, making it appear to float off the background. Apply the Drop Shadow effect to the neon sign shape layer, either above or below the Glow effect. In the Effect Controls panel, adjust the X Offset, Y Offset, Opacity, and Softness to achieve the desired drop shadow effect.

Step 7: Animate the Neon Sign

You can add animation to your neon sign to make it flicker or pulsate, creating a more dynamic and realistic effect. Select the neon sign shape layer and open the Opacity property. Add keyframes to the Opacity property to create a flickering or pulsating animation. You can also animate other properties, such as Position and Scale, to further enhance the animation.

Step 8: Pre-compose the Neon Sign

If you plan to use the neon sign in multiple scenes or compositions, consider pre-composing it. This will allow you to make changes to the neon sign in one place and have those changes reflected in all of the instances where it is used.

Step 9: Add the Neon Sign to Your Footage

Drag the pre-composed neon sign composition onto the timeline of your main composition. Position the neon sign in the desired location, typically in the foreground or superimposed on your footage. You can adjust the size, opacity, and animation of the pre-composed layer as needed.


Neon signs can add a touch of vibrancy and style to your video projects. By following the steps in this tutorial and experimenting with the various settings and effects, you can create stunning neon signs that enhance the visual appeal of your work. Remember to consider the overall tone and aesthetic of your project when choosing colors, textures, and animation styles.


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