In this Neon Sign After Effects tutorial, you’ll learn how to create a really cool animated neon sign right within After Effects. No plugins are required. Even if you’re a beginner, the tutorial is step-by-step and you can do it!

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Download the Project File:

If you do want the project file, just let me know where I can send it to. It’s automatic, so you’ll get it in just a minute. You don’t need the project file to follow along – you can start from scratch, if you want.

Neon Sign After Effects Tutorial:

The video above walks you through step by step what you need to do. But here are the basic steps to creating the neon sign effects.

neon sign effect

Step 1: Design Your Sign

First, add text and shapes to create the design of your sign. I use fonts like Dymaxion Script or Clip because they help sell the neon effect. Use neon colors, such as the ones from this color palette. Adding a background video or image is not necessary, but a dark vignetted background can help with the effect.

neon sign after effects effect

Step 2: Pre-Comp and Duplicate

The above image shows the pre-comps that I’ve created. The Background is just that – all the images/adjustments made to the background. The Neon Sign comp is duplicated 4 times. These will be edited to add blur, glow, and look like a sign that is turned off.

Step 3: Apply the Effects

neon sign off layer

For the bottom Off layer, use a Fill effect and make it a dark gray color. Also add the Bevel and Emboss layer style to make it look like the tubes of a neon sign.

For the top layer, add the same Bevel and Emboss layer style. Additionally, add an Inner Glow layer style with the source being Center, not Edge.

For the glow layer, add the Glow effect and the same Inner Glow layer style as the top layer. You may need to drop the top layer’s inner glow opacity just a bit.

For the blur layer, just add a Fast Box Blur effect set to 150. This creates a nice little glow in the background.

neon sign gradient after effects

Step 4: Add Another Light Glowing Layer

To add more light splashing against the background, add a new solid layer and apply the 4-Color Gradient effect to it. Adjust the colors to match the text colors.

Add a mask using the pen tool around the sign. Feather the edges. Drop the opacity in the effects panel. Finally, change the blend mode to Vivid Light. This should result in a nice glowing effect on the background.

That’s pretty much it!

This will all make much more sense if you watch the video tutorial above!

More After Effects Tutorials You Might Like:

I’ve created a number of After Effects tutorials you might like including my Simple Intro with Sliding Photos/Video, the Maraurder’s Map Tutorial, or the Minimal and Modern Lower Thirds Title.

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Enjoy, share, and let me know in the comments if you found these helpful.