Combine text and gradient shape layers in Adobe After Effects to design an eye-catching, animated lower third that’ll identify your talking heads.

Draw a rectangle on a new shape layer to start your lower third graphic. ­Then click the Fill swatch and select a color. Next, we’ll animate this shape.


Select the shape layer in the timeline and press U twice on the keyboard to reveal its properties. Jump ahead 30 frames, click the Size stopwatch to set a keyframe, and uncheck the chain-link icon. Move the playhead to frame 0 (press J) and set the Y value to zero to flatten the rectangle. The shape will now grow taller over time.


Return to frame 30 and type the person’s name. Draw a rectangle that tightly surrounds the text and stays within the background rectangle. This is the mask that will reveal and hide your lower third.


In the Animation menu, select Animate Text > Position. Click the Position stopwatch in the timeline and then move the playhead to frame 0. Now drag the Y value to the right until the text disappears down into the mask.


Don’t forget to include the person’s title. Jump ahead to the end keyframe, duplicate the text layer, and move it down with your arrow keys. Replace the text with the person’s title and get creative with font and size. (The title should sit just below the person’s name.) Now drag the top border of the new layer’s mask until it covers only the title.


To finish the animation, go back to the timeline and return to the starting keyframe (J), open the text properties (UU) to reveal Animator 1, and this time move the text up until it disappears.


Now people will know who or what they’re looking at thanks to your professional-looking animated lower third. Share your lower third as a template so that editors can use it in Adobe Premiere Pro.

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