Create Melting & Stretching Liquid Color Text in After Effects

After Effects 22/06/2021 6 min read

Whether you’re a content creator or a professional animator, finding exciting and unique text animations can be challenging. Creating incredible, dynamic color liquid text effects in After Effects is relatively straightforward, and we can show you how in 6 simple steps. If you are in a rush, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with 6 downloadable After Effects liquid text templates!

Part 1: Learn How to Create Liquid Color Text in After Effects

Liquid text effects are a lot of fun to create, though they can seem a little complicated at times. Using elements like displacement maps is a great skill to have, and once you understand this process, you’ll find plenty more ways to use these tools.

Step 1: Creating Your Base Text Layer

The first step is to create your base text layer, by creating the title and housing it within its own comp. You can come back at any point and change the text, allowing you to use it on multiple projects without animating each time.

  1. Create your composition and add your title using the Text tool. 
  2. Center your text to the screen and pre-compose the layer by right-clicking and select Precompose.
  3. Call the new comp Base Text and ensure you move all attributes to the new comp.
  4. Search in your Effects panel for CC Scale Wipe and drag it to the composition.
  5. In the Effects Control panel, change the Direction and Stretch setting to create a stretched look to your preference.
  6. Adjust the Center setting to move the point at which your text starts to scratch; you want to ensure your text is readable.
  7. On the timeline, place your playhead where you want the animation to finish and create a keyframe for the Stretch value.
  8. Move back in the timeline to where you want the effect to start and change the Stretch amount to 0.
  9. Press U on your keyboard to view the keyframes and drag them around the timeline to adjust the duration of the effect.
  10. Finally, Precompose your Base Text comp. Call this one Scale Wipe and move all attributes to the new comp.

Step 2: Adding Your Color Text Layers

Next, we’re going to add the Colored layers that create your Liquid Look. You can choose any colors you may need to suit your brand or projects.

  1. Duplicate the text 3 times using Command+D or Control+D so that you have 4 copies of the comp stacked on top of one another.
  2. Go to the Effects panel and find the Fill effect. Drag it to your bottom 3 comps.
  3. In your Effects Control panel, change the color for each of the bottom 3 layers.
  4. In the Effects panel, search for the Liquify effect and drag it to each of the 4 comps in the timeline.
  5. For each layer, go to the Effects Control panel, select the finger icon, and then adjust the brush Size and Pressure to your preference. 
  6. Use the Brush to bend and warp the stretched areas of your text. Each layer should look slightly different.

Note: If you cannot get your brush to interact with your text, click the Toggle Mask Path and Shape Visibility button at the bottom of the viewer.

  1. Select the bottom 3 layers, and change the Mode setting to your preference. Then play around with the Blend Mode to see the differences.

Step 3: Blending Your White Text Layer

The effect already looks pretty cool, but the white title is overpowering, so let’s blend it with the colored layers a little. 

  1. Create a new white solid by right-clicking in the Timeline > New > Solid.
  2. Using the Circle Mask tool, draw an oval over your text so that the title is covered by white but the bottom liquid area is viewable.
  3. In the Effects Control panel, adjust the Feather so the white area blends outwards.
  4. Go to the white text Layer and set the Track Matte to Alpha.
  5. Move your mask around the screen and adjust the feathering until you are happy with the look.

Step 4: Adding Liquid Motion

Now your title looks like the part but we need to add movement to give it that liquid effect. How much movement you add it down to each animator’s preference, but for this tutorial, we’re going to keep it subtle.

  1. Add an adjustment layer by right-clicking in the Timeline > New > Adjustment Layer.
  2. Find the Turbulent Displace effect and add it to your adjustment layer.
  3. Set the amount of the Turbulence to 0 when your animation starts and create a keyframe.
  4. Move a few frames after your animation and set the Turbulence to your desired look.
  5. Go back to your first turbulence keyframe and set the Keyframe to Evolution to be 0 as well. 
  6. Move to the very end of your composition and set the Evolution to 2.

Step 5: Adding Displacement Map

The Displacement Map adds more movement, specifically to the stretched part of your Title, where it looks the most like liquid.

  1. Start by adding 2 Black Solid layers to the bottom of the stack.
  2. On the top of the 2 solids, create a Rectangle Mask that encompasses the title and a small portion of the stretched text.
  3. Create a White Solid layer and add a Mask to create a thin white stripe over the text. Turn up the feathering for the White Solid layer, so it blends to the black.
  4. Move the White Solid between the 2 Black Solids. Select the masked black layer and increase the feathering to remove any hard lines.
  5. Using Position keyframes, animate the White Solid layer to move from the top to the bottom of the screen. Trim your White Solid layer to include the short animation.
  6. Using Command+D or Control+D, duplicate your White Solid and place it at intervals along the timeline. This should create a continuous rolling white bar across your text.
  7. Select your Black and White Solids, then Precompose them and name the layers Displacement Map. Make sure to Move all Attributes to the new comp.
  8. Create a new Adjustment Layer and add to it a Displacement Map effect.
  9. In the Effects Control panel, change the Source for the Displacement Map to the comp you’ve just created and make the displacement comp invisible.
  10. Play around with the Horizontal Displacement amount until you’re happy with the look.

Step 6: Adding Blur and Texture

Finally, let’s add a little texture and blur to the bottom area of the Title to create the glowing, mixing liquid colors we want.

  1. Create 2 new Solid layers in White and Black, with the White layer placed on top. 
  2. Move the solids to the bottom of the stack.
  3. On the White layer, create a mask over the liquid portion of the text. 
  4. Feather the mask, ensuring the white area doesn’t overlap your ext.
  5. Select the 2 Solid layers and Precompose them, naming the layers Comp Blur Map.
  6. For each of your Text layers, add the Camera Lens Blur effect and set the Source to the Blur Map Comp.
  7. Adjust the Blur amount for each of the layers until you are happy with the look.
  8. Find the Effect Noise HLS Auto and add it to the Adjustment Layer with your turbulence effect.
  9. In the Effects Control panel, increase the Lightness value to create added texture.

Part 2: Top 6 Liquid Color Text Templates for After Effects

1. Gaze Liquid Titles

Gaze Liquid Titles is an After Effect pack containing a variety of unique and modern text animations. The stunning RGB glow with warping liquid motion gives the impression of Text floating through a pool of lava before dissolving away.

Download Gaze Liquid Titles Now

2. Liquid Typography

The Liquid Typography pack contains 4 beautiful, eerie title animations, ideal for a retro sci-fi look. The grayscale color palette and film grain effects take you back in time, while the smoke-like motion feels other-worldly.

Download Liquid Typography Now

3. Liquid Typography Stories

This stunning pack of 5 designs turns your text elements into a range of stretched liquid animations. Creating a barcode-like effect, the animations include glowing light, a music visualizer, and ghostly reflections.

Download Liquid Typography Stories Now

4. Stretch Stories Pack

The Stretch Sotires pack contains 5 elegant and modern-looking Instagram Stories templates. The bright glowing liquid Effect covers not just your Text but your media, which blurs beautifully into a liquid stream.

Download Stretch Stories Pack Now

5. Spectr Instagram Stories

This pack of 8 templates includes full-screen graphics and text animations with a trendy rainbow liquid Effect. The colors create an oil-like texture to these unique and creatively animated portrait videos.

Download Spectr Instagram Stories Now

6. Display Typography Stories

The Displace Typography Stories pack contains 5 cool-looking templates ideal for events and music promotions. The fun upward liquid direction gives the feeling of heat rising from your titles.

Download Display Typography Stories Now

Creating your own color liquid effects in After Effects is a fantastic way of standing out from the crowd. However, the methods we’ve shown you in this tutorial can be used for a wide range of text and image effects; now you know how to do the basics, have fun and be creative with your new skills.