Create RBG text trail animations in Adobe After Effects

Software Home After Effects Premiere Pro 12/09/2023 5 min read

Creating your titles from scratch can be fun. It can give you more opportunities to put your creativity on display. Glitch effects are incredibly trendy and can be seen on everything from social media adverts to film title sequences. Today, we will take you through how to create an incredible RGB split title effect you can use in your video to impress your audience.

  • Learn how to create an RGB split glitch-style effect from scratch.
  • Understand how to use After Effects Displacement Maps.
  • Discover Motion Array Template glitch effects you can download today.

How to Create RGB text trails from scratch

Chromatic aberration and Glitch effects work best on big, bold fonts for full-screen title animations, as it’s easier for the viewer to read the text. However, following this method, you’ll create a template that can be updated with new copy and fonts.

Step 1: Set up the text comps

The first step is to set up the composition base layers. You must pay close attention to the settings you create for your compositions, as a wrong setting can cause problems later.

  1. Open After Effects and hit Command/Control + N to create a New Comp.
  2. Call the Composition RGB Text Effect and make sure it is 1090×1080.
  3. Create a second comp with the same settings and call it Title Base Layer.
  4. Click the Text tool icon and type your chosen title on the screen.
  5. Make sure the text is white, and adjust the font and size of your title to suit your needs.
  6. Using the Align Panel, ensure the title is centered on the comp.
  7. Finally, return to the RGB Text Effect comp and drag in the Title Base Layer.

Step 2: Creating the title animation

Next, we will create the title animation using the After Effects Wave Warp. If you want to make the same look as our example, use the settings provided, but you can experiment with the wave effect to produce a different look.

  1. In the Effects Panel, search for Wave Warp.
  2. Drag it to the Title Base Layer comp within the RGB Text Effect Comp.
  3. Select the comp in the Timeline and go to the Effects Control Panel.
  4. Adjust the Wave Height to 4 and the Wave Width to 180.
  5. Change the Wave Direction to 45˚ and the Speed to 0.5.
  6. Finally, in the Pinning menu, choose All Edges.

Step 3: Adding a Displacement Map

The next step is to create a Displacement Map, which helps create an excellent blurring effect on the RGB Split.

  1. Hit Command/Control + N to create a New Comp in 1920*1080 – call the composition Displacement Map.
  2. In the Timeline, right-click and choose New Solid – call it Displacement Map and hit ok.
  3. Search the Effects Panel for a 4-color Gradient and add it to the Solid layer.
  4. Drag the center point of each color to the corners of the canvas.
  5. Select the layer in the Timeline and hit R to bring up the Rotation settings.
  6. While holding Alt, click on the Stopwatch next to the Rotation settings in the Layer Panel – an Expression box will open in the Timeline.
  7. In the Expression box, type time*200 – this will create a continuous rotation to your layer.
  8. Select the layer and hit S to open the Scale settings – Increase the scale until it covers the canvas at every point in its rotation; this should be around 210.
  9. Return to the RGB Effect comp and drag the Displacement Map comp to the Timeline.
  10. In the Effects Panel, search for Displacement Map and add the effect to the Title Base Layer comp.
  11. Go to the Effects Controls Panel for the Title Base Layer Comp, and look for the Displacement Map Effect settings.
  12. Adjust the Horizontal Displacement to 310 and choose Displacement Map from the layer drop-down menu.
  13. Click the eye icon alongside the Displacement Map layer in the Layers Panel to make it invisible.

Step 4: Creating the RGB Split

Now, you can start getting creative. The Chromatic aberration creates 3 separate animations, one for each color. We’ve given you some settings you can follow to recreate our look, but play around and see what works best for you.


  1. In the Effects Panel, search for Set Channels and add it to your Title Base Layer.
  2. In the Effects Controls, find the Set Channels settings.
  3. Find the Set Red to Source setting and choose Off from the drop-down menu. Repeat this for the Set to Green Source setting, so you’re left with blue text.
  4. Select the Title Base Layer in the Timeline and hit Command/Control + D to duplicate it.
  5. For the new layer, find the Set Color to Source settings and change the Blue to Off and the Red to Red.
  6. Under the Wave Warp settings, increase the Wave Height to 6, the Direction to 40, and the Phase to 75.
  7. Under the Displacement Map settings, change the Max Horizontal Displacement to 150.
  8. Using Command/Control + D, duplicate the Title Base Layer again and change the Set Channels settings, turning the Green on and the Red off.
  9. For the new green title layer, adjust the Wave Warp settings so the Height is -3, the Width is 200, and the Phase is 125.
  10. Finally, under the Displacement Map settings, change the Max HOrizontal Displacement to 50.


Step 5: Add Glow and Noise

The title effect already looks pretty cool, and if you’re happy with the look, you can add it straight to your projects. You can also build up the look by adding additional effects such as Glow and Noise.


  1. In the Project Panel, find the Bpc number at the bottom of the window – this will usually be set to 8 Bpc.
  2. Hold Alt and click on the Bpc number twice or until it says 32 Bpc. This is important to ensure the Glow effects work correctly, but it may slow down your system.
  3. Right-click in the Timeline and select New > Adjustment Layer.
  4. In the Effects Panel, search for Glow and add it to the Adjustment Layer.
  5. Play around with the Glow settings until you’re happy with the look.
  6. Add a second adjustment Layer above the first in the Timeline.
  7. Search for Noise in the Effects Panel and add it to the new Adjustment layer.
  8. Play around with the Noise settings to create a trendy retro look.

Step 6: Customising your Template

You may be wondering why we placed the Title Base Layer into a Composition on its own rather than adding the effects directly to the titles. While this makes your project neater and easier to work with, it also allows you to update the message and font at any time, allowing you to use the effect repeatedly.

  1. Double-click on the Title Base Layer composition to open it.
  2. Then, double-click on the Title text and retype your message.
  3. In the Character Panel, adjust the Size and Font to your liking.
  4. Return to the RGB Text Trails comp; everything has been updated for you and is ready to use in your videos.

Check out these 3 Incredible Glitch templates you can Download Today

If you don’t have the time to create cool glitch title effects from scratch, you can download and customize one of our fantastic templates.

Social Media X Titles And Lower Thirds

The Social Media X Titles And Lower Thirds pack includes 9 clean and modern lower third designs, each with two text placeholders and customizable colors. The fun Chromatic aberration effects give a trippy feel to the hi-tech titles.

Download Social Media X Titles And Lower Thirds Now

Glitch Logo Opener

The Glitch Logo Opener is a colorful and retro-feeling logo indent with 1 logo and 2 title placeholders. The significant RGB splits, camera roll effects, and noise make it feel like an old VHS tape stuck in the VCR.

Download Glitch Logo Opener Now

Kinetic Short Logo Pack V2

The Kinetic Short Logo Pack V2 includes 2 different animated styles, each with a distinct RGB text trail and glitch effect. The warping intro feels like you’re looking through water, creating a colorful prism effect around your logo.

Download Kinetic Short Logo Pack V2 Now

RGB Text Trail Effects are a fantastic way to grab viewers’ attention and draw them into your story. It may take a little time to create RGB Glitch effects from scratch, but once you’ve built your template, you’ll have an asset you can use across a range of projects. Check out the complete Motion Array RGB collection for more Chromatic aberration effects. 

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