Learn to Create a Cut Effect in After Effects

After Effects May 30, 2019 3 min read

In this short tutorial, you’ll learn how to create a cut effect that reveals text in After Effects. Best of all, this effect is created all on a single layer, so you can easily save out a preset that you can have for later use.

The inspiration for this tutorial is from our Slit Titles template that you can download and get started using right away instead. But if you’re ready to learn how to create this yourself, let’s get started! 

How to Create a Slit Text Effect

Cut effects add some variety into your project, and creating them in After Effects is simple. In a few simple steps, you can start using this effect in your creative projects!

Step 1: Create a New Composition

Once you’re in After Effects, you’ll want to create an HD composition by choosing HD Comp from the top menu. From here, go into Projects and open up a new composition.

Step 2: Create a Solid Layer

Next, you’ll want to create a solid by going to Layer > New > Solid. Make sure it’s the comp size by pressing the Make Comp Size in the pop-up window, then hit OK. Then you’ll want to duplicate your solid layer and drag it over to the left a little bit—this way if you turn it off, you can clearly see your layer on top. 

Step 3: Add a Drop Shadow Effect

The next thing you’ll want to do is apply the Drop Shadow Effect. To do this, go up to Effect > Perspective > Drop Shadow. Then you’ll want to change the direction to 90 degrees, so the effect comes straight up and down. You’ll then want to soften it up a bit to about 68 or whatever your preference is.  

Step 4: Add Light Sweep Effect

The next thing you’ll want to do is add the Light Sweep effect. You’ll head to the Effect dropdown at the top choose Generate > CC Light Sweep

You’ll then want to drag the CC Light Sweep options above the controls for your Drop Shadow by selecting the fx CC Light Sweep top line and simply dragging it up. Once that’s done, you’ll change the angle to 90 degrees. 

At this time, you’ll start to see a highlight on the edge, but you won’t want the big light line throughout the top layer. To get rid of it, you can decrease the sweep intensity to 0, increase the width and decrease the edge thickness a bit. You don’t want the effect to be too thick or too intense. 

Step 5: Add a Linear Wipe

Next, you’ll want to apply a Linear Wipe. Head over to Effect > Transition > Linear Wipe. Change the Wipe Angle to 0, and increase the transition completion to about 26% and increase the Feather

Now, you can see that you have one side of your cut effect, and in order to get the other side, you’ll want to apply the Mirror Effect. At this point, you should see one side of the cut effect come to live! 

Step 6: Add the Mirror Effect

Now, to get the other side looking ship shape, add the Mirror Effect. To do this, go to Effect > Distort > Mirror set the rotate to -90 degrees to make it look correct. Now you can really see the cut effect starting to take form!

Step 7: Add a Text Layer Behind the Solid

At this point, you’ll likely realize you have a problem. If you add anything behind this layer, like a nice text layer you’ll see around it (some of the text will pop through). That’s because you’re using the Linear Wipe to wipe this layer. 

In order to fix that, go to Effect > Channel > CC Composite. Once you have this, you’ll want to change the Composite Original to be Behind and uncheck RGB Only

That will give you your original layer. So now, you will no longer see the text layer back behind your solid, so you can animate the text out or animate the solid position to reveal anything from behind it. 

And, if you want to animate the cut that you’ve created, all you have to do is come up to the Transition Completion on the Linear Wipe and just animate that out by changing the percentage. 

As you can see, you can easily reveal text from a cut in After Effects! If you’re running on a tight deadline, you can skip the work and download the Silt Title template instead. Plus if you’re looking for more ways to spice up your next video project, check out Motion Array’s thousands of After Effects text presets!