Neon Sign

Concept and Filming

I wanted to create a neon light sign of my brand. The sign would be made entirely in After Effects, but it would be displayed on a real wall. The idea is to make the neon light appear realistic.

When filming the wall I decided to walk through the shot holding a gimbal. The final video would have a lot of effects, so having a human element will keep it from feeling too digital. I also thought it would be a cool way to reveal the neon sign, by having it appear as I walked by.

After Effects

I first adjusted the video of the wall to get the desired look. I filmed the footage during the day, but the neon light would obviously look better in darker conditions. I added a colour channel Curve and  a Tint effect to recolour and darken the wall, then I created a vignette effect to achieve a shadowy border look.

Before
After

I re-drew my logo with some basic shapes, and found a neon sign style font for the text.

Re-drawn in After Effects

I added a bevel and emboss effect and a drop shadow to the logo and text to make it pop and appear 3D. I duplicated the logo and text composition so there were two: A grey one for when the sign is turned off, and a coloured one for when the sign is switched on. 

I then added some glow effects to the logo and text, and some additional light ‘spots’ upon the background, to make it seem the wall has been lit up when the sign turns on.

Neon Sign turned off
Neon Sign lit up

Next I animated the sign and lighting to make it blink a few times as it was turning on, and then added some subtle flicker while it was lit, which is typical of a real neon light.

I then masked the sign so that it would appear as I walked by, as though my body was revealing it.

The Neon Sign being revealed as I walk past

The final touch was adding the neon light sound effects.

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