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Unless you can flip him -100 ScaleX, he should write backwards.
For your effect, track the finger (paint a dot on it to help) and apply it to a null.
Next, create solid, write-on effect on transparent setting, and link it via expressions to the tracked null. In my test, I had to split the layers, precomp them, and delete previous keyframes in the precomp, to prevent the write on between the letters. Time remap on precomp to hold the letters on screen.
Then, for glowy neon, use 32bit color mode in project settings, Apply various layers with different blend modes, like Add, maybe screen. Tint is a good effect (set color above 1,1,1. I like 3,0,3). Glow is another nice filter. Set to A B colors and setting B to 3,0,3 (or whatever, above 1,1,1), produces nice result. Fast Blur is also handy.
Just remember this effect is pretty tricky to pull off unless your talent is REALLY good at air-writing. It can help to obscure their hand a bit (with a lens flare or something) so that you can correct poor hand-gestures and make the writing more legible.
ok so this isn't an easy thing to do then? thanks for the help so far, david thanks for the step by step but it seems a bit complicated, like i figured it would be simpler to keyframe a particle emitter or something like that and do like you said paint his finger or whatever to make it easier to track or not even do that and just track it with him holding a pen or something. the only thing is i haven't had too much experience with nulls, what they do or when they're useful i basically taught myself after effects so of course there's things i'm missing. if you guy could point me in the right direction as to what is a null useful for and why you would choose to use it for this. thanks everybody
oh yeah and as far as expressions the only one i've learned is the wiggle expression, haven't really looked for them thought so i guess i'm just being dumb, but is there anywhere that i can just look at the expressions and what they do?
Not sure if you can still search for it, but we had a discussion on here about uses for Nulls..
Many uses for nulls. Essentially, they're a point in space and time that doesn't render. You can use them to offset animation("BG_TRACKER"), use as a container ("CONTROLS"), or whatever..
With tracking, your 1st tracking point becomes the anchor point. A lot of times, you don't want your footage that you're attaching to the track to align at it's anchor point. So, by targetting a null with the tracker, you can just parent your attached footage to that null and not have to worry about anchor points. I usually name that one "BG_TRACKER".
I've found it very handy to have a "CONTROLS" null that contains many effect/expression controls/slider controls that are referred to in my comp. For instance, for my lip sync, I have a "CONTROLS" null with a "MOUTH" expression slider on it. I animate with hold values 1,2,3,4,5. Then in my comp, I have multiple mouth layers that work with various head poses. All of those are timeremapped and mapped to the "MOUTH" slider via expressions (you need to divide the slider by the framerate in order to get individual timeremap frames). That way, I can adjust my animation, but never have to change the lipsync.
jj gifford (do a google search) has a really good site explaning expressions, as does www.motionscript.com and www.aeenhancers.com
David said this:
> do a google search...
Please, please, please use the new Adobe Community Help search.
This service makes use of the Google Custom Search Engine (CSE) service to narrow the World Wide Web down to the sites that are most relevant to Adobe's customers. A large number of blogs and community sites are included in the search, so you can use this service to search across all relevant resources at once. Adobe Community Help is still in beta, so be sure to use the feedback link to tell us what you think after you've given it a spin.
And, yes, JJ Gifford's website is included in the Community Help search.
www.aenhancers.com is good. Sparklers (real ones, not virtual) are good for practicing air writing. Use them at night and you'll see what I mean. They may be hard to get after the 4th of July if they are legal in your area in the first place.