QUESTION: I've been playing around trying to create something that looks like this cool retro intro to ABC's Sunday Night Movie. The way the text streaks has be a bit bamboozled. Is this slit scan? An old school digital effect?

"Digital 3D" motion graphics didn't really become "the cool thing" in broadcast till about 1984, though the first digital visual effect was in the film "Westworld" circa 1975.

But what you see in the "ABC Movie" is a traditional cell animation and probably combined with an optical printing technique know as aerial imaging - so called because the image is formed "in space" and not on a ground glass or screen. The "extrusion" effect is done by moving the image (forward or back) with the shutter of the camera portion of the printer open for the durations of the move - then the shutter is closed, the image reset to the next starting position, and another move-during-exposure made.

Optical printer:

http://www.oxberry.com/displayimage_page.html

SlitScan is a different technique that is used for distorting a moving image (makign a starship get longer in the jump to light speed for instance), but is not necessary to create the extrusion effect seen in that sequence.

If you want to emulate this look in After Effects, you can do it using some of the same techniques, albeit digitally - create the 2D artwork (illustrator), then use masks and diffusions (i.e. glow) to augment, and animate in 3D in AE. 

You might try adding the extrusion effects by using motion blur and Z-axis moves in a pre comp - you'll probably need an expression to do this, so that on each frame has a very large Z axis move creating the moblur extrusion. The only problem with AE is that you are somewhat limited by the number of iterations of mo blur.

Hmmm... just thinking - if you do a number of layers (stacked< and mo blur them all, you might be able to get it...

Okay, so try this:

1) Create a text layer, and make it outline text (stroke, no fill)

2) Set the comp motion blur to 64 frames under comp settings, advanced. Also set the shutter angle to 360 degrees.

3) Work in 32 bit mode, and put the exposure plug in on the text to bring the brightness up as it will be dim from the blur.

4) If you want really long trails, you'll need to write an expression that will stack several layers of text with an offset, as the max 64 samples of motion blur is not enough for really long trails.

5) To make the front solid, duplicate the text layer and turn MoBlur OFF, and make it filled, and adjust the stroke size as needed for a tight fit.

 

The effect looks cool - I'll make a tutorial if I have the time next weekend.

Example:

 

 

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