September 9, 2014 at 4:57AM


TEXT MESSAGING Effect like Sherlock

I'm at the preproduction stage of a student film I'm making. I have long text messaging scene and I think the Sherlock texts scenes are amazing!

I saw this video online which showed what exactly aiming for but haven't found any instructions online. There's evident DOP in the text which I really really like.

I've also seen Filmriot's video which is what I'm going to try and learn from. That is if I don't find other tutorials. (I'm still a noob at After Effects and I found this tutorial too fast paced and it had too much jargon for me.)

Also I'd like the messages to move with the device like in Tony Zhou's video at the 2.30 mark.

I'm willing to learn. But would definitely appreciate it if someone can find me an indepth tutorial.

VIDEOS mentioned:
Sherlock text example -
Filmriot '3d tracking in After Effects' -
Tony Zhou ‘A brief look at texting and the internet in film’ 2.30 mark -



will your camera be still or in motion? If its still as in the first example it is as simple as a text overly. It only becomes more difficult once the camera is in motion.

If it is in motion and you want the text to remain in the same relative space, do a few after effects tracking tutorials and then combine what you learn with what you vision. It won't come easy and it won't be perfect your first try, but keep at it and it will work!

Alternatively, ask around school for someone who is really into the after effects and post world and team up with them to get the effect shots done.

Good Luck!

September 9, 2014 at 8:37AM, Edited September 9, 8:37AM

Chase Axton

Thanks for the suggestion!

Jonah Belle

September 11, 2014 at 1:52AM
Video Co-Pilot tend to have tutorials that don't miss out any steps, so you might get on with the one above.

September 9, 2014 at 9:13AM

Alia Sheikh

Didn't even know about this! Thanks for sharing :)

Jonah Belle

September 11, 2014 at 1:53AM

I know this might not be the best way but its def. the easiest way is take a picture of something green on your phone build the effect in photoshop and just key it over in Premiere.

September 9, 2014 at 3:44PM

Michael Militscher
Director / Commercial Producer

I don’t think that’s the idea he’s going for. Check out the example videos.

Ryan Toyota

September 10, 2014 at 5:44AM

Sorry but can you please elaborate?
(Maybe link some videos that uses this process?)


Jonah Belle

September 11, 2014 at 1:55AM

Oh yea I didn't even look at the link. Try this

Michael Militscher

September 11, 2014 at 2:39AM

you need to have a small dot on the device somewhere to motion track if you want it to follow the device... personally dislike this effect and prefer the house of cards effect.
in which your only problem is finding a good font.
pretty simple, but easy to mess up.

September 10, 2014 at 5:38PM, Edited September 10, 5:38PM

Connor Norvell
Cinematographer, Writer, Director

I think that everything that everyone has said is great advice but one thing that I would add is focusing on the design. I think that one of the reasons why Sherlock's text messaging is so great is that it is simple but still designed well. If you don't have a background with design try finding some blogs that talk about typography. Together with the motion tracking you will get a great result.

September 11, 2014 at 10:14AM

Aaron Allsop

Couldn't agree more Aaron. Marrying good design + motion tracking + a simple pop-grow will get you where you want to be.

Jonah, I'd say you could even skip designing it yourself, and team up with someone who is a good designer already out-of-the-box. Designers always love it when someone thinks their usually still work would look lovely all animated!

Benjamin Dewhurst

September 11, 2014 at 2:57PM

If you want to track something as though it was already in the scene, the cameratracker plug in from the Foundry for After Effects is the way to go. Here is a tutorial showing how to stick some text into the scene. Although they don't go into it in this tutorial, because the text is a 3D layer in after effects you can turn on depth of field to mimic the existing depth of field in your scene. Slightly more advanced stuff. Or you can simply fake it using blurs and masks.
On the other hand, if you would rather track the object in the scene because it is moving around on camera you will have to track it. There are many ways to do this, but the videocopilot tutorial is a good one.

September 11, 2014 at 8:05PM, Edited September 11, 8:05PM

J Jesse Peterson
Film Maker
86 here's the tutorial

September 12, 2014 at 12:34AM, Edited September 12, 12:34AM

J Jesse Peterson
Film Maker

Your Comment