I’ve been working on a cool sermon series graphics pack on finding your identity in Christ and I wanted to try out a new technique that turned a normal fingerprint into a fingerprint with a cross in the middle. When I started this I had no idea how it was going to turn out and it ended up being a little more time consuming than I expected but I think the end result is pretty cool!

Since there is a lot happening in just a second or so let me breakdown exactly what’s happening and then show you how it’s done.

I’m using a fingerprint vector graphic that I found online and I’m using that as my starting point.

If I just solo one of these layers you can see that I have created a path that starts out on an original fingerprint line but my path continues on past that and creates one section of my cross, so scrolling through the timeline you can see that transition happening. I basically just had to decide for each section of the cross, which part of the original fingerprint was going to morph into that part of the cross.

So now that we have a basic idea of how this works now I want to show you how to make it happen. I’m gonna start from scratch with my one fingerprint layer. Making sure no layers are selected I’m gonna grab my pen tool and decide on what fingerprint line I want to become the top corner of the cross. For now, we will just say this line. So I’m going to trace this line to try to match the curvature and just not stop at the end of that line. Instead, I’m going to continue on to make the top corner of the cross.

Keep in mind you may not get the shape you want perfectly on the first try but you can always move these points around and adjust later.

Now that we have a basic line I want to increase the stroke of this line to nearly match the thickness of the original fingerprint lines. And by default, you’re going to have a squared off cap to these lines but that can be fixed by hitting your drop downs on this layer and under Stroke, setting “Butt Caps” to “Round Caps”. And to be honest I don’t know why it’s called a butt cap. I feel like there are many other names they could have given that! But hey I wasn’t in those meetings.

Next, we want to add a “Trim Paths” effect to this stroke. That is what will animate the stroke along this path. So in our drop down under Add, we’ll select trim Paths. And drag your End Value until it matches up with your original finger print line.

At this point, you should go ahead and set a starting keyframe on the start and end. Then go about a second forward in time on your timeline and bring your End value up to 100% and bring your Start Value to where you want your cross to end.

And after all that you now have 1 stroke done! I told you this takes some time but the end result is super cool!

Now you just want to repeat that process with the other strokes. And I even animated the strokes of the fingerprint above the cross just to give it movement. To do that I just created a stroke that went all the way across the top of the finger and used the trim paths to trim it down to just one section. Then I animated the offset to do one full cycle. So, in the end, every stroke animates and ends up where it started but that’s ok because the point is just to give it movement.

When you finally take care of all the individual strokes of the cross and the rest of the fingerprint you get something like this!

I added a fill effect and animated the colors to make the cross pop a bit. To do that on each stroke I went to the Effects and Presets and applied the Fill effect. In the Effects panel, I set the initial color and then set a keyframe, and after a second on the timeline, adding another keyframe with another color.

To learn more if you are looking to create animations for your church’s announcements, sermon series, etc, be sure to check out this playlist of After Effects tutorials made for your church!


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