I absolutely love looking at title sequences and thinking about how they might have done what they did. The STRANGER THINGS title sequence is stunningly gorgeous in my humble opinion. Creative Directory Michelle Dougherty and her team created the piece for the studio Imaginary Forces. You can see a really wonderful rundown and interview with Michelle Dougherty on Art of The Title’s website. It’s a terrific interview with wonderful insights into the Duffer Brothers’ creative drive for their vision.
How is this Stranger Things intro title tutorial different than others?
Copying is the best form of flattery, right? Well, even if you don’t agree with that, I firmly believe that dissecting how someone was made and trying to reproduce it is a wonderful way to learn and improve your skills. There are a bunch of really nice tutorials online about the Stranger Things intro title sequence, but the one thing I think is missing in most of them is the part about how the letterforms are either welded together or subtracted away from each other. If you take a look at the titles, you can notice that the ‘RAN’ in STRANGER actually weld together as they join. Then, the ‘Gs’ in both words have a portion subtracted away from the left side arc as they come closer to the Ns. I wanted to figure this out, so I spent some time creating an After Effects tutorial that shows you just how to do it.
Let’s take a closer look at how the typographical characters join and subtract.
Now, take a look at the images below to get a better idea of what is really going on in this piece. The serifs of the “R”, “A”, and “N” in “STRANGER” are slowly moving closer together. As they overlap, they join together creating a sort of ligature situation in the logotype. It really is beautiful. The “G” on the other hand, has something different going on as it approaches the “N”. It actually has a section that subtracts away creating a flattened portion. The images below have the areas I’m talking about circled in white. Similar things are happening in the “Things” portion and it is such a great design!
Parenting, Masking, and Track Mats are your friends!
We will be doing a lot of parenting and a bit of masking with track mats. I’m not sure if this is how Michelle Dougherty did this, but this is what I came up with. I used a bunch of layers, combined with track mats and the glow effect to produce something that is getting really close to the original Stranger Things intro title. The video is a bit longer than I usually like to make them, but it was kind of complicated. I hope it is helpful!
This project was made entirely in Adobe After Effects without using any plugins.