Riverdale returned to the CW this fall for its third season of neo-noir adventures inspired by the characters of Archie Comics. Embracing the series’ dark cinematic aesthetic, the show’s opening title evokes a flashing neon sign. It’s a very cool effect, and one you can easily replicate yourself with Premiere Pro and a GPU accelerated effect called uni.Ecto, which is part of Red Giant Universe.
If you don’t already have it, you can download a free trial of Red Giant Universe to follow along with this tutorial, or you can get a full-access subscription for $99/year.
Step 1: Create Text in the Essential Graphics Panel
The first step to make your title look like Riverdale‘s logo is to use a similar typeface. While you can use any typeface in the slab-serif category, I’d recommend the Input Serif typeface, because you can easily sync it to your Creative Cloud account with Adobe Fonts.
Once you have your font synced or installed, use Premiere Pro’s Essential Graphics Panel to create the new text layer with your title in your timeline. Once you create the text, a new graphics layer will appear in your timeline, and you can then place it over any video you also have in your timeline.
As a backdrop for the text, I’ve placed a Pond5 forest video clip on video layer 1 to give it more of a Riverdale mystery vibe.
Step 2: Apply Universe Ecto to Your Text Layer
From your Effects panel, search for “Universe Text.” Within this folder, you’ll find several Universe Text effects. In this case, we’ll use “uni.Ecto.” With the text layer selected in your timeline, double click on “uni.Ecto” to apply it to the text. This will apply a default glowing filter. From here, you can customize it by going to the Effect Controls window in Premiere Pro.
Step 3: Browse and Choose Your Preset
The easiest way to customize the uni.Ecto effect is by clicking on “Browse Presets” and selecting a glowing outline preset that looks most like the one we’re trying to replicate. In this case, the “Castle Byers” preset looks the most like it, even though it has a red color (we will change this in the next step). The best part about these presets is that the glow is already animating and flashing like a neon sign — no extra keyframing is needed!
Step 4: Change the Color Preset
By default, the “Castle Byers” preset is in a red color. To change this to blue, simply select the “cool” color preset.
Step 5: Crossfade and Keyframe to Scale Over Time
If you want the text to fade in, apply a basic cross-dissolve transition to the front of the text layer in the timeline. To do that, just right-click on the front end of the clip and select “Apply Default Transition.”
To add a basic scale animation to the title, as well, watch the full video above. And to learn more about Red Giant Universe effects in general, check out the free tutorials on Red Giant’s YouTube channel.
Have questions about creating this effect or using any of these tools? Tell us in the comments below!