Education, Pro Tips

Color Grading and Animations to Look like the Barbie Movie


The 2023 smash hit movie Barbie introduced a fresh and distinct visual style, particularly in its portrayal of “Barbie World.” This style isn’t about simply using the pinkest props or applying a pink filter. It also involves set design and post-production techniques, but in our case, we’ll focus only on replicating the look. This Premiere Pro tutorial will teach color grading to look like the Barbie movie in addition to animation techniques.

The first thing to do is give your footage the right color. If you want to use the same footage we’re using for this tutorial, we have a collection here. Our free collection has some similar footage, and is also a great resource for experimentation!

In Premiere Pro, go up to the menu and select Window > Lumetri Color. This will give you controls to color correct and grade your video. If you’re unfamiliar with the Lumetri Color panel, please click here or watch below for a more in-depth breakdown.

Color Grading/Correcting the Footage

To Barbify our footage, I want to single out the sand and asphalt on this particular clip. The best way to do that is with the HSL secondary controls. Find the option in the list in the panel and expand it.

color grading like barbie movie

Uncheck H and S, keeping the L on for now while we focus on the lightness.

Next, adjust this aspect to get the color we need by setting the color on this wheel to appear more pink.

color grading like barbie movie

That’s it for this clip! For the next one, it will require two distinct color changes. So first, single out the beach once again and change its color just like the first clip.

The sky also needs to be adjusted, so you can either select “Add Lumetri Color effect” in the panel’s dropdown menu, or you can grab another Lumetri Color from the effects tab, drop it on the clip, and bring up the controls. Adjust the L until you can get a good solid isolated section, and you should be all set.

In general, these adjustments may differ depending on your clips. However, singling out colors and utilizing HSL secondary is ideal in this situation. In this case, you’re not looking to change all aspects of the shot, but rather to alter the colors of particular objects in the frame. Let’s move on to the Barbie text, which will be done in Adobe After Effects.

Matching the Barbie Text/Logo Glassy Look

We can’t use the exact font from the film, so you’ll want to use Adobe fonts or search for free fonts that are in a “script-like” style. After you’ve chosen your font, create a new composition, and add a new text layer. Type out your word, in this case “Barbie”, and put your pink shade on there. If you’re not sure how to adjust the text color in AE, open the “character” panel (window > character), select your text, and adjust the color.

color grading like barbie movie

Center the text either with the proportional grid, or with the “align” tool (window > align) and use the horizontal/vertical alignment buttons.

Now it’s time to apply the effects to the text. Open the effects & presets panel (window > effects & presets) and find the effect called “CC Glass” to get that plastic/glass look that’s visible in the original Barbie logo. Drag and drop it onto the text layer.

The default settings of the effect aren’t what we’re going for, so we’ll need to do some tweaking to replicate the look. Reduce each of the surface controls so that the letters are filled in and you like how it looks.

As for the light and shading controls, continue to adjust these until you get a thin, shiny appearance on the edges of the letters. Your values may vary, but here’s a look at what the values ended up being on our effect.

That looks good for one side of the glass effect, which we’re going to duplicate to really give it that glossy look we’re going for. Click the text layer, open the effect controls in the project panel, and right-click the glass effect to duplicate it.

On this second glass effect, the only thing to change is the direction of the light so that it mirrors the original effect. To give it some additional depth, duplicate those two effects so that there are four total effects (2 pairs). Now, go down to the composition and duplicate the text layer. Give the bottom layer a different name to differentiate it. This is the one we’re going to use for the outline (stroke) on the text. Start by deleting the glass effects on this layer, because we don’t want the glass effect to be on the outline. Then go to the character panel (window > character) and set the pink color you prefer. The pink in our demonstration was pulled from a simple Barbie logo from a screenshot from a basic web search, but you can make it any pink color you want.

Next, go back to the character panel and adjust the stroke size to the size you like. We ended up at 34 pixels.

The last thing to do is adjust the lighter pink shade of the inner text so it stands out more from the outline.

Adding the Drop Shadow to the Text

These two text layers need to be pre-composed before you add a shadow effect. Select both layers, right-click and select “pre-compose” to put them together. Name it whatever you like, then go over to the effects panel and find “drop shadow” (effect > perspective > drop shadow if you want to add it that way), and open the effect controls. Set the color to match your outline, then increase the distance of the shadow. It should be pretty large, but not too far that makes it look awkward. Duplicate this shadow several times, increasing the distance on each shadow until you reach your desired look.

Re-center the logo like before, and then you’re ready for the stars.

Adding the Sparkles

The final touch is adding stars to the logo. While this is an optional step, it definitely gets it closer to the Barbie look we’re going for. To create a star, de-select the text layer and click and hold on the marquee tool to bring up the dropdown, and select “star tool.” You can also go to layer > new > new shape layer and select the star tool up there as well. Click and drag the mouse to create your star, then hold command to adjust the shape of your star.

You can then grab the corner and scale it down to fit within the text. Place it in the glassy section of the text.

Go back to your effects panel and add a basic gaussian blur as well as a glow to your star. We only boosted the blur slightly, and left the glow in the default setup. Make several copies of your star layer, then place each layer in different positions in the text wherever you want them to show up. We did 12.

Once they’re placed, they need to be keyframed to actually “sparkle.” You can do this with the simple opacity controls in the timeline. Select your first star layer, twirl down the transform controls and find the opacity option. Create one keyframe by clicking the stopwatch at the first frame and set it to 0 percent. 10-15 frames later, create another keyframe and change it to 100 percent. Then move about a second or so later and create identical keyframes, but in reverse order. This give the sparkling effect.

Copy and paste these keyframes on every other star shape layer, then slide each star layer to different starting positions so that each start “glistens” at a different point in time.

Now we can precompose all of these shape layers and call it done. Then duplicate this precomp and move it later in the timeline to increase the amount of sparkling time.

And that’s it! You’re done! Play it back in the timeline and make sure you like it, then make any timing adjustments if necessary.

The text can be modified to be any word or phrase, so double-click to open the text layers and type in whatever you want. Be sure to adjust both the main text layer and the shadow layer.

Check out Pond5 to get these assets and try it for yourself. If you want more After Effects tutorials, check out our YouTube channel or read the rest of our blogs. And remember to experiment with whatever you can imagine for your project. As the song goes, “imagination, life is your creation!”