How to Create a Basic Countdown Timer in After Effects

Countdown Timer is a great way to start your video. You can download various Countdown Timer videos from YouTube but why not create your own when you can.

It is very easy to create a Timer in After Effects. The duration of the Countdown Timer can vary from 10 to 0 or 1000000 to 0, depending on your choice.

Once you create the basic countdown timer effect, you can customize it by adding backgrounds, effects, colors etc.

Above is an example where I used this technique to create a Countdown Timer which goes from 10 to 0. Once I was done with the timer, i added a background and some shine effect on the numbers.

Countdown Timer in After Effects

To create a Countdown Timer,

  1. Create a new composition. After that, create a new Solid Layer. You can do so by going into Layer > New > Solid. Make sure the solid is exactly of your composition size.
  2. Now select the Solid Layer you just created and go into Effects > Text > Number. This will apply the Numbers plugin on the solid layer. We will be using this to create our Countdown Timer.
  3. When you click on Numbers, you will be prompted with a pop-up where you can choose a Font, Style, Alignment i.e. Left, Right or Center and Direction i.e. Horizontal or Vertical. Choose the appropriate settings and click on OK.countdown timer 1
  4. You will see 0.000 in your composition. Now, we will alter few values under the settings panel of the Numbers plugin.
  5. Since we are creating a Counter Timer like 10,9,8,…and so on, we do not require the decimal values. So decrease the Decimal Places from 3 or any other value to 0 so that we get a whole number.
    countdown timer 2
  6. Now, increase or decrease the size according to your need. You can also change the Fill Color to change the color of the Font.
  7. Now we will use the Value/Offset/Random Max value to create a Countdown. We are going to create a Countdown Timer that goes from 10 to 0.
  8. We will be using key frames to create the Timer. using the timeline slider, go to the frame from where you want the Countdown Timer to start.
  9. Now, click on the stopwatch at the Value/Offset/Random Max, this will add a key frame. Change it’s value from 0 to 10.
    countdown timer 3
  10. Move the timeline slider 10 frames forward, since we are creating a 10 seconds countdown. For instance, if you wish to create a 30 seconds Countdown Timer, then set the Value/Offset/Random Max to 30 and move 30 frame forward in the timeline.
  11. After moving 10 frames forward, change the Value/Offset/Random Max value back to 0. It will add a key frame in your timeline.
    countdown timer 4
  12. RAM preview the composition to check if your Countdown Timer works or not. Experiment and play with the looks to customize the appearance of the Timer.

You can also use an adjustment layer rather than a Solid Layer to create the Countdown Timer. This will allow you to have transparency so that a background can be added into the composition.

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