The Beginner's Guide to After Effects: Tutorials & Templates to glean Started

After Effects is a powerful bit of kit that is capable of some hugely impressive things when it comes to the world of Motion Graphics, VFX, 3D, and Animations. However, if you are unique to AE, don’t be build off by the sheer scope of what this app can conclude, because it’s actually surprisingly comfortable to glean started with some of the simpler aspects of using AE, all helped along by a friendly and familiar interface.

So why would we consume After Effects, and what is the disagreement between After Effects and the other video editor from Adobe called Premiere Pro? In it’s most basic terms, After Effects is a lot like the ‘Photoshop’ of the video world, allowing you a lot more options and control to edit or manipulate footage and animations, whereas Premiere Pro focuses more on piecing together footage, titles, and music to show a fable, After Effects provides all of the sparks and smoke for the action scenes!

Before we glean into the list, it has to be said that Adobe does a surprisingly noteworthy job of explaining the very basics of After Effects with a fantastic series of videos on their own website where you’ll quickly start to understand how the interface works, so if at any time you find yourself lost with anything it’s definitely worth at least glancing over the official encourage guide to find your feet.

If you’ve ever had the need or the urge to try your hand at some video effects, or motion graphics here’s a complete rundown of concise, easy to follow video tutorials along with templates and resources with the goal of getting you going with Adobe After Effects for the very first time, each collected into handy categories for quick reference on specific points of AE.

Interface, Windows & Panels

Most versions of After Effects operate with the same basic interface layout from the moment you launch the application. In very simple terms you can wreck the main interface down into 4 key sections. You occupy your Project Files i.e. your media files, footage, and images etc on the left. Your Composition Window sits in the very center, which is essentially a ‘live view’ of what’s happening as you construct edits. Over on the proper side you basically occupy your Effects and at the very bottom of your screen you’ll see your Timeline.

Basic Introduction to the After Effects Interface

Panels & Windows Introduction in After Effects

30 Essential Keyboard Shortcuts in After Effects

The Timeline

Those of you that are comfortable with graphics editing may be used to the view of using layers to build up a piece of work, and thankfully something similar exists in After Effects. When working with video or motion graphics inside AE you still occupy the ability to stack layers just as you would expect, but this all happens via a timeline where it is just as necessary to control the duration of your layers or effects, and then control what happens to them and for how long. Changes made to your layers will be ‘recorded’ via your timeline, and then you occupy the to play with the timing of those parameters. This is where your battle with AE can be won or lost, so construct sure you grow comfortable with your timeline window.

Effects, Plugins & Presets

Where after effects starts to prove itself as the ‘Photoshop for Video’ is with the various effects and plugins that are available. Lots of fantastically powerful effects are included from scratch when you install AE, ranging from basic controls such as Brightness & Contrast all the way up to advanced smoke and particle effects. Best of all there is a fantastic community of creators that support the app with a wealth of 3rd party plugins, tools and presets too — so there’s always an ever evolving eco-system to encourage push your work to the next level, or construct things easier for you.

There’s no real starting point or introduction with effects as there are an incredible number of possibilities, so in order to become comfortable with effects you need to really need to find some time explore and experiment, or consume a glance at some of the videos we’ve collected below to give yourself a head start.

Presets can advance in handy if you want to consume ‘ready made’ styles, effects or transitions that you can just apply to your footage in an instant, with the values or controls already defined by the preset maker. These work almost like the view of using ‘filters’ on Instagram for example. Or you can of-course construct your own presets to create a re-usable style or effect that you’ve created.

Templates are complete projects or compositions that you can open in AE and consume as the base of your project, then by simply dropping in your own footage or editing a text layer or two you occupy a custom, high quality terminate result without having to build hours of work in.

Here’s some useful explainer videos and resources to give you an insight into how effects and presets are applied, and what plugins can be installed to step up your vfx.

Built-in Effects in After Effects

10 Best Built-in Effects in After Effects

Quick Snow Particle Effect

Handwritten Text Reveal with Stroke Paths

Text Effects in After Effects

Motion Tracking in After Effects

Recommended After Effects Templates for Beginners

11-LOOPER Animated Gradients
LOOPER is a pack of stylish animated gradients to add a modern ambience to any project. Perfectly looped and compatible with After Effects, there is also a flat collection of PNG files included for graphic designers too.

Energy Opener for After Effects
Energy Opener is a quick and energetically animated After Effects template with dynamic text animations and creative transitioning effects. It’s so easy to consume, simply edit the text, drag and drop in your media and hit render.

Orange and Teal LUT Pack
Orange & Teal LUT Pack by Navpreet Singh gives you cinematic style footage using LUT’s (recognize up tables) – which essentially takes the hard work out of color grading your project using the magic of maths. Quick and easy splendid looking footage.

Light Leaks Generator for After Effects
Light Leaks Generator is a noteworthy tool for After Effects that allows you to generate several looks in a single template. This template features three separate light leaks layers with full control of color, frequency, contrast and more. You can control each parameter quickly and easily.

snappy Typo Opener
snappy Typo Opener is a type focused video opener template made without the consume of plugins, so it’s a very easy project to quickly edit to construct it your own in seconds, created by Red Moon Studio.

Lines — Video Brush Pack
Lines is essentially a pack of video files that can be dropped into your project to provide easy, fun brush animations without having to glean too involved in the controls. This pack contains 13 unique brush stroke animations, each having two different line styles; a clean and a rough version to allow you to set the tone of your animation.

Cinematic Slideshow
Cinematic Slideshow is a fantastic way to indicate off a collection of images in a slideshow, or you can consume it as a dynamic intro for your video. It includes a splendid parallax effect and it boasts quick render times due to the fact that no plugins are used or required.

Hand Gestures
These fun animated Hand Gestures allow you to add real hands to your touch-screen app demonstrations. The pack includes 13 gestures and can be used in either Photoshop or After Effects.

Masking

When it comes to masking, what you are in essence doing is using shapes to ‘chop out’ section of a layer allowing the layers below to be seen through the shape you construct. Of course it’s a whole lot more advanced than that once you dive into all of the things that masks can conclude, but for those that are very unique to masking you basically consume shapes to shroud and reveal parts of a layer or piece of footage. These are noteworthy for transitions and reveals and anyone using After Effects extensively will be likely be using masks on almost every project.

Basic Masking in After Effects

All About Masking in After Effects

Masking Using Shapes and Alpha Matte

Animations & Keyframes

One of the fundamental parts of After Effects is understanding animations and keyframes. Once you realize what these puny guys conclude, everything starts to click into site when it comes to motion and time. Keyframes notice a set of values at a specific point in time, essentially the main trigger points for your animation, defining how something looks at that point in time — then AE will conclude it’s magic to smoothly fill in the gaps between your main keyframes, creating an animation.

You can control anything with Keyframes, so you could choose an object’s position, it’s opacity or even various effects all at once — basically anything you can apply to a layer can also be controlled with keyframes, allowing you to alter the values over time in order to animate a specific parameter. Once you occupy your main keyframes in site you can even alter the velocity that those actions consume site by editing the easing, making your animations softer and more realistic.

>5 Simple Animations in After-Effects You Need to Learn
Introduction to Keyframes + Easy Ease / Graph Editor

Adjustment Layers

Adjustment layers are not unique to After Effects, so if you are familiar with the view of adjustment layers then you’ll be overjoyed to see them here in AE too. Adjustment Layers are a noteworthy way to apply effects or properties to multiple layers at once, so instead of having to fade through and copy / paste settings individually, you would simply apply all of those properties to your adjustment layer which would in-turn apply those properties to the multiple layers below that you want it to affect. This can save you all sorts of time and effort when you are looking to apply global effects to your project and it’s particularly useful when color-correcting your footage.

Basic Demonstration of Adjustment Layers in After Effects

Color Correction & Adjustment Layers

After Effects Basics from a Pro

There is a fantastic couple of videos from Peter McKinnon who is a professional photographer and cinematographer where he runs through all of the aspects we’ve mentioned in this article all at once, plus a whole lot more. A noteworthy way to consume in all of the AE basics from a single voice.

After Effects Basics 1

After Effects Basics 2

Taking After Effects A Step Further

So there we occupy it, a quick rundown of some of the main basic starting points in After Effects that will guide you when getting started, obviously this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to everything that you can achieve with AE, but if you glean these foundations proper, and learn to combine these skills and carry them on to more advanced AE features you’ll be well on your way to success. If you’re feeling valorous, or you feel like you’ve already got a grand handle on these After Effects basics, here are some slightly more advanced tutorial makers on YouTube to finish that are really worth a follow if you are interested in learning AE at a more advanced level:


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