Adobe After Effects is powerful software that allows users to create motion graphics and digital visual effects. The software was specifically designed to work across different mediums, including the World Wide Web. If you’re looking to add that extra “wow” factor to your video marketing or elements in your web design, this software is an excellent choice.
However, the software does throw new users a learning curve. That means it’s important to familiarize yourself with all the capabilities of the software via After Effects tutorials so you can hit the ground running.
A Google search on the term “Adobe After Effects Tutorials” returned 28,700,000 results. However, not every tutorial out there is easy to read and understand, and some are downright expensive. We’ve sifted through some of the choices out there and come up with what we think are eight of the best and most frugal options for After Effects tutorials out there.
If you’re ready to tell a story through graphics, then look to these resources as a good place to start:
1. Meet After Effects’ Capabilities
After Effects tutorials often focus on one aspect of using the software or some type of project you can complete. This tutorial delves into the different capabilities of the program and is a good introduction to help you decide if you want to invest in it or not.
Cinecom.net produced the video, and they go through each step of using different features in the program. You’ll need additional tutorials, but this offers a good basis for understanding how the software is structured and what you can use it for.
2. Get Started With After Effects
The folks over at Mamoworld serve up a beginner tutorial that takes you through the tools in After Effects and helps you get comfortable with using the software. You’ll learn things such as importing footage, creating a composition, and how to work with layers as well as how to export your finished video.
This is Guru Lesson 1, and you can then move on to other lessons in the Guru series, such as Effects and Keyframes, Masks and Adjustment Layers, and even Color Correction.
3. Create a Motion Graphic Short Film
If you’re looking for some more advanced After Effects tutorials, the folks over at School of Motion have a number of intensive tutorials. This one goes through creating a short animated film using Cinema 4D, After Effects and Photoshop. When you finish the tutorial, you should easily be able to make your own short film.
This tutorial and several others are free to view. They offer courses as well, which may be a good investment if you want to advance your skills beyond basic motion graphics.
Price: Varies (Some free tutorials and some paid courses)
4. Build Custom Transitions
What better place is there for After Effects tutorials than Adobe, the creator of the software? In this free tutorial, they take you through what you need to know about adding custom transitions to your graphics within the framework of their software.
The video explains how to animate masks and create transitions that jump off the screen. They offer video instructions as well as written, step-by-step instructions on how to apply a mask layer and animate the mask. They also go into building graphic transitions using shape layers, which works particularly well for company videos.
5. Remove a Large Object From Video
Is there a large object in your video that you need to take out of the footage? This is an advanced technique, but it’s possible with this software. This After Effects tutorial, also from Adobe, falls under their Expert user category. They even offer sample files you can download and practice with as you move through the tutorial.
Shooting video isn’t quick or inexpensive, so it’s very frustrating to start editing and realize you have a random person in the background or a car drove past at the wrong moment. Similar to the way you can remove an object in Photoshop, you can also remove it in After Effects. This tutorial explains how.
6. Learn Logo Animations
Are you interested in animating a logo only? This After Effects tutorial gives you the knowledge you need to take a logo and put it into motion. The effect can grab attention as users move through a website, highlight the logo in a video or create interest on a social media profile.
There are many reasons to animate a logo, and the high energy and straightforward explanation in this video will get you there. It is a lengthy video at about 40 minutes, so grab a pen and paper and be ready to take notes.
7. Invent a Realistic Planet
Do you need to create a world out of nothing? Out of all the After Effects tutorials on this list, this one is the most interesting. Filmmaker Todd Blankenship shows you how to use the software to make a planet come to life out of your imagination. Creating something from nothing is one of the first steps in more advanced filmmaking. That makes this a good tutorial to send you on your journey of becoming a professional who creates motion graphics unlike anyone else’s.
Price: Free (Blankenship sells templates for AE on his blog)
8. Animate Characters
Want to learn how to animate characters? Lynda has a number of After Effects tutorials available, and animating cartoon characters is just one course they offer. You can try the system free for 30 days, but there is a fee to continue learning after that. In this particular course, you’ll learn how to add 3D layers, animate with your mouse and even use the puppet tool for rigging. The instructor is Alan Demafiles, a professional motion animator.
Price: Free trial and then $19.99/month if paid annually
Mastering After Effects
The After Effects tutorials mentioned above should give you a good range of beginner to advanced techniques to get you started in perfecting your motion graphics. After Effects works best when combined with other design platforms like Photoshop, so don’t be scared to master one type of software before moving on to another, while understanding they work together in tandem.
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.
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