After Effects Skills Every Editor Should Know

After Effects Skills Every Editor Should Know

What is Adobe After Effects?

Adobe After Effects is the software used to manipulate hundreds of effects, motion graphics, and animations in the post-production phase. This program is versatile and powerful and has multiple uses. Here is what After Effects can do as well as some common misconceptions about the software:

  • Create animations. After Effects helps you to manipulate and edit layers, which can bring your imagery to life.
  • Add visual effects. Content creators can manipulate film and videos by adding effects such as fire, explosions, lighting effects, smoke, background replacements, and more. 
  • Can't create 3D environments. After Effects can tackle objects but not create 3D models. The most efficient way to work with 3D animation and art is to use the Adobe software, Cinema 4D.
  • It's not a video editor. If you're looking to add soundtracks or edit multiple video clips After Effects is not the best option. You need to use Premiere or Final Cut Pro to allow you to manipulate your video content. After Effects can only interact with layers and vertically stack content.

What are the Basic Components of the After Effects Workflow?

Working in After Effects requires creativity, organisation, and technical skills that will ensure a smooth animation process. Here are the basic components of your workflow:

  • Import and organise footage. After Effects can automatically interpret the media formats, but you can customize it as well by including pixel aspect ratio, frame rate, and time frame.
  • Create compositions and arrange layers. You can arrange the layers spatially, in time, or in different dimensions as well as use masks, compositing tools, shape layers, and paint tools to create personalised elements. 
  • Add effects. This software allows you to add sounds or alter the appearance of a layer, which gives many opportunities to combine different presets and styles.
  • Animate elements. You can modify the opacity, position and size of the layer by combining layer properties, keyframes and expressions.
  • Preview the work. When previewing the project, you can monitor and change the speed or quality of your composition. Colour management features will help you to preview how the project can look on an output device.
  • Render and export the composition. In this part of the workflow, you can choose the quality settings, create the movies and export them in different formats.

What are the Basic After Effects Skills?

  • Creating 8-Bit Pixel Art. With Nintendo being more than 30 years on the market, there's no better time to honour the gamers and create a video-game look using After Effects.
  • Easy Motion Tracking. This skill allows you to track the movement of the object within the footage. Once you capture the track data, you can then apply it to another element. By applying that data, your elements/objects match the movement of the footage. This allows combining several elements that have never been in the scene.
  • Compositing Techniques. Compositing has the ability to transform your project into a spectacular piece of art. Whether you're new to After Effects or an experienced video editor, there are always useful tips on how to use the power of visual effects.
  • Animating with trim paths. This feature saves you hours trying to animate shapes with masks. You can find it within the Shape Attributes. Simply, choose Layer>New>Shape Layer and draw a circle to test the feature.
  • Rotoscoping. This is the process of drawing a series of mattes, frame by frame which separates the background from the foreground of a shot. It allows unlimited creative applications by animating the properties of the layers separately.
  • Adding the “float yourself effect. If you're looking to improve your Instagram page with engaging imagery, then this technique is worth a try. Being more advanced, won't stop you from producing perfectly crafted videos.
  • Exporting transparent background videos. Flexibility is something that a video editor will be looking for when working in After Effects. To make things easier, when you export your footage with a transparent background you can place it above or below your images and text.

Is Adobe After Effects Easy to Learn?

Just like with any software, it takes time and practice. Starting off with the basics, practicing them until they feel natural before moving onto the next step will ensure you don't feel overwhelmed. If you are familiar with other Adobe software such as Photoshop or Premiere, these concepts will help ease you into learning After Effects.

Your inspiration to create new visuals and develop different types of content will motivate you to keep learning the After Effects and take your skills from strength to strength.

What is the best way to learn After Effects?

After Effects is not difficult to learn. It's best to start with a basic introductory level that will help you to take control of the simple techniques and shortcuts and then move forward with more advanced setups. Watch a tutorial, read a book or book onto one of our amazing courses, taught by the best After Effects experts in the UK: the possibilities are endless.

by Cristina Moraru | 27 Sep 23

3 Interesting Courses For You

After Effects Adv

from £429 + VAT

2 day course
This course is for motion graphics designers making the final push to expert status.

The ultimate power-user course for Adobe After Effects.

  • Master keyframe interpolation
    Use time remapping and expressions effectively
    Explore advanced effects and 3D layers
    Understand render order and image stabilization
    Learn Cinema 4D integration

After Effects Intermediate

from £429 + VAT

2 day course
Take your existing motion graphics and animation skills to the next level.

Learn to master in-depth features with our hands-on course.

  • Enhance workflow practices and project structure
    Master Alpha Channels and their correct usage
    Learn advanced techniques for effects, keyframes, and masks
    Discover the power of text layers and motion tracking
    Gain insights into 3D layers and integration with Adobe Premiere

After Effects Intro

from £379 + VAT

2 day course
Create stunning motion graphics, visual effects and animations using After Effects.

Learn with industry experts in our London classrooms or live online.

  • Learn keyframe animation techniques for dynamic motion graphics
    Create and animate text and graphics
    Apply and manipulate visual effects
    Work with animation principles, keyframes and layers
    Export and render projects for a variety of platforms