When I first started to learn After Effects, I think I accidentally dove into the deep when I came across the awesome, but rather advanced tutorials on videocopilot.net. It took quite a bit of perseverance to get over the initial learning curve, understand what I was actually doing and use the skills I was picking to create my own VFX.
I think every film maker out there should learn After Effects, but I do realise that it is a complex tool and some people prefer to have a more gentle introduction to the great features it offers. For that reason I started to create a basics series to help everyone who wanted to watch and listen learn After Effects step by step.
So far, this series consists of 8 parts and I do have a few more on my to-do list :)
I highly encourage you to watch these tutorials in the correct order to get the maximum learning effect out of them.
After Effects Basic Beginners Tutorial 1/8 – How To Create Cool VFX
Learn the very basics of After Effects and the workflow you should follow to get your VFX from inception to rendered video.
This tutorial covers the basic workflow and the interface of After Effects. I then show you how to create a simple visual explosion effect from start to finish and export your final composition.
Adobe After Effects Basics Tutorial 2/8 – Compositions And Pre-Composing
This tutorial explains compositions in more detail and explains their different roles within After Effects.
You will learn how to create compositions and how to pre-compose multiple layers to manage them more easily. I will also show you what I consider to be the true power of compositions: creating reusable elements.
Adobe After Effects Basics Tutorial 3/8 – Introduction to Masking
Now that you know the basics of After Effects it’s time to explore the fundamental tools you need to create awesome VFX – and masking is probably the most essential tool of them all.
We will cover how to create masks as well as all their properties like mask mode, feathering, expansion and more. Finally I will show you how to animate your masks during your effect to cut out visual elements in your footage.
Adobe After Effects Basics Tutorial 4/8 – Adjustment Layers
In this tutorial we take it one step further and cover adjustment layers, an essential tool in applying effects to multiple layers in your composition.
I will show you how adjustment layers work and how you can create them in Adobe After Effects. Finally, since you already know about masks I show you the cool things you can do by combining masks with adjustment layers to control where your effects are being applied.
Adobe After Effects Basics Tutorial 5/8 – Track Mattes
Another great tool available in After Effects that, once you get to more advanced effects, you will use a lot of are track mattes. I will show you how to apply track mattes to layers and gain detailed control over the opacity of your layers.
We will cover how exactly track mattes work, how to change their properties and, since you now also know about adjustment layers, I will quickly show you how you can combine mattes and adjustment layers for more complex VFX.
Adobe After Effects Basics Tutorial 6/8 – Parenting
Parenting allows you to attach layers to one another in terms of their position, rotation and scale. While this might not sound immediately useful, it is an essential technique to master to create more advanced effects and deal with scenes that require any form of tracing.
In this tutorial I will show you the theory behind parenting, how to do it in After Effects and why it is an important skill to master.
Adobe After Effects Basics Tutorial 7/8 – Null Objects
Null objects mystify a lot of people because they have a cryptic name and by themselves they do jack all! However, null objects come in handy as markers or to control other layers and effects in your composition and are therefore a fundamental tool that you should understand. In this tutorial I explain what Null Objects are and how to use them for your own Visual Effects!
Adobe After Effects Basics Tutorial 8/8 – 3D
Once you are bored with 2 dimensions in Adobe After Effects you might want to learn a bit about how to create cool 3D effects. Fortunately that is actually pretty simple using the inbuilt features provided. In this tutorial I will show you how easy it is to create 3D layers and position then in your scene, add a camera to define how the elements are being rendered and add some funky lights to illuminate your scene!
As I mentioned, I am still in the process of creating a few more tutorials for this series to cover topics like parenting, null objects and the fundamentals of After Effects expressions. I hope they will prove helpful to you in getting started with this exciting tool and adding some awesome visual effects to your movie projects :)