Once you have completed your composition, it is time to export it.
When you export a composition, the current 'Work Area' defines where the export will start and stop. The work area is defined by the little bar just above the life bar section of your timeline. You can define which area of your composition to export by dragging the work area start and end indicators to where you want them to be.
Once you have changed the current work area you can also right click on it and select 'Trim Comp to Work Area'. This will change the start and end time of your composition to match your defined work area exactly
To export a composition, make sure it is open, e.g. you can see an active tab with the composition name in your timeline window, and go to Composition -> Add to Render Queue.
The render queue will appear as another tab in your timeline window with your composition already added, ready for export
After Effects supports queued exporting of multiple items and each item can have its own settings. You can bring up the Render Settings dialog by clicking on the current render settings option. In this dialog you can configure the quality, resolution, frame rate and duration of the export.
Click on Output Module option to bring up a dialog where you can configure the output format (video or image), compression quality, resize, crop and audio options. Note that audio is disabled by default and in my opinion, After Effects is not the best tool for audio to begin with, but if you want to export your composition with audio, remember to tick the checkbox
Click on the Output To file name to specify where you want to save your exported composition.
Once you set all those things up, you are ready to hit the 'Render' button to export your composition.
After Effects will show a progress bar appear at the top of your timeline and the preview window will update continuously until the export process is completed.
Once the file has been exported, locate it on your hard drive and play back your first VFX masterpiece to your heart's content
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and feel free to leave me any questions below and I will do my best to answer all of them so you can get started creating awesome VFX in Adobe After Effects!