Few programs can rival Adobe After Effect's functionality and versatility when working with graphics.

People just starting with the program might not know all that Adobe After Effects can do. Therefore, we'll be breaking down some of its key features, describing how they can be used to create visual effects.

And for those of you who might be wondering what is Adobe After Effects? It's a program that lets users create and stylize 2D models and footage into 3D space. Designers and video editors worldwide rely on it, depending on how they want to use it.

For instance, an amateur VFX artist who likes toying with special effects might want to use After Effects to composite 3D rendered footage.

In contrast, a video editor would use it to stylize their title design, and an animator could use it to create 2D cartoons.

However, you should know that After Effects is not particularly useful for editing playback footage, as it doesn't have embedded editing features. Although, it can be used to apply effects to edited footage.

Adobe After Effects price ranges from $20.99 for annual plans and $31.49 for monthly plans, which is quite decent for an industry-leading video editing software.

Furthermore, Adobe After Effects tutorials are the best tools to help novices get the hang of the program's basics, following which they can start creating designs on their own.

A man listening to music on headphones while staring at a computer screen. Adobe After Effects tutorials can help budding designers with video editing. Sign up with Superprof to learn the basics of the program
Adobe After Effects comes with various built-in effects like simulations and many different templates. Also, it allows you to install plugins for more upgraded features; therefore, you can always get more out of a single subscription. (Source: Unsplash)
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Interface

The interface is relatively straightforward, with a layered system like all other video editing applications.

When working on a 2D composition, the best way to describe the editing interface would be a stack of paper, with the top layer concealing the bottom layer.

When setting it up for a 3D composition, different layers can be laid over each other. The layers that move towards the camera become visible, and the layers that move away become obscured.

The Effects Library

Adobe After Effects comes with a massive library of built-in effects, probably the largest in any video application.

As part of your Adobe After Effects tutorials, you will learn some of the more widely used effects:

Simulation Effects

Adobe After Effects features 18 simulation effects, which can be incorporated into videos to create an endless mix of visual effects.

Each of the effects can be customized and paired with other effects to improve how they work and look together.

Stylized Effects

After Effects also features stylized effects, which are used for adding customized styles to your videos and layers.

These drag-and-drop stylized effects can be tweaked to provide a new design element to your creation. Some notable stylized effects include the CG glass effect and the posterize effect.

Other Effects

Besides the ones we've mentioned, Adobe After Effects also features many other customized effects, such as blurring and color correction, to name a few.

One notable effect that stands out is the Perspective 3D camera tracker effect that allows you to track your video footage.

Templates

The templates that After Effects has to offer are unique and straightforward to utilize. All you have to do is drag and drop to add an exciting aesthetic.

What's particularly appealing about these templates is their ease of use, especially for video editors who are short on time. They do not need any tweaking and can fit with most footages.

Title Design

Adobe After Effects is as effective as Photoshop when it comes to stylizing titles, offering several unique designs for your videos.

Moreover, the built-in title tool is quite familiar, as it is reminiscent of the title section in word processors like MS Word.

Besides that, it also includes options for paragraphs and other miscellaneous options for leading, kerning, etc.

What sets the After Effects title design features apart are the animators, which let you animate characters, words, and lines according to your video's theme and design aesthetic.

These effects offer innumerable possibilities to create unique looks and allow for unlimited combinations of designs when applied to text.

However, it can be hard to create 3D titles natively in After Effects. Therefore, some users resort to using layer stacking to create a 3D element, while others use the Element 3D plugin to create extruded 3D text.

A man in a dark room sitting on a chair working on a computer. Adobe After Effects price is reasonable enough for freelance users on a tight budget who wish to use it for their projects; however, if you don't know how to use it, you may have to spend some time learning it
Adobe After Effects is a subscription-based program, offering its users different monthly and annual plans that most designers can afford. Learn Adobe After Effects with a tutor at Superprof. (Source: Unsplash)
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Compositing

Compositing allows video editors and creators to bring together multiple components and form a finished scene.

For instance, a VFX scene would require a green screen, a background, dust, sparks, smoke, and debris to create one coherent shot.

Accomplishing all this within a simple video editing app is quite challenging, but advanced programs like After Effects make it possible with minimal effort.

That's not to say that compositing is only required for heavy VFX scenes. Most video editors even use it for simple projects like a quick screen replacement during a product demo or blurring out the background of a set.

After Effects also includes several blending modes for combining layers with the footage behind them.

This feature is handy when you're working with 3D models because numerous elements need to be composited and blended to create a final result.

Some examples include juxtaposing a shadow and highlighted layer to create light and dark backgrounds and add leaks.

Scripts

The scripts in Adobe After Effects automate processes that would usually take a longer time if done individually.

Many people consider scripts interchangeable with plugins, but scripts don't add additional features to the software. Instead, they speed up specific processes, like creating shape animations by pressing a button.

You can now create animations on your own without scripts on After Effects, but it would take a lot of time.

Accomplishing the task by simply clicking on a few buttons makes work easier and faster. A few seconds can add up to a lot of saved time, which is valuable for video editors on a tight schedule.

Besides the AE script, which helps create shape animations, additional scripts can perform side tasks like offsetting layers to render compositions.

You can always find a handy script that can save you from relentlessly executing most repetitive tasks.

Plugins

Lastly, plugins add new features and effects to your After Effects software to increase functionality.

There are countless plugins available for this program that can allow you to try out functions and customizations for your footage.

Plugins are developed separately by third parties and function like mini-applications. They can be installed and used with built-in After Effects features.

When you start searching, you will find countless different plugins, a few notable ones being Element 3D, Plexus, and Optical Flares.

The most popular and widely used plugin for After Effects is the Element 3D plugin which allows you to import, color, lighten, create, and add texture to 3D objects.

It is pretty close to a complete 3D modeling application and helps to speed up the 3D designing process in the program.

A MacBook Air with glasses resting on it. Adobe After Effects works for desktops and most laptops, and it is faster than other video editing programs; however, some of the features on AAE may be better on other editing platforms
There are a few things that Adobe After Effects is not the best at, like 3D modeling and animation. Ask your Superprof Adobe tutor to help you learn the functionalities of the software. (Source: Unsplash)

What You Can't Do With After Effects

By now, you know about the numerous features and add-ons of After Effects, and they shouldn't be overlooked when you're on the hunt for an editing software.

However, we haven't quite discussed what's missing from this program. Although there aren't many, we have to wade over the limitations as it is our responsibility towards the readers!

For starters, it's not the best program for heavy VFX or motion graphic projects, but you can work your way through most things.

A few other things that the Adobe After Effects Program is not particularly good at are:

3D Modeling And Animation

Although Adobe After Effects does allow 3D imports, it's still pretty limited when it comes to animating these models, not quite delivering the services you'd expect from a 3D modeling software. The choice of models that you can select is also quite limited

Video Editing

We mentioned this above, but we'll reiterate: After Effects is not the best option for audio and video editing.

You might be able to use basic tools to edit footage at a primary level, but the output is not what you'd expect from video editing software.

We'd suggest pairing After Effects with video editing software like Premiere Pro or Media Composer for the best results.

Learning Adobe After Effects

If you're a novice at Adobe After Effects, keep in mind that it will take you time to get the hang of it. You can learn it by trial and error, or you can enroll in an introductory course for it.

After you've gotten through the basics, you can start with some experimenting of your own.

With Superprof, you can access Adobe After Effects tutorials through industry professionals, from introductory to advanced levels. Create a profile on Superprof, find a tutor near you, and get started with this program right away!

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