After EffectsHow to

52 amazing After Effects tutorials

Whether you're a beginner, intermediate or expert, you're sure to find what you're looking for in our great collection of After Effects tutorials from around the web.

Want to know how to do something in After Effects? The web is brimming with tutorials for people wanting to learn about Adobe's 3D, motion graphics and animation software. But sometimes it can be an uphill struggle finding the tutorial that's right for you. So here we've collected together the best After Effects tutorials on the web for you. You should be able to find what you're looking for here – if not, let us know what topics we're missing in the comments below!

Beginner level

Beginner's guide to After Effects

These After Effects tutorials from Digital Tutors take an introductory look into the software and compositing in general.

Introduction to After Effects

This easy-to-follow video tutorial from the Greayscalegorilla team explains the basics of animating and pre-comping in After Effects.

Learn some basic effects in After Effects

If you're fairly new to After Effects, you might want to take a look at some of Video CoPilot's basic training tutorials. In this project, Andrew Kramer shows you how to use some simple effects for some great results.

Starting with After Effects

Pascal Verstegen, aka Enkera from Noa Studios, shows you how you can get started with Adobe After Effects with only a basic knowledge of programmes such as Photoshop. The result is a simple but effective animation.

Start animating with Adobe After Effects

Andrew Kramer is at hand to show you how to use animation techniques in Adobe After Effects. An extremely useful tutorial that will introduce you to the basics of animation in After Effects.

Developing your technique

Creating and using masks in After Effects

Adobe After Effects: Learn how to mask objects efficiently

Andrew Devis explains how to mask in an efficient way using After Effects. In this After Effects tutorial, Andrew demonstrates the tools needed for masking along with some handy keyboard short cuts.

How to track motion in Adobe After Effects CS3+

Once you've got the basics down, it's time to delve into the world of motion tracking. Here, you'll learn the ins-and-outs of track motion, which can also be used to stabilise existing footage.

The naked truth about 3D rotations

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between rotation and orientation? This After Effects tutorial explains the way rotations in 3D space work. Once you understand the concept – it will be easier for you to tame rotations in After Effects and beyond.

Create easy 3D reflections

Want to create easy 3D reflections with no plug-ins in After Effects? This video tutorial will show you, as well as how to simulate reflective falloff and blurry reflections.

Camera Solving For Moving Objects in Mocha 3

Product manager Martin Brennand takes you through how to use the camera solver to get the 3D data of a moving planar object. You'll also learn how to export 3D to After Effects and attach 3D particles from Trapcode Particular.

How to replace a sky in your composition

Tom Skelton is the king of After Effects tutorials. Here, he shows how to add in a backdrop behind moving objects and blend each element together seamlessly.

Put together a realistic composite

Adobe After Effects: Superimpose a District 9 style space ship

Adding outside elements into a scene can be a tedious task that most of us find frustrating. Take a look at this tutorial, where Youssef Sarhan shows you some composition techniques to superimpose a District 9 style space ship.

How to create and rig a realistic puppet overview

This is a quick overview of Aetuts+'s 'How To Create And Rig A Realistic Puppet' series. It's a great way to get a feel for all 17 tutorials (yep 17!) only using Adobe After Effects. Genius!

Mix stop motion with 3D

How to mix stop motion with 3D layers

This After Effects tutorial will teach you how to capture footage with Dragon Stop Motion, experiment with basic keying in After Effects and show you how to manipulate 3D layers.

How to experiment with particle effects

Vivian Kim shows you how experimenting in After Effects with the Trapcode Form plug-in can create some beautiful results.

How to add a light wrap to keyed footage

Tom Skelton presents a versatile technique for light wrapping, a common visual effects task.

Inventing new worlds

Create a virtual 3D set with After Effects

Rob Mize shows you how to create a whole new world with this 3D space tutorial. You'll be able to build realistic, sophisticated environments, where actors can actually interact with your creation.

Create a highly detailed digital terrain scan

 Create a futuristic 3D terrain scanner
Adobe After Effects: Create a futuristic 3D terrain scanner

In this tutorial, you'll be creating a futuristic 3D terrain scanner. You'll also be discovering the difference between the old version of FreeForm (the DigiEffects version, bundled with AE CS5) and the new FreeForm v2.

Impressive effects

Time freeze

Here, the team at Video Copilot explain exactly how to simulate a frozen world around one person.

How to create a dust devil with particles

After Effects tutorials expert Tom Skelton shows you how to use Trapcode Particular and CC Particle World to make a whirlwind effect entirely in post production.

How to add a camera shake

Want that realistic, Cloverfield-style handheld camera style on your footage? Learn how to fake a camera shake in this quickie After Effects tutorial.

Create an illuminated skin effect

After Effects tutorials
This 20-minute After Effects tutorial explains how to create an illuminated skin effect

In this video tutorial from Video Copilot, Andrew Kramer explains how to create an illuminated skin effect, inspired by Iron Man 3.

Create a realistic glass reflection

It's important in After Effects to get things looking realistic; especially when it comes to give-aways such as reflection. Get it right with this handy tutorial which includes use of a free plugin.

Create realistic smoke trails with particular particles

In this 21-minute After Effects tutorial, you'll learn how to create realistic looking smoke trails as well as the ability to randomise cloud texture with 3D turbulence. Could be used for Superheros or space ships!

Pixel-perfect camera move transitions

After Effects tutorials
Discover how to master pixel-perfect camera move transitions with this video tutorial from Greyscalegorilla

Want to know how to how to fly a camera around in After Effects and land on full frame video? This tutorial will show you how, helping keep your camera moves and transitions accurate and ready for a perfect edit.

Create a believable UFO sighting

Late last year, this 'UFO sighting' video was uploaded to YouTube and raked up over 10,000 views. It was also 'verified' by several 'UFO authorities' and featured in magazines and UFO sighting websites around the world. It was made in After Effects. Have a go yourself!

Create car light effects

The team at Maxafter bring you an easy to follow After Effects tutorial; showing you how to create those car light effects we often see in the dark. Once you get them moving, they look great!

Advanced 3D light rays

This video tutorial from Video Copilot explains exactly how to create 3D light rays and add light beams to 3D camera tracked footage within After Effects.

Blowing stuff up

Throw a grenade in After Effects

Adobe After Effects: Create an awesome action grenade throw

Go out with a bang with this awesome tutorial from the wonderful Andrew Kramer. In this video guide, he'll show you how to use slow motion and explosive techniques to get a realistic grenade throw.

Get blown away with an explosive corridor blast

In this beginner to advanced After Effects tutorial, you'll learn how to blow things up! Surely there can't be a better use for After Effects? With these moves you'll be on your way to After Effects stardom in no time.

Use 3DS Max to create a ball shattering with RayFire

Impress with this great tutorial from the team at Video Co-pilot. You'll learn how to use 3DS Max to create a shattering slow motion glass ball effect whilst compositing the passes in After Effects.

Create a train crashing inside After Effects & 3ds Max

This explosive training features three video tutorials, totally over two hours of training on how to create and composite a train crashing inside After Effects and 3ds Max.

Improve your animation skills

How to animate a stream of objects along a path

In this After Effects tutorial, Andy Davenport shows how to generate a flowing animated sequence based on one object.

How to animate characters into real-world scenes

Have you ever seen a commercial where an animated character is painted onto a real background and wondered how it was done? This tutorial provides the answer and delve into the nuts and bolts of blending modes and Track Matte functionality.

A simple puzzle animation with the shatter plug-in

In this After Effects tutorial, you'll learn how to create a cool looking puzzle animation with the simplest of techniques. A tutorial that's fun and versatile enough to come in handy at a later date.

May the force be with you

Generate instant Light Sabers in After Effects Pt. 1

Adobe After Effects: Learn motion blur with Light Sabers

Who wouldn't want to create a real life Light Saber?! Once again, Andrew Kramer impresses with his After Effects expertise and shows you how to custom preset to generate instant Light Sabers and how to change color, size and setting.

Generate instant Light Sabers in After Effects Pt. 2

Part two of this awesome After Effecfts tutorial, Andrew now shows you how preset your Light Saber with enhanced motion blur. You'll also learn how to obscure the Light Saber when behind objects.

Using After Effects CS6

After Effects CS6 in 6 minutes

If you're eager to get started in CS6 but don't have a lot of time on your hands, take a look at the video below.

After Effects CS6: Create shapes from vector layers

For those lucky enough to get their hands on the new CS6 package, take a look at this tutorial from Kevin P. McAuliffe. He'll show you how to use the new 'Create Shapes from Vector Layers' command in After Effects CS6 that'll save you plenty of time!

Moving After Effects CS5.5 plugins to CS6

Now that Adobe has launched CS6, it's time to move your plugins from CS5.5 (or previous) to the new install. You may think there'll be a lot of uninstalling and re-installing but here, Connor Cosby shows you an easier route.

Working with text

All things text in After Effects

This Digital Tutors series will teach you everything you need to know about creating, controlling, and using text in After Effects.

Create a smokey type effect in After Effects

In this step-by-step tutorial, Steve Holmes explains the process of creating a smokey effect to your type designs in After Effects.

How to simulate cut-out text in After Effects

Andy Davenport shows how to create the animated effect of a shape being cut out from a hard surface.

Create the amazing Spider-Man title sequence

In this After Effects tutorial you'll be using ShapeShifter AE, whilst combining shape layers and layer masks, to model and animate Spidey's symbol.

Create a logo using vintage typewriter keys

Create a cool logo with these vintage typewriter keys

The Video Copilot team explain how create this cool logo using vintage typewriter keys in Element 3D. Using the particle order mode, you can create any word you choose.

Out of this world effects

Create a complex energy scene

Adobe After Effects: Create a complex energy scene

You know the parts in Superhero movies when the evil guy drops down to Earth with a surge of energy? Well, now you can make that scene yourself! Cool, huh? You'll even be able to animate the particles in 3D with multiple instances.

How to create a time-lapse cloud sequence

Andy Davenport shows how to generate a moving sky backdrop within After Effects.

How to create a time tunnel effect

Andy Davenport's video explains how to create a swirling tunnel effect inspired by the Doctor Who title sequence.

Leap into a Hancock-style super jump effect

This tutorial is a great exercise for intermediate After Effects users. It has some awesome new techniques to try out as well as showing you how to use a Difference Matte to roto out an actor and then composite various HD elements in front and behind an actor.

Weather scenes

Create 3D cloud motion from still images

In just a few simple clicks, Aharon Rabinowitz shows you how to take a 2D image of clouds and use it to create realistic 3D cloud motion.

Become a storm chaser Pt.1

The first in a two-parter tutorial, you'll learn how to composite a Tornado and unique point of view using only still pictures. You'll be able to add effects like cloud twirling and distant lighting.

Become a storm chaser Pt. 2

The final part in the storm chaser tutorial, you'll be concentrating on the puppet tool as well as the camera focus options. Best of all, there are no external plugins required!

What subject areas have we missed? Let us know in the comments!

Words: Kerrie Hughes

Kerrie Hughes is content manager at Creative Bloq.

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