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55 best After Effects tutorials to sharpen your motion skills

Best After Effects tutorials: AE logo being zapped by a lightning bolt
These After Effects tutorials cover all bases, from novice to pro (Image credit: Motion Array)

We've selected the best After Effects tutorials to help you master this complex software and use it to create show-stopping visual effects. In this post, you'll find 55 brilliant After Effects tutorials to expand your knowledge, whether you're a total novice, a seasoned pro, or somewhere in between. Plus we've neatly divided them into categories so you can find what you need easily and quickly.

Adobe After Effects CC is the industry standard for motion graphics, compositing and video editing. You can use it to create everything from simple animations to full features for TV, movies and the web, and you even use it to craft some impressive VFX. In short, Adobe After Effects (AE) offers so many possibilities that there's always something new to learn.

In the market for some new 3D tools? Here's our guide to the best 3D modelling software.

Get started with AE

New to the software and want to get shown the ropes, in plain English? These are the best After Effects tutorials for beginners, to set you on the right path.

01. The Basics of After Effects in 10 Minutes

Want to get your head around the After Effects interface quickly? This short video from Storyblocks explains the basics with admirable clarity in under 10 minutes, including how to import content into your project, how to create a new composition, and how to trim and edit your footage.  

02. Introduction to After Effects: Tutorial for Beginners

This fun and oh-so-friendly introduction tutorial is a great place to start on your Adobe After Effects journey. The team at present the basics in a clear, step-by-step style, giving you lots of time to keep up and great detail. The tone is helpful and encouraging with lots of personality.

03. 10 tips for After Effects beginners

Photo of woman with hair flowing in the wind

(Image credit: Filtergrade)

This succinct tutorial from Filtergrade introduces the main concepts behind After Effects you need to know, including layout, projects vs compositions, the timeline, keyframes and animation presets.

04. How to create a new project

This short, simple video tutorial teaches you how to create a new project in Adobe After Effects. This is the first step to getting started. 

05. The beginner's guide to After Effects

After Effects tutorials: star diagram

After Effects is at the core of the workflows of most motion graphics, VFX and 3D artists and animators. It offers a range of tools that can be adapted for a huge range of tasks, from simple titles to full 3D stereo compositing. In this tutorial by Mike Griggs for Creative Bloq, you'll learn how to get started.

06. Get to know After Effects

After Effects tutorials: AE interface

Produced by Adobe itself, this first-time user's tutorial gives you a solid introduction to After Effects, explaining how to launch the application, import files, and organise assets in the Project panel.

07. Learn the basics of After Effects in just 18 minutes

After Effects tutorials: learn AE graphic

In this After Effects tutorial, Owen from Motion Array provides a walkthrough of the creation of an animated logo, explaining various basic elements of the software along the way.

08. Get started with animation in After Effects

After Effects tutorials: snake

Once you grasp some basic concepts, you’ll be able to create a range of animation styles using After Effects CC. This tutorial by Sara Barnes runs through some top tips for animating illustrations in After Effects, starting with the basics.

09. How to move from Photoshop to After Effects

After Effects tutorials: AE and PS logos

Getting into motion design can seem quite intimidating, but this tutorial by Rob Carney shows how many similarities there are between Adobe's motion graphics, animation and video editing tool and Photoshop. Learn how to apply your Photoshop skills to making images that move.

10. Work with composition in After Affects

After Effects tutorials: interface

This tutorial from Adobe will help you to learn the basics of creating your first composition in After Effects CC, as well as how to add animation, apply effects and more. You’ll learn to build your first composition with multiple layers, position layers in a composition and record multiple keyframes to create an animation.

11. Create and animate text in After Effects

After Effects tutorials: flower petal graphic

This series of video tutorials will teach you the fundamentals required to create and animate text layers. Here you'll learn to add text to a composition, apply and edit prebuilt text animations and create per-character animation.

12. Build custom transitions in After Effects

After Effects tutorials: interface

Learn how to create custom transitions in After Effects with these video tutorials. Find out how to animate masks to create a custom transition, build animated graphics using Shape layers and create transparency in a layer using a track matte.

13. After Effects basics VFX tutorial

This is a super-fun beginner tutorial that teaches you how to make a lit fire effect in After Effects. As host Black Mixture explains, this process includes versatile methods are at the basis of creating lots of different special effects – so it's a great set of transferrable skills to learn as a beginner.

14. Create a custom glitch effect

After Effects tutorials: glitchy lettering

Discover how to make a cool glitch effect in this After Effects tutorial, entirely within the app and requiring no source footage.

15. Create visual effects in After Effects

After Effects tutorials: interface

This set of tutorials focuses on techniques for creating several popular visual effects. Use the 3D Camera Tracker effect to place type into a scene, add a blur over a specific area in the video footage, isolate elements by pulling a greenscreen key, clean up keyed footage using a garbage matte, and retime video to create visual impact.

16. Create animated backgrounds

After Effects tutorials: lion illustration

These tutorials explain how to use a Generate effect to create an animated background. First, create animated graphic elements from scratch that you can use to create an animated background. Then create a seamless looping background using evolution options.

17. Select and animate layers

After Effects tutorials: multiple layers

In this tutorial you can learn techniques and tools to simplify the process of selecting and animating multiple layers in your composition. You’ll work with multiple layers in a comp, use Pre-compose to animate groups of layers, and use null objects to drive animation of multiple layers.

18. Work with 3D

After Effects tutorials: graphic logo

These tutorials will teach you how to create and work with 3D in compositions. Learn about the different renderers available in After Effects, how to enable 3D on a layer to position 2D layers in 3D space, and how to add lights to a composition containing 3D layers.

19. After Effects 17.0: New features

Most beginner tutorials for After Effects users are a year or two old now, but new features are being added to the software all the time. So to get up to speed, check out this School of Motion tutorial from last November, which walks you through the very latest update. 

Build your skills

Once you've mastered the basics, it's time to start building your skills. There's plenty more to learn – whether you want to start upskilling in motion graphics, animation and videos, improve your productivity, or organise your projects more efficiently. Here are the best After Effects tutorials to help you do so.

20. Get to know the After Effects interface

After Effects tutorials: surfing footage

In this After Effects tutorial,  Ian Robinson explains how to start off on the right foot by navigating the workspace and learning key terms and basic features that will help you become proficient.

21. Organise your project assets

After Effects tutorials: laptop

Working in After Effects can become overwhelming if things aren’t well organised. This tutorial explains how to navigate Adobe After Effects CC so you can organise your projects – including imported assets, precompositions, and timeline layers – and apply effects efficiently.

22. Render your work

After Effects tutorials: vector lion

Learn to render a video composition in this After Effects tutorial. Get started with the Render Queue and discover how to render multiple file formats using Adobe Media Encoder.

23. Understand animation

After Effects tutorials: two squares

In this tutorial from and Ian Robinson, you'll discover the powerful options within After Effects for animation. Topics covered include basic animation concepts, terminology, and animation features.

24. Bring your 2D characters to life

After Effects tutorials: robot illustration

In this tutorial by John Hersey, discover how to animate artwork created in Adobe Illustrator CC or Photoshop CC using Adobe Character Animator, and use your webcam to give characters lifelike movement.

25. Add text with formatting and effects

After Effects tutorials: figures 2 and 1

Want to add and adjust text elements to your compositions? In this After Effects tutorial you can learn how to set text as editable, adjust character formatting, and fade in your text on a clip.

26. Fix unusable footage

After Effects tutorials: clocktower illustration

In this After Effects tutorial you're taught how to repair imperfect footage using tools that address common problems. Fix a shaky, handheld shot with the Warp Stabilizer VFX effect, and then use Camera Shake Deblur to sharpen all frames before applying the Lumetri Color effect to correct colour imbalances.

27. Adjust for shaky camerawork 

After Effects tutorials: camera illustration

Learn how to smooth handheld footage, choose which objects in a scene get stabilised, and even reverse a stabilisation to track an object in an unstable scene using the Warp Stabilizer VFX.

28. Capture colours, shapes, and brushes on the go

After Effects tutorials: girl playing keyboard illustration

In this tutorial, Sergiy Maidukov reveals how to quickly capture, create, and edit custom brushes, colour themes, vector shapes and unique looks in Capture CC, which you can then use in After Effects (see below).

29. Turn captured shapes into motion graphics

After Effects tutorials: woman diving illustration

Matty Newton explains how to capture a handwritten signature with Adobe Capture CC and turn it into an animation in After Effects.

30. Create animated sun rays

This tutorial explains how to draw and animate a simple sun shape using After Effects, in just a few steps.

Next page: More intermediate tutorials – tools, effects, and other software