The best After Effects templates

Best After Effects Templates
(Image credit: Nitrozme)

The best After Effect templates can be a great help to anyone working in video, in two vital ways. Firstly they can provide a quick and easy way to implement impressive effects, transitions, elements and more with just a few simple clicks; perfect if you're in a hurry or need to apply an element that's outside of your usual skillset.

Secondly, though, they're a brilliant way to expand your After Effects abilities. After Effects is a vast, powerful and versatile video package, but if you're new to it then the learning curve can be extremely steep, and often the best way to figure out how to get the best out of it is to learn from ready made examples. With some great templates to hand – not to mention some top After Effects plugins – you can take a look at how they're built and what they're doing, and quickly learn how to do it all yourself. (Also check out our best After Effects tutorials for some extra tips.)

With that in mind we've picked out nine of the best After Effects templates available now. Some of them are free, the rest are none too expensive, and all of them can lend your video work that extra visual spark while providing you with the inspiration to turbo-charge your own After Effects skills. If you haven't got AE yet, learn how to download After Effects here, or use the link below to go straight to Adobe's site.

01. AR Tools

If you're after an AR look in your video, where everything's overlaid with floating icons, banners, text and visual effect, here's the easiest way to get it. Powered by the Animation Studio panel (included in the download), AR Tools enables you to augment your video with added graphics, video and 3D elements, complete with physically accurate reflections and shadows, all with just a few clicks. There are over 500 presets included, and AR Tools can work at any resolution and any frame rate.

02. PremiumGrades

Quality colour grading can make a real difference to your video's aesthetic qualities, but getting it right isn't easy. PremiumGrades takes the guesswork out of grading with a set of 20 top quality colour presets designed to be used in short films, style pieces, and motion graphics projects. They're ready to be dragged and dropped into your projects, and they won't wreck your image quality. Best of all, they're completely free.

03. FX Master

Looking to give your work a little extra visual punch? FX Master can probably give it the lift it needs; it's a collection of 850 action effects and elements across 18 categories, including line FX, neon signs, gunshot effects, speech bubbles and more. Every animated element is hand-drawn frame by frame with customisable colours, and they're all easily dragged into your project for an instant boost. 

04. VHS Look

Rather than just letting a template do all the work for you, here's an After Effects tutorial that'll teach you everything you need to know about transforming your video so it has the authentic look of old-fashioned VHS playback. As well as taking you through the steps, it includes a downloadable After Effects template to work from so that you can pick through what it's doing and learn how to create your own effects.

05. Elevated Slideshow

Sometimes all a client wants is a slideshow, but that doesn't mean you have to deliver something as boring as that sounds. With Elevated Slideshow you can quickly create slideshows that people will actually want to look at; it's an After Effects template that enables you to build a dynamic and rotating animated slideshow, with 30 placeholders suitable for both photos and videos, and a control panel so that you can adjust colours, sizes and positions of the text areas.

06. Gaze Graphics Pack

Best After Effects Templates

4,000 elements and presets should keep you going for a while (Image credit: MographMotions)

For the ultimate visual boost, how about a collection of over 4,000 ready-to-use elements and presets? That's what you get with Gaze Graphics Pack, a massive collection that includes transitions, icons, backgrounds and sound effects, as well as templates for slideshow, Instagram Stories, title sequences and a whole lot more. Like AR Tools, the Gaze Graphics Pack includes the Animation Studio extension to boost your After Effects workflow.

07. Bauhaus Minimal Opener

Does your latest video project need an minimal black and white opener to get things going? Look no further than Bauhaus Minimal Opener, an After Effects template that's all about the classic monochrome look. It combines great-looking black and white text and animations with some eye-catching transitions, and it's perfect for providing a stylish, understated intro when you really need it.

08. Anamorphic Look

Here's another useful AE tutorial from RocketStock that also includes all the project files you need so you can have a dig through and see what's going on underneath. This tutorial's all about giving your video an anamorphic look, which involves a lot more than just cropping to an ultra-wide aspect ratio; to get it right you also need some lens distortion, chromatic aberration and other effects. Click through to get the files and find out how it's done properly.

10. Digital Distortion

Finally, who can resist a bit of digital distortion? This free After Effects template from RocketStock gives you a full-featured distortion effects kit that's a joy to use with plenty of customisable settings. There are nine different distortion effects including noise, chromatic aberration, turbulence and pixel blending, and every one can be tweaked using a simple slider. You can even combine the various parameters to create your own distinctive look; just don't go overboard with them.

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Jim McCauley

Jim McCauley is a writer, performer and cat-wrangler who started writing professionally way back in 1995 on PC Format magazine, and has been covering technology-related subjects ever since, whether it's hardware, software or videogames. A chance call in 2005 led to Jim taking charge of Computer Arts' website and developing an interest in the world of graphic design, and eventually led to a move over to the freshly-launched Creative Bloq in 2012. Jim now works as a freelance writer for sites including Creative Bloq, T3 and PetsRadar, specialising in design, technology, wellness and cats, while doing the occasional pantomime and street performance in Bath and designing posters for a local drama group on the side.