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How to Learn Adobe After Effects in Adobe After Effects

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:LongLanguages:

Adobe After Effects is the leading choice for motion graphics and animations in the video world. This product is ubiquitous amongst those who work with video, and has even made its way into Hollywood films like Iron Man 3.

Like many of Adobe's products, After Effects is capable of producing practically any effect, if you know how. The problem is that the program has a pretty steep learning curve. After Effects has many effects and presets to impact your video, but it's hard to cut through the jargon and learn the difference between a "Linear Color Key" and "Spill Suppressor" when you're just getting started.

What if you could learn After Effects right inside of the app? In this tutorial, I'll introduce to FX Tutor, an After Effects script to look up and reference how effects can shape your video projects.

After Effects Intro

Watch & Learn

Check out the short screencast below to learn more about what FX Tutor offers.

 

Meet FX Tutor for Adobe After Effects

FX Tutor is an inexpensive After Effects script available on Graphic River. Think of FX Tutor as user-friendly documentation that lives inside of the app, with handy information.

FX Tutor Drop In
The After Effects script FX Tutor is a great way to learn the app while using it.

After Effects is driven heavily by the Effects & Presets panel which is viewable by default when you open the app on the right side.

These Effects and Presets are pivotal for customizing your video. Imagine using effects from Blur & Sharpen to Color Correction to tweak your video project just the way you like it.

The problem is this: when you're new, how the heck do you know what these effects mean?

FX Tutor
Think of FX Tutor as an easy way to understand the Effects & Presets inside of the app.

This is where FX Tutor comes into play. While browsing through sections like Channel, I could select an effect like Channel combiner. Then, I could simply browse and find the same effect in FX Tutor. Simple explanations were very helpful as I learned how to use After Effects for the first time.

There's also a "View Tutorials..." link to jump to lessons the author has compiled to learn more about the effect.

Unfortunately, many of the categories I tried did not have links to tutorials. However, several did, and I found the descriptions in FX Tutor to be very helpful for my own purpose.

What if you don't have time to learn After Effects for your project deadline? Let's look at some alternatives to building video projects from the ground up.

Shortening the Learning Curve

Here's a secret: most people that use After Effects don't start from scratch. Instead, they frequently start off with templates to automate the process.

Video Hive has an impressive library of After Effects templates. These are inexpensive, pre-built projects that allow you to modify them with your own information. 

In this example, I used the stunning Freethink video.  It's far better than anything I could produce with After Effects, and easy to customize.

If you need to animate a short company or promotional video, this is the quickest shortcut to a great looking product. Try out one of these templates below for your next video project.

The Titles - 180 Animated Titles Pack

The Titles

One of the most common uses for After Effects is building great looking intro's for a video. This pack makes it easy; download it, select one you like, and replace the text and logo with your own.

Handy Seamless Transitions

Handy Seamless Transitions

Looking to add a bit more flair to your video than the stock fades or wipes? This pack is awesome for adding creative transitions to your video.

Parallax Media Opener

Parallax Media Opener

This impressive, animated opener looks like it belongs right on the big screen. Replace the text and images with your own and wow your audience.

Keep Learning

In this tutorial, you learned about FX tutor, a simple and inexpensive After Effects script to give you easy reference on effects and presets. Here are more great tutorials and resources to learn After Effects:

How did you learn After Effects? Let me know in the comments.

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