written by: Shawn S. Lealos•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 9/26/2011
Adobe presents editors with one of the most powerful tools for video editing: After Effects. With the ability to create graphics and animate projects to achieve almost any goal, the software is massive and the learning curve is steep. Here are several tutorials to help beginners master the software.
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Adobe After Effects presents video editors with one of the most powerful special effects editing tools on the market. The software provides a video editor with almost anything he needs to complete a project with almost any effect under the sun. The program’s main purpose is to create motion graphics, video graphics and animation for video projects and is often used in conjunction with both Adobe’s family line of products or as a stand-alone system with other editing software such as Final Cut.
The biggest problem with After Affects is the size of the software. Large volumes of books sit in the local retailers teaching an editor how to use the software platform to accomplish their needs. Adobe After Effect tutorials exist in mass quantities, promising to teach aspiring filmmakers how to add special effects to their films. The problem is there is so much ingrained in this software that learning everything is nearly impossible.
While it is hard to know where to start when trying to master After Effects, there are a few tutorials and tricks that editors can rely on to get them started with the software and help lessen the learning curve slightly. There are also numerous plug-ins that add even more depth to the software, making After Effects one of the most comprehensive editing programs available on the market.
Before you decide to dip your toes into the Adobe After Effects experience, make sure that the software is right for you. There is a chance you can get what you need completed with a less extensive program and save a lot of money in the process. Learn what After Effects offers and decide if it is right for you.
While Adobe After Effects is quite expensive on its own, there is also a bundle which gives you an entire video editing suite in one box. However, once again, the price is enormous and you should make sure it is what you need. Learn what After Effects and Premiere offers and how they can work together to make your video editing needs a snap.
Once you decide to start editing with Adobe After Effects, the software attempts to make things easier on beginners by coming pre-loaded with presets. These can be helpful but after a while, you may want to change them to what you use the most to make your experience better. Learn what the After Effects presets are, how you can create your own and modify them to your comfort level.
Like all software, After Effects comes with keyboard shortcuts to make navigating the software easier. However, there are a lot of these shortcuts and learning them may be more difficult than the easy access keys may be worth. Learn what the shortcut keys are, both for standard applications and Windows-only features.
Before you start delving into the complicated features that will help you bring your videos to life, it is important to understand the normal, everyday tasks of working with After Effects. Learn how to accomplish basic tasks, such as importing a video, editing it, and working with key frames and layers.
Video motion and animation techniques are the tools used by video editors that After Effects remains the king of. Learn what is involved in these techniques and the software best utilized for the projects. Finally, learn the features that After Effects possesses that make it the best choice for these tasks.
One of the most used techniques when working with After Effects is creating and utilizing masks. Using masks allows the editor to work with layers and use various techniques to morph, fix or alter the video into almost anything they want. Learn how the software uses masks and tips on how you can use them to complete your project.
One of the most frustrating things is to shoot a video and, when you load it into your editing software, realize that it is too dark. Lightning a dark video can be oftentimes impossible without reducing the quality of the shot. Learn how After Effects can be used to brighten a dark video without destroying the quality of the shot.
Often a movie or documentary uses still photos but somehow manages to have it look like the camera is moving around the image or the image moves for the video. This is accomplished with photo motion, a technique used in Final Cut Pro and After Effects. Learn how to achieve this trick using After Effects and what it can mean for your video.
Speed variation is a technique that either speeds up or slows down a video project and can be used for various effects. While trying to create slow motion in any editing program is a tricky proposition, After Effects offers the chance to work with speed variation. Learn how to work with this technique and how you can alter your video in After Effects.
When working in a video editing program, it is easy to change the color of a stationary object using the same techniques as you might use in Photoshop. However, in a video, things rarely remain stationary and when something moves, the technique becomes difficult. Learn how to change the color of a moving object using After Effects without affecting the rest of the video.
Motion tracking is used in After Effects for a number of different techniques and tricks. When you track the motion of an object, you can apply effects to just about anything in the shot or, better yet, add animations to the shot that moves with your subjects. Learn how to use motion tracking to animate objects in your video project.
Working on editing large projects often forces the editor to utilize numerous computer stations. The basic way to work on a project across various computers is through distributed rendering, which After Affects allows though the use of a plug-in. Learn what you need to use this technique and how to set up your project.
Once you have completed your work, it is time to export the project to your main editing program and finish the project. After Effects offers a solid exporting tool to move your project in its completed format to other software to finish the video. Learn how to export your finished, edited video using After Effects without losing quality.
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Using After Effects can seem like a daunting task - there is so much to learn and it seems like only computer masterminds will conquer the program. However, with the tutorials on this page, any editor will find their footing to help get them started learning this important editing software.