In this walkthrough, we've explained the basic features of Adobe After Effects, a robust visual editor that allows you to design special effects, animations, and detailed titles.
What is Adobe After Effects Used For?
Together with Premiere, Photoshop, and Illustrator, After Effects rounds out the Adobe software suite with its video compositing features. Almost anything is possible with this program, as long as you have the imagination and technical knowledge to realize it. Using a similar layer-based system as Photoshop, you can edit 2D layers for a complex 3D project, or stay entirely in the 2D realm.
Here are just a handful of the features in After Effects:
- Color Correction: With tools like Lumetri Color grading, you can grade footage while it's still on the video timeline. This allows you to tweak the contrast, light, and coloration of video clips using various sliders. Meanwhile, the Auto Color (and Auto Contrast) effect analyzes a clip and then chooses the optimal color mixture and contrast, based on the clip's shadows and highlights. There are dozens of color effects built into the software.
- Simulation Effects: If you're making a movie on a budget, these pre-made special effects can be dragged and dropped right into your timeline. Choose from 18 different styles that simulate natural phenomena, such as Snowfall, Foam, and Hair. Once you've dropped a Simulation effect into a sequence, you can customize the intensity, coloration, effect length, and much more.
- Title Design: After Effects takes text-based editing even further than Photoshop, with the ability to animate titles like complex choreography. You can also download plugins that add more functionality to your titles, like Element 3D, which allows you to transform 2D text into extruded 3D shapes.
- Animations: Adding keyframes to an After Effects layer allows you to construct elaborate animations in 2D or 3D. After Effects also comes with a program called Character Animator, which brings your characters to life via webcam, keyboard/mouse, or a touchscreen. This can speed up the animation process drastically, and it's a delightful way to inject your own personality into the characters.
- Video Compositing: When you're ready to merge all of your layers and effects into a finished product, you can use After Effects' compositing to give your video a truly professional look. This allows you to layer 2D or 3D animations onto a live action clip, and render complex effects so that blend seamlessly into your movie.