If you’re into creative design, you’ve probably heard of After Effects. You can use After Effects to support your creative work, whether you’re a video designer, illustrator, animator, or graphic designer. Here are some of the coolest things you can do with After Effects to boost your creative portfolio.
1. Green screen and compositing
Compositing in video design involves combining two or more video clips so that they appear as one scene. You may know this as using a green screen. While you can use green screen apps, you can do much more complex things with green screens or compositing in After Effects.
This technique is used in professional film production, so being able to do it in After Effects is a great way to practice the skill and take your films to the next level. Whether your background is a still image or another film, scene compositing is a great way to save on film budgets or work under time constraints.
You can film your actor in a home studio with a green screen and easily film the background footage elsewhere without the actor. After Effects lets you play around with scene placement and color matching to keep your compositing private.
2. Kinetic Typography
Kinetic typography is animated text. It can be as simple as a caption moving across the screen, but it can also be more complex and exciting. A great way to use kinetic typography is to create a text-only music video.
You can sync visuals to audio beats in After Effects, which means specific words appear, animate, or scale to the beat of each song’s lyrics. This is a creative way to visualize music.
Creating kinetic typography animation is great for new video animators. The result is a video that looks complex, but it’s an easy technique to learn. Because this technique uses keyframes to animate the text, it’s also a great way to learn basic After Effects tools.
3. 2D illustration and animation
You can create 2D animation with Illustrator and After Effects together, leveraging the illustration power of Illustrator with After Effects animation tools. You can also illustrate and animate directly in After Effects for simpler animations.
After Effects uses illustration tools similar to other Adobe programs, such as line and shape tools, type tools, and pen tools. After Effects’ illustration tools aren’t as appealing, so you can use the native tools to create simple 2D illustrations. You can then animate the illustrations without having to import them from Illustrator or Photoshop.
4. 3D animation
With the After Effects 3D camera, you can animate from the perspective of any camera angle. This allows you to add depth while working on any X, Y, or Z axis. There are many 3D design tools available elsewhere, but working in After Effects allows you to animate in 3D as you design.
You can design just as you would create a 2D animation, but if you change the camera type in After Effects, you’ll get 3D results. You can change angles and perspectives at any time during the design process, so you can add or remove 3D aspects at any time. After Effects 3D animation tools are useful for animators and graphic designers alike.
5. Motion Tracking
Motion tracking is useful for video creators for several reasons. Maybe you need to blur someone’s face in a video. Motion tracking allows the blur to cover the face even if the camera position changes or the subject moves.
Whether you’re using single point tracking, dual point tracking, corner point tracking, or tracking to a specific point in the frame, there are many things you, as a video maker, can do with motion tracking.
With motion tracking, you can easily add digital mockups to devices in your videos. Or you can add text to a wall as your subject walks past it. This helpful tool offers tracking, scaling and position adjustment.
6. Simulation Effects
If you have footage that was shot in sunlight but you needed rain during the scene, After Effects can help. After Effects offers simulation effects that you can use to create your final vision during post-production.
You can add simulations to your footage to simulate rain or even snow. There are options for bubbles, stars, hair and more. While the simulation effects found in After Effects come from third parties, they are provided directly by Adobe in the program. These are not plugins.
There are also more abstract simulation effects that you can add. With this tool you can change the lighting in intensity, color, position, depth and ambience. And you also have control over materials and their reflectance values. You can diffuse reflections for shading purposes, change reflection angles based on the viewer’s perspective, and sharpen reflections for more realistic results.
7. Access all kinds of plugins
In addition to the great tools that After Effects offers natively, you can also use plugins to expand your toolbox. Plugins are third-party tools that you can download and use in After Effects. There are several places where you can download them, including Adobe’s third-party plugins list or direct from the creators. They can be free or paid.
Plugins can offer a variety of tools, whether for visuals, audio enhancements, or adding shortcuts to an editing method. You can find and download plugins for just about anything.
8. Use keyframes
One of the most important tools in After Effects are keyframes. Keyframes let you apply transitions and effects to any animated element in After Effects and manipulate it however you want. They’re a simple but crucial aspect of animation design.
With the help of keyframes you can apply many effects, e.g. B. a change of scale, opacity and position. No matter what kind of video design you create in After Effects, you probably need to use keyframes. Prioritize learning about keyframes and how to use them if you plan to work in After Effects.
9. Create video templates
If you are a content creator and use a similar setup for most videos, it makes sense to create a video template. Creators also do this for graphic design to save time and stay consistent – check out how to create a Figma master template. You can do the same with animation or video design.
For example, if all your videos need an intro animation, a bottom third, and an outro, and your videos are usually the same length, you can create a video template with these already specified. Then all you have to do is add video or animation footage to meet the timeline needs. This is a great hack for both beginners and experienced video creators.
10. Animate any design element
If you ever see animated buttons or elements on websites, chances are they were designed in After Effects. While After Effects is a video animation tool, you don’t just use it to create videos.
You can animate almost anything – check out how to create a LottieFiles animation in After Effects. These can be used as design elements in many types of digital design, such as websites and UX/UI designs.
11. UX/UI mockup animation
Speaking of UX/UI designs, you can create beautiful, animated UX/UI mockups with After Effects. With an animated model, you can literally bounce elements off the page.
An animated model is a great way not only to show off the design itself, but also to further hone your skills. Also, a video mockup looks way more impressive than a simple diagram of your design, that’s for sure.
This is great for digital portfolios or to add to your website. Whether you’re a UX/UI designer, graphic designer, or animation designer, this is a great skill to add to your repertoire.
After Effects: The world of animation and design is at your feet
With this list of cool things to do with Adobe After Effects, there’s no need to question what the program can offer you. Of course, there is a learning curve for each of these tasks, but with a little patience and practice, you’ll soon be adding stunning scene compositions, animated UX/UI elements, and 3D animations to your projects.