Learning Adobe After Effects can be an overwhelming concept for a budding motion designer. The software is packed full of awesome tools and effects that can make your video projects look awesome, but knowing where to start can be tricky. With everything from animation to 3D integration available in one piece of software, there is an unlimited amount of information that can be learned about After Effects. Even the most experienced motion designers are still learning new tricks and tips to improve their video content, and you could spend a lifetime trying to master every detail of the video design software.
If you are new to After Effects, it is important to understand that you don’t need to know it all right away. The idea of learning After Effects as an amateur motion designer can be mind-boggling simply because of the vast amount of information there is to learn. If you are trying to figure out where to start learning After Effects on your own, read on to find out our top bits of advice for new After Effects users.
GET STUCK IN
The easiest and most effective way to learn After Effects it to jump in and start doing it. Whilst you could read endless articles and books on the subject, you won’t be learning the practical skills of using the software which is how you really start to learn the ins and outs of the settings and tools available to you. You will only truly learn motion graphic design when you get stuck in and start experimenting on your own. This way it is easy to practically learn what works and what doesn’t. You can get started by watching After Effects Tutorials which will teach you how to make awesome title sequences, gripping explosions or spooky video effects. These tutorials are a fun and practical way to learn the ropes and offer a gateway into the fundamentals of After Effects.
EXPLORE EFFECTS AND PRESETS
Adobe After Effects comes with a handy Effects and Presets panel which is packed full of excellent presets for backgrounds, animations and much more. Whilst most experienced motion designers might stay well away from these presets, as a beginner they are super useful for learning what you can do with After Effects. Spend time playing around with each of these presets and effects, look at the keyframes and adjust the preset settings to see what happens. Exploring these presets is a great way to learn what effects and animations you can create in After Effects and how.
Keyframes are at the heart of After Effects, and almost any editing or animations you want to do can be manually created using them. Writing scripts and expressions will save you a lot of time when you get into editing your own videos but investing time in learning these methods right away is arduous. All of these things that can be created using scripts and expressions can also be created manually by keyframing. When you first start out learning After Effects, keyframing will be time consuming and take longer than other methods, but you will be learning an easier and more manageable approach to animating that will come in useful the more you learn. After you have mastered keyframing, you can then go onto to learn scripts and expressions later.
COPY MOTION GRAPHICS
Usually copying other designers work is a bad idea, especially for paid projects, however it is a great place to begin learning After Effects. Finding awesome motion graphics that inspire you is an excellent learning tool. Try copying those motion graphics and recreating them yourself. Once you have got the basics of After Effects mastered, you should be in a good place to start expanding your skills by experimenting and trying out new things, and copying work you like is a good place to start doing this. Analyse a video you like frame by frame and make it your mission to recreate it in After Effects. This isn’t about trying to work out how the original artist created it, but instead about how you are going to recreate it. Copying existing motion graphics is good for beginners as it removes the question of what you should try and create, and lets you concentrate on how you are going to create it.
USE ONLINE RESOURCES
The internet is packed full of After Effects tutorials, presets and articles that are available to you at the click of a button. Spend time exploring online to find various tutorials and articles on how to achieve what you want from After Effects. Even if you have no existing After Effects knowledge, you can open Google and search for how to create a new layer, or how to key frame, and get an instant answer. Using the internet or trouble shooting is also an excellent learning tool, if you are experiencing an issue or stuck on how to achieve your desired effect, Google it and see what you can find. The chances are, someone else has experienced the same issue and posted a fix online.