How To Use After Effects Templates

30th November 2018

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Adobe After Effects is a video editor’s best friend; it is an incredibly powerful bit of software, and when used correctly can make your videos really stand out from the crowd. For beginners it can be very overwhelming knowing where to start, and the huge amount of features available to you can be off putting at first. As with anything, practice makes perfect, and the best way to get to grips with After Effects and how it all works is to get stuck in and start using it for yourself. After Effects templates are a great tool to create stunning animations with very little practice and can help you to learn how all the various functions and features work.



An After Effects template is a pre-made project file that is created using interchangeable elements, so they can be amended and manipulated as you please. Most After Effects templates are created by professional editors and animators and designed specifically for those with little After Effects knowledge. They can save a huge amount of time when you are just starting out on After Effects, or even if you are a seasoned editor with a lot of After Effects experience. Ready-to-go templates can be fully customised to suit your individual project, so you can change every element such as photos, fonts and logos. You can get templates for all sorts of things in After Effects, such as logo reveals, title sequences and animated effects.



Editing After Effects templates is very simple and straightforward, even for the real After Effects beginners. The majority of templates make it very obvious where to edit placeholder elements for your own content. Once the elements have been personalised, all of the animations in the template will be automatically applied to your video composition. Most After effects templates also come with their own detailed instructions to explain the editing process, making it super simple to do. Every template is slightly different, and will need to be edited in slightly different ways, but to get started with After Effects templates the process is fairly straightforward:



Once you have chosen an After Effects template for your project and downloaded the project files, you are ready to get started in After Effects. Open the template files in After Effects by double clicking the file with the extensions ‘AEP’. Then right click anywhere on the screen and choose Import to find any files you want to add to the template, such as images and logos.



Once the After Effects template is open and you have imported your required files, its time to take a look around the software and understand how it works. On the left-hand side of your Project Panel, you’ll see three different types of items which are, folders, compositions, and assets. Compositions are the containers that hold the various layers of video, images, audio, shapes, and text. Compositions each have their own separate timeline and can be set within each another. In this Project Panel, you will see that compositions are represented with multi-colour shaped icons. Assets are represented with icons similar to what you would see on your desktop and they will vary depending on the type of file. Folders are represented by a common folder icon, and they are there to help you organise all your files and timelines to stop the Project from getting too confusing.

Spend some time exploring the Project panel for your new template and locate the various items that you want to change. You can look through the folders to find the photos and videos that you want to replace with your own. To replace an asset, right click and choose ‘replace’. You can only replace assets with files, and compositions cannot be replaced. In most cases there will be one composition that is the Main composition for the template, and it will hold all the other compositions within it. You can use this main composition to edit the colours and design elements of the entire project.


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