You may not know what After Effects is by name, but there’s no doubt you’ve seen its work. Anywhere you look on TV or in movies, there is motion graphics and visual effects work. Oftentimes it’s too subtle to notice, but a good majority of that work is completed on After Effects, which is why it’s often considered the industry standard.
One of the most complex pieces of the video editing equation is using motion graphics, visual effects, and transitions. Movies have long been made with intense visual effects that help enhance the feeling of the movie, and allow us to suspend our disbelief and immerse ourselves in the universes of the movie we watch. Take Avatar, for instance—a movie based so heavily around its visual effects that that the movie wouldn’t be anything without it. Now, the VFX designers for Avatar probably used something a little more hefty for editing, but for our purposes and for most of the industry’s purposes, After Effects works very well. Let’s delve right in.
If you’re familiar with Adobe Suite products, specifically Premiere, the interface is very similar. After Effects should feel familiar to seasoned Premiere users, with the addition of all the fun, meticulous motion graphics stuff like key-frames and color scopes. One of the nice things about this being an Adobe product is that there is full integration with other products in the suite. You can easily link Photoshop and Illustrator files for a quick and seamless workflow. Another plus to being an Adobe product is that the software gets regular updates, and the developers are constantly working towards improving the program and its functionality.
With the ability to create templates, your hard work is never lost, and it makes recreating looks and effects a breeze. There are also handy tools for stabilization, which come in very handy when working with VFX-based shots. Recent updates to the software have also introduced a bundled version of the 3D modeling software Maxon Cinema 4D Lite, the ability to render projects in the background using Adobe Media Encoder, and tools like Refine Edge, Warp Stabilizer, and Pixel Motion Blur. All of this put together provides a comprehensive package that is perfect for anyone working in video production.
However, a program this robust definitely comes with a steep learning curve if you intend to make full use of all of its features. It also requires a decent amount of horsepower from your computer, but assuming that you’re already working in video production, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue. And, it works on both Mac and PC’s, so there’s no need to buy an extra operating system to use this software. Overall, the software is a great option for motion graphics and VFX editing on your next video production.