After Effects is now 30 years old, but it still has plenty of gas left in the tank. If you want to learn, there is no better time than now.
I’ll never forget the first time I opened After Effects. I was in a high school 3D Animation class, and I was using AE to take a jpeg sequence and put my scene together (little did I know that would be the first composite of many in my career). At the time, the software looked very different, but was still capable of so much for the time.
While After Effects has changed drastically over the years, there is one fact that has always been true. It’s still the best tool for 2D motion design, and there isn’t anything currently out there that is even close. If you want to be a 2D motion designer, you’re going to need to know After Effects.
Luckily, we’ve made it our mission to give you the knowledge that you need to be an After Effects master. Even better, we’ve made a whole lot of that knowledge completely free and available to watch anytime.
So, to celebrate 30 years of AE, consider diving into our playlist “30 Days Of AE” and learn from the ground up, or sharpen those skills you already have.
30 Days Of After Effects
In my opinion, the best way to learn any piece of software is to actually dive in and start to create specific looks or effects from things that you like, rather than just basic button pushing walkthroughs. We created this playlist to run right through each of the core concepts needed to be an After Effects wizard, while also helping you to create things that actually look cool. Essentially, we want you to know how to make things you’ll actually feel proud of as you learn.
The 30 Days of After Effects YouTube playlist should get you from knowing nothing about AE to having a well-rounded knowledge in a short amount of time. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate AE’s 30th birthday.
- Write-On Effect in Ae
- Using Polar Coordinates
- Build a Gear Rig with Expressions
- Create a 3D Scene from a Photo
- MIDI Controlled Animation (Part 1)
- MIDI Controlled Animation (Part 2)
- Quickly Create 3D in After Effects
- The Predki Animation Trick
- Walk Cycles in After Effects
- 8-Bit Color Cycling
- Color Tips in After Effects
- The Power of Precomps in Ae
- Kinetic Typography in Ae (Part 1)
- Kinetic Typography in Ae (Part 2)
- Kinetic Typography in Ae (Part 3)
- Roll and Rig a Cube in After Effects
- Keying and Tracking in Ae (Part 1)
- Keying and Tracking in Ae (Part 2)
- Text Animators in After Effects
- How to Create an Anime Explosion
- Creating Multi-Screen Projects
- How to Create a Toon-Shaded Look in Ae
- Vine Grow Effect Using Particular
- Create a Cyriak Hand-Eyes
- Create a Mograph Style Effect in Ae
- Compositing 3D Assets in After Effects
- Stop Motion Animation in Ae
More Great After Effects Tutorials
Don’t worry, the fun doesn’t stop there. We’ve been making AE tutorials on an almost weekly basis since School of Motion opened it’s doors. Here are a few more standout tutorials you can watch right now for free.
Create Complex Waves with Shape Layers and Easing
This video is all about mastering the shape layer as well as different types of easing for different effects. These two core concepts will have you well on your way to creating the types of timeless looks you see all the time and think “Gee, I wonder how they made that?”. This video covers one of the main things I love most about After Effects.
Using Text Animators in After Effects
Another one of the core concepts that we really want to make sure you are able to grasp (as it will unlock a whole world of possibilities and types of animations) are text animators. Animators are the best way to create procedural and high-end looking animations for text (and shape layers as well).
How to Use the Loop Expression
One of the deeper and harder to grasp aspects of After Effects is expressions. Expressions really aren’t anything to be afraid of, and generally, you can get through most After Effects projects without ever needing them. However, if you can learn expressions over time, you’ll find that you have an extra dimension of efficiency and design unlocked. The above tutorial is a great way to dip your toes without getting too far in the weeds.
5 Quick Tips for After Effects Beginners
When it comes to teaching After Effects, there are few better for the job than Jake Bartlett. In the above tutorial, Jake introduces a few of the quality of life concepts for making AE a little less scary, as well as some nice little tips for things that you’ll find yourself doing in every project.
Learn Shape Layers and Ae Parenting
While you’ve already learned some stuff about shape layers up above, another powerful tool that will help unlock many possibilities will be parenting. Parenting helps you animate things so much faster, cleaner, and in a way that can be changed and customized in so many different ways. The above tutorial will get you started off just right.
Dive into real-time 3D with our Unreal Engine beginner's course by Jonathan Winbush. Master importing assets, world-building, animation, and cinematic sequences to create stunning 3D renders in no time! Perfect for motion designers ready to level up.Explore this Course ➔
Unlock the secrets of character design in this dynamic course! Explore shape language, anatomy rules, and motifs to craft animation-ready characters. Gain drawing tips, hacks, and Procreate mastery (or any drawing app). Ideal for artists seeking to elevate their craft.Explore this Course ➔
Elevate your freelance motion design career with our guide to client success. Master a repeatable method for finding, contacting, and landing clients. Learn to identify prospects, nurture leads, and develop a thriving freelance philosophy amidst chaos.Explore this Course ➔
Rev up your editing skills with After Effects! Learn to use it for everyday needs and craft dynamic templates (Mogrts) for smarter teamwork. You'll master creating animated graphics, removing unwanted elements, tracking graphics, and making customizable templates.Explore this Course ➔
Stand out with Demo Reel Dash! Learn to spotlight your best work and market your unique brand of magic. By the end, you'll have a brand new demo reel and a custom campaign to showcase yourself to an audience aligned with your career goals.Explore this Course ➔
Illuminate your 3D skills with Lights, Camera, Render! Dive deep into advanced Cinema 4D techniques with David Ariew. Master core cinematography skills, gain valuable assets, and learn tools and best practices to create stunning work that wows clients.Explore this Course ➔
Master After Effects at your own pace with Jake Bartlett's beginner course. Perfect for video editors, you'll learn to create stylish animated graphics, remove unwanted elements, and track graphics into shots. By the end, you'll be equipped for everyday AE needs and more.Explore this Course ➔
Revolutionize your Premiere workflow with customizable AE templates! Master creating dynamic Motion Graphics Templates (Mogrts) in After Effects to speed up your team's work. By the end, you'll craft easily-customizable templates for seamless use in Premiere Pro.Explore this Course ➔
Want To Go Pro? We Have Everything You Need.
If you’re feeling like you’d like to go deeper down the rabbit hole, you might want to consider enrolling in one of our courses. Perhaps After Effects Kickstart is where you want to go, especially if you haven’t really used After Effects much before. We’ve specialized in getting people from 0% to 110% as After Effects users from the jump, and there is no better place to learn in just 8 weeks.
Animation Bootcamp is our course aimed at teaching you the core principals of animation, not just how to use After Effects. To be great at motion design, you need to understand more than just what each function of the software does, you need to know how to design and create the stuff that makes motion design look good. This course is the ultimate way to get that core and extended knowledge.
Then, for the more experience After Effects users out there, we have Advanced Motion Methods, a class aimed at taking your AE knowledge into the stratosphere. This is the best way to learn those animation concepts that you see on tv but never know how to achieve yourself. This is the course where we give you the secret sauce from the pros, that you didn’t even know existed.