Class Introduction


Intro to After Effects for Designers


Lesson Info

Class Introduction

So what we're gonna do do today, is we're going to take a look at After Effects, and we're gonna look at this from a designer's perspective. And so what I want to do, is first sort of tie this together with the other Adobe tools you might be using. So if you have a Creative Cloud account and are a designer, you're most likely using things like InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop. But After Effects is actually the fourth design tool in this entire group. And so, what's really key here, is that the way you work in InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator is exactly the way you would work inside of After Effects. Now, After Effects is an absolutely amazing animation tool, it's used in Hollywood films, it's a great video and animation application. But it has a lot of design capabilities as well, so I wanna focus on the things we can do from a design standpoint. So if you're familiar with Photoshop, you're probably using effects inside of Photoshop in the Layers panel, you have the ability to ...

apply effects to your artwork. You'll see the little effects icon showing up down here. Now the effects in Photoshop, work exactly the same way as the effects inside of After Effects. The only difference is that After Effects is all about effects. Everything we do in there is an effect in some way, either it's an animation key frame, drop shadows, all kinds of stuff are inside of After Effects. And the interface is going to look exactly the same. So one thing that might be a little different, is that when we're inside of After Effects, things are named a little bit differently. However, they're named differently in the other tools as well. So InDesign for example, InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop all use this idea of a layers panel. In After Effects, that's gonna be the timeline panel. But it's gonna be structured exactly the same way. InDesign has pages, Illustrator has art boards, Photoshop has a canvas, After Effects has a composition, but it's all the same idea. Links in InDesign and Illustrator, a linked file from a SmartObject in Photoshop will be found in the project panel inside of After Effects. And symbols from Illustrator, SmartObjects from Photoshop would be something called a pre-comp, or a pre-composition. So actually you notice that the pre-comp is the same thing as a composition here. It's sort of like a SmartObject inside of After Effects. So with that, I think one of the best things to do is to just jump in and begin our project. So the course includes a series of project files. There are three folders, there's an Assets folder, a Design folder, and a Final Project folder. So if we don't get to everything in the Final Project, the After Effects file is here, so you can download that and just take a look at everything that we've put together. I'm gonna spend this time walking you through the different ways that you work inside of After Effects to create text, apply effects, create animations, import video, apply effects to video, and just give you sort of a sense of what we're going to be putting together. So let's take a look at the Final Project. I thought what would be interesting to do would be to create a video that we can use in a social media post, so I'll just hit play on this. So what we're gonna do is have a very simple video that would play, again, inside of a media stream, whether it's inside of Instagram or maybe it's part of a post from Twitter or Facebook, things that a graphic designer would be asked to do. Put branding elements in place, use some video, use some motion and just drive some interest. If I replay this, we'll have a few things that we'll do like mask the video based on this sort of interesting chair shape here, and just do things again, that sort of designers would sort of be tasked to do. To achieve this, in the Assets folder, which is folder one, we have an Illustrator file of the logo, this is a fictitious logo that we made up so you can certainly use this or play with it or break it apart. There's also a pool MPEG-4. So you'll notice this is much less saturated, we're actually gonna boost the saturation and we're going to add all this sort of highlights and glinting down at the bottom in the water in After Effects. And this was just a very simple shot with a tripod and an iPhone. Just set up by the pool, run about 10 or 15 seconds of video, so something that all of us can do with our phones. So again, no Hollywood-level cameras or anything. And in another part of the work flow, when you're putting the composition together to sell to your client you might work inside of a tool like Photoshop to come up with the original composition. So what we're gonna do is we're gonna start from Photoshop, bring this into After Effects and let After Effects parse through all the layers in Photoshop, and sort of give us a jumpstart into that project. 'Cause After Effects supports the same file format that Photoshop supports.

Class Description

Get to know the 4th member of the core design applications in Adobe’s Creative Cloud. Chances are you know Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. But did you know After Effects supports just as many file formats, provides amazing design and compositing features, and can be used in any print, web, animation, video or photo compositing project?

What you’ll learn:

  • The After Effects interface
  • Starting a new project from scratch
  • How After Effects is similar to Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign
  • How the Timeline Panel is similar to Layers
  • How the Project Panel is similar to Links
  • How the Composition Panel is similar to artboards, or pages
  • How to import photos, videos, and artwork into your project
  • Applying effects (it’s all about effects!)
  • Introduction to animation in the timeline panel

Software Used: Adobe After Effects CC 2017 (14.2)


Latoya Burris

I started out playing with small text animations for my job using Photoshop. After taking this course, I feel much more comfortable and ready to execute my ideas using the Adobe After Effects tool. I highly recommend this course for designers at any level who don't know how to use After Effects. Thank you Chris Converse and CreativeLive for giving me an extra pep in my design skills.

John Goldie

The first couple of minute of class where Chris went through and did a 1:1 comparison of Photoshop/Illustrator/Indesign --> After Effects had me hooked. That was the one thing that I wasn't getting that was holding me back. The heavens opened, a light shone down, and my mind was opened :) Thanks. It just got more interesting from there!

Nina Braddock

After Effects can be such a tricky program if you never use it. I was very familiar with other Adobe programs, but every time I needed to use After Effects I had no idea what I was doing. I have watched many videos online on how to make things with After Effects, but those videos never taught me how to use the program itself. This class was so great, I now understand how to work with After Effects and it's no longer intimidating! Take this class if you are wanting to learn the basics of After Effects!