LEARN AFTER EFFECTS IN 20 MINUTES! – Tutorial for beginners
(suspenseful music) (electrical buzzing) (bang) (bang) (peaceful music) – Hey, what’s up, guys? This is Kris Truini for Kriscoart Productions, and welcome to this tutorial which will cover the basics of After Effects. I know it’s not the most exciting tutorial that you’ve ever seen, but in order to get to the fun stuff, we need to get the basics out of the way. Now, I know that this interface looks pretty intimidating, but once you get the basic mechanism of it and you know where everything is, everything else builds upon that basic knowledge. In other words, this tutorial will try to include all the basic needs to get you started into one video. All right, enough talking about the tutorial. Let’s actually jump into it. So the first thing that we see in this interface is that it’s divided into panels.
You have your Project panel over here, which also shares the Effects Controls panel. The Project panel is where all your media, which can be footage, audio, images, anything like that will be stored here. Anything that you use will be imported in the Project panel. Right next to it, there’s a Composition panel. This is pretty much your monitor. This is where everything that you do in your timeline will appear. Before we start exploring the rest of these panels, let’s actually import some footage so that we can get a better understanding of what everything does with an actual example.
So to import your footage, you can either double click into this Project panel area, and this will open up this Import File window, or you can import files through File, Import, File, or Multiple Files. So you see they’ll pretty much give you the same thing. Or, if you have a folder open already with the footage that you need, you can simply just drag it over onto this box or into the Project panel area. Okay, so we now have some footage imported, and you can see that there is some basic information here. It gives you the resolution, the frame rate, the amount of colors, and the type of compression that this video has. So, moving on from here, what you wanna do is create a new composition. There are a couple of ways of doing this. You can either drag the footage onto this little icon here, which will create a composition based on the settings of the footage. So it’ll have the same frame rate, the same resolution. Now, another way to do this is to go under Composition, New Composition.
You can notice that the shortcut for that is Command + N. For PC users, I’m pretty sure it’s Control + N. Okay, so now that we have a composition created, let’s look at other ways to import files onto your timeline. So what I have here is a simple picture that I’m gonna import. So what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna create for this example a small logo overlay in the lower third of this video. So there are two different ways to bring this image into our timeline and see it in our Composition panel.
One way is to actually select it and drag it over the composition panel. And you can see that this little box appears, and what that is is pretty much the size of the image. So we can see that up here it’s 900 by 900, and that’s actually what’s showing into our Composition panel. And you can pretty much drag it anywhere you would like, and as soon as you let go, it’ll place it in that position. Now, the other way is a little bit different, because instead of working on where you wanna place it, it works on when you wanna place it.
So you can see that this black line forms soon as we drag it over to the Timeline panel, and that is because you’re telling it first if it should be on top of the clip or under the clip. If you place it under the clip, you’re not gonna see it because our footage is actually covering it up. But if we bring it up by selecting it, bringing it on top of the clip, you can actually see that it appears over our footage. Now, another important thing of this technique is that, let’s say I’m dragging it over, you not only get to choose in what order it is placed, but you also get to choose when in time it is placed.
So once again, if you drag it over the Composition panel, you’re choosing where your item is placed, but if you drag it over the Timeline panel, you choose when it is placed. Now, if you notice, whenever you drag an element onto the Timeline panel, this secondary timeline indicator knob appears, and that’s pretty much telling you where the beginning of that layer will be placed in time. Okay, so again, it’s very basic stuff, but we’re actually getting somewhere. We’re starting to get more comfortable with After Effects. However, if you have a short attention span like me, I think it’s probably time for a break. So here’s some slow motion stock footage for your enjoyment mixed in with some dubstep. Enjoy. (dubstep music) All right. I feel much better. So, let’s get back to work. So once again, what we were trying to do in this example is to create a lower thirds looking logo overlay. Instead of having the logo appear over here, I’m just gonna drag it back to the beginning so that we immediately see it.
And the next thing we gotta do is pretty much scale it down and position it down in the bottom. So there’s a couple ways to do this, like most things in After Effects. One is to shrink it or resize it or stretch it with these little points on the edges of the picture. Or you can click one of those points and hold Shift, and that will uniformly scale the element.
Another way to scale layers is to select them and hit S on your keyboard. That will bring up the scale property of that layer. So over here, you can see that we can click and just drag it in and out. Or, if you want, you can select it and type in the value that you would like. All right, so let’s scale it down to what we want, so I’d say that’s pretty good. And we wanna position it down here. So all you gotta do is just click the layer and drag it over. Now let’s say you have many layers and elements in your composition and you can’t really click them. Well, just how we brought up the scale over here, you can select it and hit P, and that will bring up the position of the layer. And then you have the X and Y coordinates and you can drag and position the layer where you want it to be. Now, while we’re here, let me just mention a few other things. You now know that with hitting S, you bring up scale, hitting P, you bring up position.
Well, here’s a couple other ones. If you hit R, it brings up rotation, and you can actually rotate your layers. If you hit T, it’ll bring up the opacity. And opacity is pretty much how transparent your layer is. So if you bring that down, you can see that we start seeing more of what’s behind it. Another cool keyboard shortcut is instead of seeing them individually, if you hold Shift, you can actually bring more than one up. Okay, so before we move on to animating some of these properties, let’s actually see a couple other keyboard shortcuts that can help you import things quicker and work with your timeline a little bit faster. So let’s say you wanna import something down in the middle of your composition. There’s actually a keyboard shortcut for that. You select a layer that you wanna import, and you hit Command, or PC, Control, and the question mark key on your keyboard.
So if you hit that, you’ll see that it will import the layer in the middle of your composition above everything else. So that’s a quick little trick to import files into your timeline. Speaking of which, let’s actually go a little bit more in depth with navigating in the timeline. Now, you see that we have this current timeline indicator, and this is pretty much what you use to scroll through your footage.
And you can see that if we click anywhere in this top part, the timeline indicator will jump to where your mouse is over in that point in time. So a few keyboard shortcuts. If you wanna go to the very beginning, instead of just dragging it to the beginning, you can hit the Home key on your keyboard, and you can go to the end of your timeline with the End key, not N, End key, E-N-D. You can also navigate frame by frame by hitting Page Up and Page Down, or you can actually jump 10 frames at a time by holding Shift while you’re holding either Page Up or Page Down.
Just to wrap up the basics of the timeline, let’s also look at this area right here. You can notice that these icons over here look like eyes, and that’s because if you click on ’em, it actually shuts that layer off, so it makes it not visible. And you can turn it back on whenever you want. This is a pretty useful feature when you’re working with multiple stuff or if you’re trying something out, you don’t really wanna delete it, you can just shut it off momentarily and then bring it back. Another thing that you can do is also solo a layer. So let’s say I wanna focus on this and really work on it or color correct it or do whatever I want, I can really focus on this single element by soloing it.
You can also solo multiple elements. Obviously, we’re gonna go back to what we had because these are the only two layers in our timeline, so by soloing both of ’em, it’s pretty much like not soloing anything. But again, going back to organization being key in After Effects, this is actually a really helpful feature. One last thing that I wanna point out, you saw that we can jump forward into time by clicking on the seconds bar over here. Another way to do this to be actually more specific, you can click this time code, these time code numbers over here, by the way, these represent frame, seconds, minutes, and hours, so you can actually click on this, and you can jump forward to whatever specific time you would like. All right, so that’s pretty much all we’re gonna cover as far as the timeline in this tutorial. I think we’re ready to move on to animation, which sounds like a big chapter in this tutorial, but it’s really, really simple. It’s actually gonna blow your mind how simple animating things are in After Effects.
There are three simple steps that can be applied to pretty much anything that you wanna animate in After Effects. Whether it’s the position, scale, or rotation of the layer or any effect properties attached to the layer, it’s really, really simple. So as an example, we’re just gonna create a simple position animation for this layer, just going from this part of the screen to this part of the screen, something really simple, and I’m just gonna apply those three steps. So I’m gonna hit P on my keyboard, and that will bring up my position. And you notice that there’s a little stopwatch looking icon by the position. If we select that, it’s gonna create this golden diamond. This is called a keyframe in After Effects, and it’s pretty much saying that it memorized the position data of this layer at this point in time. Now, if move down in time, let’s say, I don’t know, eight seconds, we can edit this value to bring it all the way to the left, and by the way, to speed things up, you can hold Shift, and that’ll affect the value change much more rapidly.
So we can just drop it over here. And that’s it. You now have an animation. If we scroll through it, we can see that the layer is moving from right to left. And again, all we had to do was three simple steps. You create your beginning keyframe with the beginning value that you want, you move forward in time, and then you just simply make the changes that you like, and it will record it on the keyframe automatically. Now, you can notice that this one is gray and this one is golden, and the reason why is because we have this keyframe selected and not this one. So if I click on this, you can see that now this is golden because we have selected it, and this turned gray. Now, this is useful because you can actually drag these keyframes out in time, and you can see that it’s actually affecting our animation.
What that does is pretty much it’s stretching the amount of time that it takes for this layer to get from this position to this ending position. So all we’re doing is just stretching out the animation. You can also make the animation quicker or happen at a later point in time in the timeline. You can also select both keyframes by clicking and dragging and making a selection, and you can move both keyframes down the road or earlier on, so it gives you a lot of control. And again, we just did three simple steps to create this animation. And you can also switch their positions, so now it’s going from right to left. So you can play around with this, and you’re gonna soon start to realize that everything in After Effects, or almost everything, has a stopwatch to it. So you can literally use that technique to animate pretty much anything in After Effects. And later on when we get into the effects, you’re gonna notice that if I, let’s say, drop in a random effect onto this layer, you’re gonna see that those same stopwatches appear on some of these effect properties, meaning that you can animate these using the same simple principles that we just saw here.
So, sweet. We just learned how to animate in less than three minutes. Told you it was gonna be mind blowing. So let’s move on to a little bit more exciting stuff, which is the effects. You can see that I actually already dropped just a random effect in, so let me just select that and delete that for now so we can start over and take a look at how to do this. To apply an effect, again, there’s a couple of ways to do that. You can go up here in the Effects tab, and you see that you have all of these categories of effects. Personally, I pretty much never use this, ’cause there’s a much easier way to find the effect that you’re looking for. If you go over here in this tab, in the Effects and Preset tab, I know we didn’t talk much about this side of After Effects, but we’re about to get into it right now, you can see that there’s a search bar up here.
So I can type in that same effect. I don’t even need to complete the name on the effect. It’s already showing you all the effects that contain the words that you’re typing in. Personally, I just find this easier because you don’t have to memorize which category the effect is in. You can just type it in the search bar. And this goes for any kind of effect. So let’s just add a quick blur, so again, I can type in, “Blur,” and you see that any effect that contains the word blur in it shows up. So I’m just gonna apply a simple box blur, and what I’m doing right now is I’m selecting it and dragging it on top. You can see that over here I’m over my clip, and when I move my mouse over the image, it actually selects the image. So this is a way of dropping the effects into your Composition panel, but to be more precise, you can actually go in your Timeline panel and drop it onto the layer that you want.
So nothing has changed yet, and that’s because our blur radius is set to zero. This is just a specific example. I’m not gonna go too much into each single effect, because there’s over 200 of ’em already built into After Effects. And notice we have those stopwatches over here so we can animate all of these properties. And I can just push this property up, and now you see that we have blurred our layer. Let me go to full resolution real quick so you can see a little bit better. By the way, this is just a quick little thing to speed up your render time. I recommend you working at half or a third of the resolution so that you can work quicker, and then when you’re ready to render, just bring it back to the full resolution.
That’s just a side thing. But anyways, you see that we now have effected our layer with this blur effect. If we wanna shut off this effect momentarily, just like how we would shut off this layer, we can actually see that there is this little FX icon by the name of the effect. If we hit that, it’ll shut off the effect. And if we have more than one effect, so let’s say I wanna add a little glow effect to this layer, I can drag it in the Composition panel on the layer, and the Timeline panel on they layer, or I can even drag it under the previous effect or over the previous effect in the Effects Controls panel. So now you see that there’s a little bit of glow going on. You can see the before and after by clicking.
I’m not gonna change any of these properties because it’s not about the individual effects. It’s just how to apply them to layers. So now you have two effects applied on that layer. So to see the before and after without any effect, instead of hitting each effect icon to disable them, you can actually hit this similar icon in the Timeline panel, and that will automatically shut off both of these effects or any of the effects that you have applied to that layer.
All right, so to wrap things up as far as the effects, we now know that we can look up effects under certain categories on the Effects tab, or just simply type ’em in in the Effects and Presets tab over here. And again, to see all the categories back again, you can just exit out what you searched and they will all automatically come back up. Before we move on, let me just show you another way to apply an effect. If we select a layer and we look up the effect that we want, you can simply, with the layer selected, double click it, and it will apply that effect to the layer you’ve selected. All right, so my time to torture you guys is almost up. Let me just include a couple other things, such as creating text layers and solids and masks. Let me try to do that in less than two minutes so I don’t have to hold you up. A simple way to create text is hitting this text icon over here and clicking your composition, and that creates a text layer, and you can type in anything that you would like.
To change the color, you can double click it to select it, and you can change the color over here to whatever you would like. You can change the font here, the size, and you can just play around with these settings and see what they do, but this is just the basic idea on how to create a text layer. And if you wanna animate a text, just like with any layer, you can bring up the position, the scale, the rotation, and you can keyframe those values to create animations that you like. Now, next up is creating a solid. A solid is pretty much a layer of color. So let me just import a solid by right clicking into the Timeline panel over here, going under New.
You can see that I can generate text this way, as well. But I’m gonna click Solid. I can pick the color of my solid over here. I’m gonna pick a black solid. Hit OK. And you can change the width and height of the solid, or you can just simply say Make Comp Size. And hit OK. So now as you can see, we have a completely black solid. What I’m gonna do here is apply a circular mask to create a vignette effect. So I’m gonna go over here to this shape. Right now it’s a rectangle, but we want a circle, so I’m just gonna select that. And you can just drag it out this way, and that creates a mask, or if you want a precise shape, you can hold Shift and that’ll create a perfect circle.
Or just to make a quick vignette, you can just double click the shape in order to just generate this type of shape with the points touching the end of the composition. So right now, the problem is that if we wanna create a vignette, the black needs to be on the outside and not on the inside. So a simple way to do this is, if you go under this mask property, you see that it’s set to Add. If you click that, there’s a list that appears, and you can play around with these to see what they do, but right now, all we need is Subtract. And now you see that we have blackness on the outside of the shape and not on the inside. This doesn’t really look like a vignette. If we de-select it, we just see that it’s pretty much just a hole in a black solid.
So to create a vignette effect, I will select the layer and hit F on my keyboard. That will bring up the Mask Feather property. And I can punch that up, and you can see that it’s kinda blurring out the edges. It’s feathering them. And you can push this as crazy as you want. You can also animate it like anything else. If you wanna apply a custom mask instead of having to do a shape, as is used in some cases to rotoscope, you can right next to it select the pen tool, and now you can just pretty much create any shape that you want.
All right, so let’s get rid of that. Simply select the mask and hit Delete, and that’ll just delete that. So another cool thing that we can do is animate the shape of this mask, just like with any mask shape and with the pen tool. So what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna select a layer where the mask is applied, hit M, M on the keyboard, so M twice. And that’ll bring up all the properties for that mask. You can see that we have a property name, Mask Path.
If you stopwatch that and move forward in time, you can actually change the shape. Notice we have a keyframe now. You can change the shape of the mask to whatever you would like, and now you have another keyframe generated here. So from here all the way to here, the mask, you can see it actually shrinks. All right, that’s it. We’re done. I’m glad you could make it all the way to the end. I’m glad you survived. I know there’s a lot of stuff that got jammed into your head right now, but hopefully this will give you a pretty good start into using After Effects. And again, the key here is to really experiment, play around with all these effects, get familiar with the interface, watch more tutorials, and just keep working your way up to more advanced tutorials. I know I’m going a little bit over time, but I’m gonna ramble a little bit more and give you some useful links of other tutorials that have helped me a lot in the beginning and that hopefully will help you as well.
This is the first website that I really recommend you look at is Video Copilot. You may have heard of it by now. They have great products, great tutorials. They actually also have a basic training section. So you can see that there’s a breakdown of pretty much some of the things that we talked about, but it goes really in depth, so I really recommend you dig a little bit deeper into all of these videos. The second website is Adobe TV. It’s a great source overall, and it has tons of great tutorials. You can select the product that you wanna learn. Also, if you have time, check out my SoundCloud. I just made this. I mostly make dubstep. (dubstep music) You heard some of it during this tutorial. But yeah, if you have time, really would appreciate that. And let me just give a quick shoutout to all the people that commented on my last tutorial as promised.
Again, really, feedback and comments and subscribing and all of that really helps out a lot. I know people say that a lot, but it’s because it really does. I’m really focusing a lot on YouTube and on building a community and really trying to help you guys out, so if you could subscribe and like and share it, that would really be appreciated. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and hopefully it has given you a better understanding of After Effects so you can actually start playing around with it a little bit. Once again, my name is Kris Truini for Kriscoart Productions. Thank you so much for watching, and I’ll see you next time. (dubstep music) .
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