How many times have you walked out of a theater after watching the latest sci-fi blockbuster or even the Intro of the movie title and wondered to yourself – “How the hell did they do that!” ?
If the answer to that question is, a lot of times, then you’ve come to the right place. Here we will show you how visual effects are designed and made using software which is capable of running on your home workstation. This article will help you with all the software needed to make amateur level visual design on your own; and mind you, don’t let the word amateur bog you down, because a lot of great stuff has been developed using the very software we are going to discuss today.
The software we have been harping about is Adobe After Effects, the current version is Adobe After Effects CC, which stands for Creative Cloud. It is a video editing tool, which is powerful enough to create stunning visual designs on an average workstation also. A very important thing while getting into visual designing or image editing for that case, is that if you really want to speed and power up your work, you do need to have a sufficient amount of RAM and a proper GPU installed in your PC. While this condition is required, it is not requisite; you can create amazing videos on your mid-range laptop too!
What is After Effects and where to get it?
You’ve already been told what is Adobe After Effects. The next question is, obviously, where to get hold of it? It is a paid software; you can use it free of cost for 30 days in a time bounded trial period, and get to know it much better. Then you can decide whether you really want to give it a long shot or not. You can also download the Adobe CC, which is a bundle of designing software.
I’ve already downloaded it. Now what?
Easy, tiger! You are right on track creating your first After Effect video. The interface may look similar to some, but can be completely new for some absolute beginners. No need to worry, we got it covered. We suggest going ahead and playing around with the interface, even though you know nothing about it. The key here is to getting to know the interface before you finally make some countable steps in After Effects. This has a lot of advantages, one being that you increase your familiarity with the software. The second one being that a lot of changes have been made over the years to the basic UI and interface of the software, so if you’re following some old – but gold- tutorials, let it not draw you back.
Played around the interface for a while, and actually made some worthwhile improvement in my knowledge. Now what?
We’ve compiled –from the internet- few of the best resources that you need to get you started. Like it is when you’re learning any new software, be it Photoshop or Blender or Unity3D, you need to see and make things exactly as they are being made by experts in a video, or a text based tutorial.
Sites to learn Adobe AfterEffects:
1.) Videocopilot: Set up as hobby site by Andrew Kramer, this site is considered to be the best in terms of plugins, tutorials of all the sites that are out there. Andrew Kramer himself teaches you, in a lot of free tutorials, how to do many of the blockbuster effects, you see in your summer action film. Also recommended are the host of plugins and downloadable resources they have in their download section. Recommended: Element3D (to incorporate 3D models and objects in your compositions), and Action Essentials 1&2 (for various action effects like stock explosions and debris).
2.) VfxBro: Vfxbros is a part of a larger network of tutorial based website/vlog CGbros, but at vfxbros, you get to know the nitty-gritty of video compositing and effects production. It contains a host of resources for you to use: indie films to seek inspiration, plugins to use it in your videos, and tutorials to make sure you use them well.
3.) AdobeTV & AETuts: AETuts don’t have video tutorials usually, but that’s okay given that their text and image based tutorials are so strong. AdobeTV features a host of long, comprehensive video tutorials of various Adobe softwares. Both are highly recommended; AETuts for their trusted quality of tutorials and AdobeTV for gaining an expertise.
4.) FilmRiot: This is an video podcast hosted by Ryan Connolly which gives guidance to aspiring film makers and discusses the various effects used in movies, and how to incorporate them in your clip without costing much money.
A word to the reader, that these are not the only tutorial websites out there, but they can be definitely considered the cream of the crop. We also recommend doing searches of various tutorials on youtube, because youtube houses some of the best tutorials in intro making, video compositing, raycasting and the like. Hope you enjoyed this comprehensive article about getting started in After Effects, let me know if you have any clarifications, we’re ready to help you out 🙂