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July 24, 2023

Best After Effects Tutorials for Beginners

After Effects is a powerful tool for motion design and visual effects. But with great power comes great confusion – or at least it can. Luckily there are some great tutorials to help anyone learn After Effects quickly.

Learn After Effects basics

When you open After Effects for the first time, it can be very intimidating. So many windows and buttons. But don’t worry, you don’t need to learn them all.

This 10 minute tutorial from Ben Marriott is a great primer to get you comfortable with the After Effects UI and the basics of the program (he also has a 60 minute video to go even deeper).

Learn After Effects expressions

Once you’ve been in After Effects for a while, you will undoubtedly come across expressions. These are snippets of code that programmatically tell After Effects what a property value should be – usually instead of keyframes.

While expressions are powered by JavaScript, you don’t need to know any code in order to get started with basic expressions. These will simplify and improve your workflow a ton.

Ukramedia has tons of great After Effects tutorials and this 2 part series on expressions is a must watch.

Learn the After Effects graph editor

The graph editor is a part of After Effects that even experienced users will neglect. But getting comfortable with the graph editor is one of the easiest tricks to improve your animations.

This tutorial from Jake In Motion completely demystifies the graph editor. This is a tutorial I wish I would have had early in my After Effects effects career. Your future self will thank you later.

Along with many other great tutorials, Jake has a whole series dedicated to explaining each effect in After Effects. This is a great reference for After Effects beginners and veterans alike.

Learn text animation

Text Animators in After Effects work in their own unique way. This can be a little scary, but Motion by Nick has a great tutorial that makes them make sense.

Learn After Effects from the GOAT

Most After Effects veterans will all point to one man as the godfather of all After Effects tutorials: Andrew Kramer. All his videos are super easy to follow and very entertaining. And while a lot of his tutorials (and After Effects UI) may be old, his style and knowledge still hold up today.

You can start with the After Effects Basic Training

Andrew Kramer took a break from educational content to work on some big movies. Maybe he will come back to teach us one day. If not, he still has a plethora of good material to go through.

Other tutorials worth watching

There are a lot of After Effects tutorials that cover specific things that you might never have to use. Regardless, these offer a ton of value. Getting to see people’s workflows and creative use of effects and After Effects features will help you pick up techniques you didn’t know were possible.

The algorithm has already recommended this to you, but I will too. This 90 minute screen recording with no voiceover lets you watch a great artist create amazing character animation in real time.

This dripping blood technique is insane. This will open your mind up to the types of procedural effects you can generate natively within After Effects.

Michael Ponch has a ton of After Effects tutorials that creatively solve things in After Effects that you wouldn’t think would be possible. This 3d shape tutorial is mind blowing. Maybe not the best tutorial for absolute beginners, but still good to see what is possible.

This tutorial and template from Red Giant / Action Movie Dad is just so ridiculous. Very clever and very fun.

More After Effects content

Here are more channels with great After Effects content that are worth checking out:

After Effects courses

Tutorials are great, but true learning requires doing. There are tons of great classes that will help you put your skills to the test and get real feedback from experts in the field. Here are some places with paid course worth checking out:

  • School of Motion – tons of super high quality classes for all things motion design
  • Skillshare – classes for everything including motion design & After Effects
  • LinkedIn Learning – classes for everything including After Effects

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