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What is Adobe After Effects

May 14, 2021 ·
Vladimir Liubarskiy
Vladimir Liubarskiy Blog Editor

If you’ve ever asked yourself the question “what is Adobe After Effects?”, the answer is quite simple – It is one of the most potent, powerful animation tools on the market. If you’ve been on the internet in the last fifteen years, or on any social media sites, odds are you’ve seen a wide variety of projects compiled on After Effects. Through the course of this article, we’ll explain a number of things – what it is, how it works, what you can do with it and give you a glimpse into actually using the software.

So, what exactly is Adobe After Effects?

Technically speaking, Adobe After Effects, or Adobe AE for short, is an animation and motion graphics tool developed by – you guessed it – Adobe. After Effects is a 2.5D animation platform and is widely regarded as the industry standard in post-production, particularly with implementing animation, visual effects and motion graphics in movies and advertising.

After Effects, much like Photoshop, works in layers and allows for the transformation of visual content and imagery, with a plethora of tools, effects, templates and much more. It allows users to intuitively combine multiple video files, edit them and develop a number of animations, all within one software.

What is Adobe After Effects used for?

Simply put, it is used for animation, motion graphics, visual effects and graphics, and has been used across a variety of platforms – Cinema, TV, Gaming, Live-production, Advertising, Indie films and many more consider it to be an essential tool in the post-production process. For beginner animators, it offers an excellent platform to get started with animation, given how easy and intuitive it is to use.

Additionally, it supports a number of templates, adobe effects and has a ton of free, educational resources available online, making it an excellent place to start learning about animation, graphics, visual effects and post-production in general. Third-party support is also very strong, as After Effects has some of the most potent and useful plugins available, such as Mocha, Plexus, Duik and much more. This makes using After Effects all the more convenient, as a number of different effects apart from standard Adobe offerings can easily be imported into AE.

Since when has Adobe After Effects been the industry-standard for animators?

Answering this question requires a quick peek into After Effects history, especially considering the numerous different After Effects versions, iterations and copies that have hit the market since it’s public release in 1994. Since then, it has seen over 50 versions, each with new updates, features, quality-of-life improvements and much more! Since then, it has been known for pushing the mould when it comes to post-production software.

Initially, it was capable of adding simple effects like motion blur and a video-stabilizer, but has since evolved to become much more versatile – Today, short films, indie films, animated shorts and sometimes, even full-length feature films can be created on After Effects alone!

Does After Effects support traditional animation techniques?

Simply put, yes. After Effects animation can be done in a frame-by-frame manner, while also allowing for layering and digital, modern-day animation techniques, making it an extremely versatile tool.

That being said, Adobe Animate, another offering as part of the Creative Cloud subscription, is generally considered the go-to for simple, frame-by-frame animations. If you’re a beginner and want to engage in the After Effects vs Animate debate, consider this – After Effects allows for frame-by-frame animation, but also has much more packed into it. As a result, efficiently using After Effects requires much more time that needs to be invested into learning to use the platform. Animate, on the other hand, replaced Adobe Flash and offers a much simpler, less-cluttered interface that focuses almost solely on frame-by-frame animation.

How do I get started with learning After Effects?

If using and learning After Effects has piqued your interest, rejoice! Learning After Effects is entirely possible at your own pace, with a ton of resources available online to help get you started. Apart from simple tutorials that can be found on youtube, beginners can also discover curated courses that offer an introduction to After Effects, as well as more specific courses that will allow them to decide exactly how they use After Effects. The internet offers a plethora of resources to help new users learn how to work with After Effects.

Motion Design School, for instance, offers a number of courses that help beginners get to grips with the basics of using After Effects. Furthermore, we also offer additional courses that are catered towards intermediate and expert users respectively, allowing beginners to scale up and master After Effects at their own pace.

To get the whole picture on learning After Effects with MDS, check out this page.

What courses are going to work best for me?

That’s a great question – using After Effects is, essentially, two halves that form a whole. First, users must understand the basic After Effects functions, tools, effects, templates etc. Then, they must be able to apply all of the things they’ve learnt and channel them into their own projects. For this reason, we recommend starting out with MDS and working your way up from there. Our Fundamentals on After Effects course taught by our in-house team serves as the perfect introduction into the world of motion graphics, animation and content creation on After Effects. This course is making it an excellent first step in learning how to use After Effects effectively.

Apart from the introductory course, MDS also offers a ton of curated, specific courses that allow students to delve into topics that actually interest and engage them. Here are some of the courses on After Effects offered at MDS;

Motion Beast  Instructed by the in-house team at MDS, this course offers an introduction into the world of motion design and animation using After Effects. From character rigging to frame-based animations, this is a great overview into the possibilities with After Effects.

Motion Practice  This course, taught by Ben Marriott, blends traditional frame-by-frame animation techniques with modern, digital platforms and tools within After Effects. Students will learn how to animate motions in After Effects, allowing them to create striking scenes, shorts, promos and much more!

Logo Animation in After Effects — Some students simply want to pick up a simple yet relevant skill. Today, Logo creation and animation is one such skill that just so happens to be in-demand! With this course, offered by the in-house team at MDS, students will learn to create vivid and memorable logo animations using After Effects.

UI Animation Essentials  Apart from animations for visual media, After Effects functions as a tool to create UI animations that make the user experience a pleasant and memorable one. This just so happens to be another really cool thing you can do in After Effects, and who better to learn from than the experts at MDS?

The Science of Character Animation  This course, taught by Markus Magnusson, offers a deep look into creating expressive, lively and lovable characters within After Effects. Students will learn the basics of character design and develop their own scenes, shorts and content, featuring smooth, seamless and striking animations.

Apart from these courses, MDS also offers a ton of specialized courses for users of all levels. To check out all our After Effects courses, spend some time browsing through our catalog and see what works best for you!

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