Insight into Adobe After Effects


Adobe After Effects is a product of ADOBE SYSTEMS INC.
Briefly referred to as AE, After Effects is a powerful tool being utilized in the modern Cinema. It is specialized in the production of Stunning Motion Graphics, Astonishing Visual Effects, and Mesmerizing 2D and 3D effects.
Although it can also be used to provide functionality as a Video Editor (like Adobe Premiere Pro) ie., basic functionality of color correction, hue/saturation fixes, and lighting correction.

Getting you Started

First thing you need to kick start your journey is the software itself.. No worries if you do not want to spend your money on an expensive software that you do not even understand YET !
ADOBE provides you with an option to try its complete product with no restriction for a Trial period of 30 days..

Here ! We'll guide you through the steps (just to be sure) :

  • Check if your System meets the requirements for running Adobe After Effects @ here.
  • Go to Adobe's official site. CLICK HERE
  • Click on the Manage Account Button. [top right corner]
  • Choose to create a new Adobe ID.
  • Fill in the necessary information. Be sure to enter legitimate information.
  • When you have your Adobe ID, goto the Products tab and choose Adobe After Effects.
  • The site will guide you through the next few steps.. Once you are done INSTALL AE on your computer.

There you are done !!

Understanding the Interface

Go to your installation folder and run Adobe After Effects..

Startup Interface

As soon as Adobe After Effects finishes loading its presets and startup files you will see that a start-up panel.

Here it gives you the options to :

  • Open a New Project.
  • Open any Recently Opened Project.
  • Change your sign in ID..

Main Interface

Main interface looks like this..
From the CS 5 Series Adobe After Effects has been morphed to an interface composed of different windows. This makes the whole process of editing the video a breeze as you can easily modify the interface according to your needs from time to time.
The main window might look confusing to absolute beginners but no worries .. just keep Scrolling !!

Project Panel :

Shows all the Files Imported, Compositions Created, Solids Defined under the active project.
Adjacent to it Effects Tab shows all the effects associated with a particular layer.

Compositions Preview Panel :

Your Active Composition is previewed in real time (According to your time handle) here.

Timeline :

All the Layers associated with a Composition are displayed on the left and theri corresponding time lengths are displayed on the right.

Various Basic Tools :

Similar to many Adobe Products, After Effects also uses a bunch of different tools to accomplish different tasks.

At first look you will see the following tools in the Tool panel.

Select Tool ::

Keyboard Shortcut [V].

The Select tool is one of the extremely important tools without which Mastering AE would be a dream.
It is used as your usual mouse pointer in the Composition Panel. As its name suggests it allows you to make a
selection. It is also used to place components on the Composition Preview panel. It is also used to control the movement of 3D objects using its Anchor.

Hand Tool ::

Keyboard Shortcut [H].

The Hand tool is used to pan around a zoomed area without making any changes..

Zoom Tool ::

Keyboard Shortcut [Z].

The Zoom tool is used to zoom into the composition panel.
Select the zoom tool -> Hold left Click and drag left or right to zoom Out or In respectively.
ALTERNATIVELY, this can be done by the use of Middle Mouse Scroll Wheel also. [Much Handy]

Rotation Tool ::

Keyboard Shortcut [W].

The Rotation tool is used to rotate an object in 2D or 3D Space.

Camera Tool ::

Keyboard Shortcut [C].

You will notice this tool has some sub-menus associated.. To access the sub-menus Hold Left Click over the tool or Use [C] repeatedly to reach the required tool.. These are :

Unified Camera Tool :

This tool is used to rotate the Camera created by you and analyze Composition in 3D.

Orbit Camera Tool :

This tool rotates the camera on a Gyro Axis. It gives a better analysis of objects placed at greater depths.

Track XY Camera Tool :

It moves the Camera on X and Y Axis only.

Track Z Camera Tool :

It moves the camera on the Z Axis only.

Pan Behind Tool ::

Keyboard Shortcut [Y].

This tool is used to move the Anchor Point of various Objects freely in the 2D and 3D Space (usually 2D).

Shape Tools ::

These tools help in drawing and defining shape layers and Masks. These are :

Rectangle Tool

Rounded Rectangle Tool

Eclipse Tool

Polygon Tool

Star Tool

Pen Tool ::

Pen Tool is used to draw free-form Shapes and Masks.

Type Tool ::

This is used to create a Text Layer. Its two types are :

Horizontal Type Tool

Vertical Type Tool

There are four other tools but their function is not so basic so they wont be covered in this tutorial to avoid confusion

Starting The Real Stuff !!

There are Various components in an AE Projects.. For the time being this tutorial focuses on the most basic concepts for absolute beginners.

Compositions ::

The root element of any AE Project is a COMPOSITION.

COMPOSITION is analogous to bundling a group of effects under one label. This means if you have a part of effect that is ready and will act as a group for the rest of the project then you can pre-compose them into one composition and they will henceforth appear as a single layer..
Note : Pre-Composing helps to manage your project more efficiently and it is always a good habit to pre-compose layers..

Layers ::

Adobe After Effects is a timeline oriented Video Editing Software and manages all its elements in the forms of LAYERS.
These layers can be trimmed, re-arranged, hidden, duplicated, sliced, and a whole lot of operations can be applied.

There are a variety of Layers available and each is used for a specific purpose.

Solid Layer :

A solid is a carpet layer and can be manipulated in any way required to suit your needs.

To apply a Solid Layer :

  • Go to Layer menu.
  • Select New -> Solid.

Shape Layer :

This creates any kind of shape using the Rectangle Tool, Ellipse Tool, Polygon Tool, Rounded Rectangle Tool or the Pen Tool .

To apply a Shape Layer :

  • Go to Layer menu.
  • Select New -> Shape.

Text Layer :

This is your usual Text. It can be created using Horizontal Type Tool or Vertical Type Tool.

To apply a Solid Layer :

  • Go to Layer menu.
  • Select New -> Text.

Adjustment Layer :

This creates an Adjustment Layer. Any effect applied to the adjustment layer is automatically reflected upon all the layers below it.

To apply an Adjustment Layer :

  • Go to Layer menu.
  • Select New -> Adjustment.

Null Layer :

This creates a Null Object. This is usually used as a parent for many layers to provide a motion path or value of any attribute.

To apply an Null Layer :

  • Go to Layer menu.
  • Select New -> Null.

Light Layer :

This creates a light which may be a Point Light, Ambient Light, Parallel Light, or any other.

To apply an Light Layer :

  • Go to Layer menu.
  • Select New -> Light.

Camera Layer :

This creates a camera to view your Composition in 3D.
Note : A camera doesn't affect 2D objects…
This camera can be panned around using the four Camera Tools.

To apply an Camera Layer :

  • Go to Layer menu.
  • Select New -> Camera.

Effects and Presets :

This is an essential part of Adobe After Effects.
Effects and Preset Panel allows the user to use many of the predefined effects and create a beautiful effect.
Although there are many plugins available for Adobe After Effects many effects can be created with stock plugins.

Still if you wish to try some popular plugins, two of them are :


If you wish you can download free trials from their respective websites ..

Time for some Practicals !!

Following are some Awesome Text Effects Demonstrated by us (CASTLE PRODUCTIONS)..

On the Basis of the above Information you would be able to understand what's going on in the tutorials below.. ENJOY !

If you like these effects and want to try these out we have also prepared short tutorials for each of the Effect.. Please have a look and don't forget to like the videos on YOUTUBE.

Team Members ::

This page is a submission for Systems Management 2014 Course by :

  2. MANDEEP SINGH2014145
  3. PULKIT2014080

**The original WIKIDOT SITE we created was THIS.. **

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License