Adobe After Effects CC

How to add effects and motion graphics in After Effects

Learn how to use motion graphics and video compositing techniques to add pizzazz to a Hawaii adventure video. (Try it, 16 min)

FromTodd Kopriva

Create motion graphics and video effects.

What do I need?

Get files Sample files to practice with (ZIP, 121 MB)

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In this tutorial, you’ll use motion graphics and video compositing techniques to add some pizzazz to a Hawaii adventure video. You’ll also use the latest version of After Effects to animate some text, apply color correction to specific areas of the video, and export the final video for devices and popular video hosting services.

This tutorial is not intended to teach you all the ins and outs of After Effects, but you’ll understand what After Effects does and we hope you’ll want to learn more. No previous After Effects experience is needed, but if you have any problems during the tutorial, please ask questions in our forum.

First, import a video and create your first composition.

Your first step in creating any video in After Effects is to create a new project. When working in After Effects, you work within a composition. A single After Effects project can contain multiple compositions. The composition is where the magic happens—it’s where we’ll apply effects and animate elements. In this video, we’ll import the adventure vacation footage, trim the video, and create a new composition from the video.

Import a movie (0:34); Trim the movie (1:24); Create the composition (1:59)

Add animation and a color correction effect.

Now we’ll bring the video to life by adding some special effects to this Hawaiian adventure. Type in some text. Feel free to customize the font as you like. Animate the text in and fade it out by adding keyframes to the timeline and editing their scale and opacity values. After that, try your hand at video color correction. Add a mask and apply an exposure effect to tone down the hot spots in waterfall video. The mask lets you to edit areas of the video you want to change while protecting areas you want to leave as-is.

Note: The 2014 release of After Effects CC features effect masks, which can make selective color corrections easier than before.

Animate text (0:19); Add a mask (4:48); Correct exposure (6:15)

Take your adventure video to your tablet and the web.

You’ve finished your animated project, but it’s not quite time to say “Aloha” just yet. As a final step, let’s prepare the video for uploading to a video service like YouTube or Vimeo or for playback on your tablet. To do that, we’ll send the video from After Effects to Adobe Media Encoder to export the video to a few different formats for devices and web video services. It’s easy to export your project to a wide variety of video output formats using presets in Adobe Media Encoder.

Send to AME (0:43); Add a format (1:46); Start encoding queue (2:19)

Let us know what you think


Todd Kopriva

Todd works on the After Effects Quality Engineering team and spends much of his time helping users of all levels on various online forums and at trade shows. Before that he led the team creating documentation and training materials for After Effects (ver. 7.0–CS5) before moving into Technical Support (ver. CS5.5 and CS6). Todd combines a technical understanding of software and computers with a strong desire to help people create art. Follow him on his blog.