After Effects is the leading software for motion graphics. It’s used to animate titles, create full animation movies and shows, add visual effects, and for smaller projects like infographics. It’s made by Adobe and it’s compatible with other Adobe products, which makes it a versatile tool with a familiar environment for most animators and video editors.
There are two main career paths that utilize After Effects on a daily basis: animation and video. Animation can be split into three categories including 2D, 3D, and Motion Graphics. Each of these jobs uses After Effects to create animations but in a different way. Video editors also use After Effects, and often to create animations, primarily to adjust the way their videos look.
After Effects gives 2D Animators incredible control when creating animations from digitally drawn frames. It can be used to build character rigs, infographic animations, animate website banners, and more. 3D Animators use After Effects for rendering, modeling, character rigging, camera angles, visual effects, and work with layers that were created in Adobe Illustrator.
Motion Graphics Designers create animated typography, special effects, secondary animations, glows and light rays, special effects, expressions, and more. They can work as animators, branding experts who multitask with graphic design, or managers who oversee animators and special effects teams.
Video Editors create special effects, intro and outro sequences, and small animated graphics with After Effects. They also use it to change lighting and color grading within their videos. A Video Manager often oversees Video Editors and knows how to use After Effects to make adjustments to an Editor’s work as well as to explain their ideas to an Editor.
While After Effects is an incredibly robust and powerful tool for any animator or video editor to learn, it's not the only skill you’ll need to land one of these jobs. You should also learn skills like storyboarding, Cinema 4D, drawing, communication, character conception, layout design, camera angles, and key scenes. Other Adobe software such as Photoshop, Premiere Pro, and Illustrator will also come in handy.
After Effects Career Options
Here are a few career paths for which you’ll likely need After Effects skills in order to succeed. We also include additional info about their average salaries, their day-to-day responsibilities, and a link to learn more about each career.
Video editors work on films from script to post-production. Working closely with their teams, they help with script and storyboard development, sound editing, and video layouts. Video editors are responsible for ensuring sequence and continuity throughout the film. They work with producers and directors as they develop treatments and storytelling approaches.Learn about becoming a Video Editor
2D animators develop storyboards, characters, and backgrounds to bring stories to life in 2D. Working with software such as Adobe After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator, and 2D animators provide creative support to art directors in a variety of industries. 2D animators can work for studios or design firms, or as freelance independent contractors.Learn about becoming a 2D Animator
3D animators take ideas and turn them into three-dimensional images and animations. Using their understanding of human and animal movement, 3d animators can create rich, realistic experiences. 3d animators work on movies and games, as well as some websites and online media. 3d animators create amusement park experiences such as those at Walt Disney World or Universal Studios.Learn about becoming a 3D Animator
Video managers take assets from ideation to post-production. Beginning with storyboards and scripts, video managers help guide the development of media assets of all kinds. Some video producers create digital ads, and others produce television shows or movies.Learn about becoming a Video Manager
Motion Graphics Designer
Motion Graphics Designers, sometimes referred to as MoGraph professionals, use visual effects and animation to create artwork for: television, film, tech devices, software, live-video, video games, applications, and the web.Learn about becoming a Motion Graphics Designer
An animator is responsible for creating dynamic and visually engaging sequences in various forms of media, such as films, video games, and advertisements, by meticulously crafting and manipulating individual frames of animation or 3D models to convey lifelike movement and emotion. They often collaborate with art directors and storyboard artists to bring characters and scenes to life through precise timing, character design, and special effects.Learn about becoming a Animator