Two of the big names in video production software are After Effects. Both are Adobe products and part of the Adobe Creative Cloud. Both have been around for over twenty years, and people often ask, “Which is better?” or “How do I choose?” but these are actually the wrong questions. It’s not a matter of which is better, but which is best for the task at hand.

Premiere Pro is a video editing program with some basic elements that beginners can learn to use with a bit of effort, but it also has many powerful features that allow experienced editors to create television commercials and feature films. After Effects is a graphics and animation program that allows you to add complex special effects to a video project. Because it has more features it can be more complicated to learn and use than Premiere Pro, but if you put in the time you can master it. 

What Can Premiere Pro and After Effects Do For You?

The choice of whether to use Premiere Pro or After Effects depends upon the question: what do you need to do with the software? Premiere Pro is for video editing and allows you to create multiple tracks for video and audio with tools to make cuts and add transitions easily. It has some basic graphics abilities but they are nowhere near as powerful as After Effects. While it can be used for editing video, After Effects excels at motion graphics and animation. It is also a powerful compositing program that allows you to

Experienced users develop a fondness for both programs and both being Adobe products, Premiere Pro and After Effects work very well together. A common practice is to start a project in Premiere Pro and then use After Effects to insert graphics and animation. Some people choose to create videos entirely in After Effects.

What Is Premiere Pro?

When it comes to video editing, Premiere Pro is the better choice. It allows you to create multiple tracks for video and audio that you can use to edit an entire project from beginning to end. You can import raw footage and then choose shots, create clips, move them around, and combine them all to create a finished piece. Premiere Pro is easier to learn than After Effects, making it more accessible to beginners, although at some point the learning curve gets much steeper. Premiere Pro can handle basic effects, transitions, and color grading, but is not nearly as powerful as After Effects. Premiere Pro handles audio very well, while After Effects doesn’t do much with audio. Audition is another Adobe product and is a very powerful audio editor that can be used with Premiere Pro and After Effects.

What Is After Effects?

After Effects can be complicated to learn, but if you want to create animated videos, the effort is worthwhile. It is also a very powerful video compositing program that allows you to stack up layers of video, work with each layer, and then combine them into a single “composited” result. After Effects includes rotoscoping, which allows you to trace over a video and create animated effects with that. You can also add visual effects such as outlines, motion tracking, and objects, as well as removing objects from a shot. After Effects is better for animating text, masking and color correction, although Premiere has made some recent improvements in the latter. The layering works similarly to Photoshop, so Video Editors and Graphic Designers who are familiar with that other Adobe products will feel comfortable with it.

Essential Features of Premiere Pro

Premiere Pro is a video editing program that can combine video, audio, and images together and then export them as a video file. You can run Premiere Pro on a Mac or PC with at least 8GB of RAM, though 16GB or more is recommended. A dedicated video card works better than integrated graphics. This program is for people who want to produce video and need a program with professional-level tools and functions. One of the advantages of Premiere Pro is the ability to edit video from a wide variety of cameras and formats. Another popular feature is multi-cam editing.

Premiere Pro also integrates smoothly with other Adobe apps such as After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator, Audition, and Media Encoder. One of Premiere's main strengths, when compared with some other editing applications, is that you don't need to transcode your footage before you can work on it. It is intended to allow you to use video and audio of different formats, sizes, and framerates all in the same sequence. Another popular feature is scene edit detect, which finds all of the cuts in a pre-edited video file, so you don’t have to look for them.

Premiere Pro is highly customizable. You can set up your workspace to your own specifications and set your own keyboard shortcuts, although there are plenty of those in Pro to start with. With the customization and the way the different Adobe apps work together, one of the best things about Premiere Pro is how efficient the workflow is. 

Essential Features of After Effects

After Effects can be used in a couple of ways. You can import video into Premiere Pro, edit it, and then open After Effects to insert graphics or alter scenes. You can also create a video entirely in After Effects. Most infographics are done this way, as is much of the animated text you see in videos. For example, most of the computer interfaces in film and television are created in After Effects and exported out as video files.

After Effects can be used for creating and inserting beginning titles and end credits, as well as any graphics or animation within the video, but that is only the beginning of its abilities. Three functions that are commonly done through After Effects are compositing, rotoscoping, and motion tracking.

Compositing

The term compositing is used in different ways in video production, but it generally means combining items to create something new. This can be removing an unwanted element from a shot or adding something to the footage. Compositing is often used to create large crowd scenes or battle shots in films and television shows. Another use is with a green screen. This technology allows you to film a subject in front of a green screen, and then add other video and effects behind them later. This is how many movie effects are created and also how modern weather reports are put together.

Rotoscoping

This is an animation technique that has been around since long before computers, but programs like After Effects make it easier to do and produce much more satisfying results. The technique was invented by Max Fleischer in the early 1900s and was later adapted by Disney animators working on Snow White in the 1930s. Rotoscoping involves filming a scene with live actors and then tracing over the film to create more life-like movements in animated characters. The lightsabers in Star Wars were created through rotoscoping. The difficult part was the meticulous tracing. After the 1990s, the practice was digitized, and After Effects is now an everyday part of video post-production. 

Motion Tracking

Motion tracking lets you follow moving objects in a video clip, and After Effects’s motion tracking tool makes this easier than ever before. After Effects is bundled with MochaAE, a full-featured motion tracking, and rotoscoping application. Because it integrates so easily with other Adobe products like Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere Pro, motion tracking lets you import clip art, photos, or graphics and make them move with After Effects motion tracking. 

Animation Platform

Professional Animators and Motion Graphics Designers like After Effects because of its powerful animation tools and the ability to manipulate text. You can pull anything in from other programs like Photoshop and Illustrator and animate it. You can also draw on some of the many preset libraries available. Portions of the animated program, Archer, were done using After Effects.

History of Premiere Pro and After Effects

Premiere is an original Adobe product released in 1991 for the Apple Mac. It was one of the first digital, non-linear editing programs. Premiere Pro came out in 2003. It was known as Premiere Pro CS, plus a version number 1-7, which stood for Creative Suite until 2013, when Adobe changed the name from Creative Suite to Creative Cloud. The current version is officially known as Adobe Premiere Pro.

After Effects has a long history. It was originally created by the Company of Science and Art in January of 1993 and acquired 6 months later by Aldus Corporation. Adobe bought Aldus in 1994. Originally, After Effects was only for Macs, but a Windows version camecome out in 1997. After Effects version 7 was the first to be linked to Premiere Pro, and it was included in Adobe’s Creative Cloud in 2013. 

How to Purchase Premiere Pro and After Effects

Adobe offers a monthly subscription to Premiere Pro or After Effects with a 7-day free trial available before purchase. This allows you to edit some videos before deciding if you want to pay for the software. For a few dollars more a month, you can get the full Creative Cloud, which includes storage as well. The cost of a monthly subscription to Premiere Pro or After Effects is $20.99, while a monthly subscription to Creative Cloud, which includes both plus more than 20 other applications, is $52.99. 

How to Learn Premiere Pro and After Effects

The bottom line is that if you want to work with video, you will need to learn to use Premiere Pro. If you plan to work with animation, After Effects is your tool. It’s a good idea to learn Premiere Pro first before taking on After Effects because Premiere Pro is a little bit easier to catch on to. Also, the interfaces are similar, so you will feel a bit more familiar with the workspace when you start learning After Effects. Keep in mind that editing software is complex, and many people find it easier to learn technical information through classes.

You can choose classes that meet in-person or online to learn Premiere Pro. Some people prefer to attend brick-and-mortar sessions when learning new information, but that isn’t always available. Live online classes have a similar set-up with a real-time, remote instructor who can answer questions and take control of your monitor—with permission—to show you how to do things. Training is part or full-time and available weekdays, weeknights, or weekends.

The best way to prepare for a career shift to a technical field like video editing is to enroll in a bootcamp or certificate program. These are intensive training courses that run for a few weeks to a few months and will cover video editing in much more depth than tutorials can. Another plus of training is that you will leave class with a professional-quality sample video portfolio that you can show to prospective employers.

It’s easy to learn Adobe Premiere Pro and start a new career. Check out Noble Desktop’s Premiere Pro courses. Choose between in-person sessions in NYC at Noble’s location or sign up for live online Premiere Pro courses and attend from anywhere. Use Noble Desktop’s Classes Near Me to find other courses in Premiere Pro in your area.