Learn After Effects

A Comprehensive Guide to Start Learning After Effects

Adobe After Effects is commonly used in the post-production phase of film and television development. Industry professionals use this program to add motion graphics, special effects, and animations to enhance their videos and captivate their audience.

Adobe After Effects is a dynamic and comprehensive tool for creating motion graphics, special effects, and video compositions. Discover its capabilities and how it can open doors to diverse career opportunities in industries such as broadcasting, animation studios, marketing agencies, and more.

Key Insights

  • Adobe After Effects is a robust application for designing motion graphics and special effects. It's used in various industries ranging from broadcasting companies, animation studios, marketing agencies, and independent artists.
  • After Effects integrates well with other Adobe programs like Premiere Pro and third-party software like Cinema 4D Lite, providing a comprehensive tool kit for video productions.
  • Learning After Effects can be challenging without proper training. Options include in-person classes, live online courses, and on-demand courses offered by institutions such as Noble Desktop.
  • The cost of a subscription to After Effects can range from $32 per month for a monthly payment plan to $20 per month for an annual subscription. Access to the entire Adobe Creative Cloud is available for $54.99 per month.
  • Noble Desktop offers various training options for After Effects, including bootcamps, certificate programs, and free online resources. Students can learn in-person at Noble Desktop’s Manhattan campus or through live online classes.
  • While the specific salary figures were not mentioned in the content provided, learning After Effects can potentially open up lucrative career opportunities in fields like film, television, and internet content creation.

Adobe After Effects is a dynamic motion graphics, special effects, and video compositing application that industry professionals and hobbyists alike use to create dynamic motion graphics and special effects. Use the following guide to explore various free and paid formats to learn After Effects and potential career opportunities that utilize this incredible program. 

What is After Effects?

Adobe After Effects is a motion graphics application that places special effects design and creation tools in your hands! Whether you are a small business looking to make eye-catching advertisements and commercials or an employee of one of the top animation studios, After Effect allows users to bring their imagination to life. This Academy Award-winning program has been a favorite of film, television, and internet creators since its creation in the early 1990s. Special, practical, mechanical, and theatrical effects artists used After Effects software to create blockbuster movies such as Star Trek: Into Darkness and Ender's Game. 

Combined with the graphics of Illustrator, the image-altering tools of Photoshop, and the video editing capabilities of Premiere Pro, After Effect’s comprehensive toolbar and layering features allow users to create dynamic special effects and title cards. Adobe Effects also has a 3D design function, adding new emphasis and movement to any project. You can even use After Effects to create fully or partially animated features! When combined with the other programs of the Adobe Creative Cloud, Adobe After Effects will help your video project stand out from the crowd!

Read more about what After Effects is and why you should learn it.

What Can You Do with After Effects?

Think about the last time you watched a Hollywood blockbuster. What were the main things that you noticed throughout the movie? Maybe you noticed the quality of the animations and other motion graphics that added a unique texture to your viewing experience. Perhaps the dynamic opening credits that set the stage for the action caught your eye. Or maybe the incredible special effects drew you into the movie's action. Regardless of what visuals captured your attention, Adobe After Effects or a related motion graphics and special effects tool was likely responsible for these incredible visuals. 

After Effects is a motion graphics and special effects software that allows you to animate texts and objects, use greenscreens to add or subtract objects and elements, and develop unique transitions to your visual media creations. Users can create their original graphics using Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator or redesign one of the many available templates to create their vision. When users combine the editing power of After Effects with the capacities of Cinema 4D Lite included with every subscription, these artists can add new textures and dimensions to their visual media. 

Beyond the incredible toolkit offered within the After Effects program, this application is also compatible with many other tools. Part of the larger Adobe Creative Cloud, Adobe After Effects can work with programs such as Adobe Audition, InDesign, Lightroom, and Premiere Pro to create original and composite forms of visual media. After Effects also works with third-party plugins such as FXFactory, Red Giant by Maxon, and CycoreFX, further maximizing the capabilities and functionality of this application. 

Careers that Use After Effects

Before pursuing an After Effects certificate or certification, many users first wonder what types of industries utilize After Effects. Some students may even wonder why they would invest time learning After Effects over Adobe Animate and if the latter is more marketable. Look no further! Here are some of the top industries that employ After Effects professionals today: 

Broadcasting Companies and Live-Action Film Studios 

Breaking news! Cable news networks frequently use After Effects to create motion graphics for different segments and to create a coherent narrative that engages audiences. Movie-makers use After Effects when inserting animation and special effects into their features. After Effects provides an avenue for artists to live their Hollywood dreams! 

Animation Studios 

When most people think of animated graphics, their minds frequently imagine traditional animation that requires artists to draw each frame by hand. Nevertheless, computer animation began to replace this type of 2D animation as early as the 1950s and 1960s and now dominates the industry. Adobe After Effects is an excellent tool for creating this popular animation style.

Marketing Agencies 

Use After Effects to convey a narrative or an inside joke to attract new audiences to your website. When scrolling through social media, most users tend to stop when they encounter an amusing or eye-catching moving graphic. After Effects users that have their fingers on the cultural pulse will thrive as After Effects artists and video editors for marketing brands. 


After Effect professionals attract many different job opportunities on Youtube, regardless if they are working for a larger company or working on getting their brand off the ground. With over 51 million YouTube channels, an attractive opening sequence and engaging graphics can make or break a content creator’s career. See how Youtubers are launching their careers into stardom through After Effects. 

Independent Artist or Contractor 

After Effects is an excellent tool for artists looking to run their businesses as independent contractors, as it gives users the time and space to work on their projects while providing essential advertising services to large and small businesses. Independent contractors working with After Effects frequently contribute to a range of industries, ensuring that your job will never be boring or repetitive.

Why Learn After Effects?

Do you have a creative eye? Did all of your school assignments always have doodles in the margins? Would you like to transform your animation hobby into a career? After Effects gives you the tools to bring your imagination to life and start building your unique business or individual brand! Discover why artists, businesses, and filmmakers gravitate towards After Effects to fulfill their needs for motion graphics and special effects! 

Adobe After Effects is a highly-rated motion graphics tool allowing users to create dynamic title and closing credits, stunning special effects, and cohesive and compelling narratives. Part of the larger Adobe Creative Cloud, Adobe After Effects works cohesively with other Adobe programs like Animate, Illustrator, Photoshop, and Premiere Pro and is compatible with third-party software such as Frame.io, Universal Audio, or Flow. Creators can use After Effects to create unique designs from scratch or develop their own vision using one of the many presets included with the program. After Effects even allows users to design 3D figures using the Cinema 4D Lite extension, integrating new textures and experiences within their media.

Read more about why you should learn After Effects.

How to Learn After Effects

After Effects is a dynamic program that allows users to create visually engaging videos. Despite these strengths, the program is not necessarily intuitive or beginner-friendly. Users report the highest level of success when they pair formal instruction with practice and independent study. The three main teaching formats for learning After Effects include in-person, live online, and on-demand courses. 

In-person classes mimic a more traditional learning style and context that anyone who attended public or private school will recognize. Students enrolled in these classes frequently learn from industry titans through project-based curriculums and hands-on experience. Four-year universities and specific technical colleges such as Training Connection and Ledet Training often host these courses throughout the United States. Noble Desktop offers its highly rated After Effects Bootcamp and After Effects in a Day at its Manhattan campus. Unable to make it to Manhattan? Use Noble Desktop’s After Effects Classes Near Me tool to find one in your area! 

Since the onset of the pandemic and the rise of alternative learning opportunities, many students have been searching for training options beyond the traditional classroom environment. They have discovered the benefits of live online learning through institutions such as Noble Desktop, Future Media Concepts, and The Knowledge Academy. Like in-person classes, skilled professionals teach live-online courses and are available to answer questions and assist throughout the course. Nevertheless, students can set up their ideal working environment and avoid the distractions of a traditional classroom. Several live online classes even offer students career support and one-on-one mentoring opportunities. Find a live online class that will work for your schedule and budget using Noble Desktop’s helpful After Effects live online courses compare and contrast tool. 

Students that cannot commit to the intensity or time of live online or in-person classes tend to gravitate towards on-demand classes. On-demand courses are pre-recorded videos that can be watched whenever most convenient for the student. Like other forms of software training, on-demand courses feature instruction from industry professionals and frequently come with assignments, handouts, and other supplemental material. The asynchronous nature of these classes means that students cannot receive aid in real-time. However, they can watch and rewatch the videos as often as needed. Interested in taking an on-demand course? Check out Noble Desktop’s list of Best After Effect Courses Online

Still unsure which learning formats will be most conducive for your After Effects learning experience? Check out some of Noble Desktop’s free online resources to experience these learning formats before financially committing to one. Do you enjoy watching YouTube tutorials and learning new skills by seeing someone else demonstrate them first? Check out Noble Desktop’s YouTube Channel, which offers tutorials and demonstrations for most Adobe Creative Cloud and Microsoft Office Suite applications led by Noble Desktop instructors. These tutorials allow you to learn the general structure of all three learning formats while exploring your ability to learn asynchronously. Students who want to diversify their learning formats should explore Noble Desktop’s After Effects Learning Hub, which includes a fantastic collection of blog posts, product overviews and reviews, and tutorials. 

Are you interested in trying live online learning without enrolling in a bootcamp or certificate program? Check out one of Noble Desktop’s Free Design, Coding, and Business Seminars. You can even start learning how to create original and composted animations and motion graphics through recordings of past seminars, such as the Intro to After Effects and Get Started in Motion Graphics courses.

Read the full guide on how to learn After Effects.

Free Introductory After Effects Course Online 

Learning After Effects is a commitment that requires time and energy to pursue. If you are unsure whether this application is worth the time and effort necessary to master it, researching before and after you begin your subscription is one of the best ways to ensure that you prepare yourself for long-term success. For example, an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription gives you access to Adobe After Effects and Adobe Animate. Which program will help you meet your personal and professional needs? Check out Noble Desktop’s blog post with a detailed comparison of Adobe After Effects and Animate programs to ensure that you invest your time and money well. 

Are you searching for a way to expand your skills and learn new techniques? Even after you have committed to purchasing an After Effects program or an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, you may feel overwhelmed determining the best place to start learning this complex program. Noble Desktop offers a free Get Started in Motion Graphics course and an Intro to After Effects seminar recording. Noble Desktop even has a free technical training YouTube channel to help you understand the ins and outs of After Effects. These free introductory videos and tutorials work best in conversation with the in-person or live online courses found using Noble Desktop’s After Effects Classes Near Me and Best After Effects Classes Online

These tools are also great ways to identify other free introductory classes online. Udemy, for example, offers a range of free courses in multiple languages. Entry-level students are the intended audience of these on-demand videos, focusing on specific skills rather than connecting different techniques and applications. Nevertheless, this platform allows students to explore the benefits and limitations of on-demand classes. Coursera offers similar free learning opportunities, but classes tend to be much broader, and many of the free courses overview other animation and motion graphics applications besides After Effect. Students may also use these free courses to prepare for more advanced techniques and tools that more structured classes cover. 

Read about more free After Effects videos and online tutorials.

Level of Difficulty, Prerequisites, & Cost 

After Effects is a standout program in the Adobe Creative Cloud. Users frequently claim that After Effects is one of the most complex programs to learn, despite mirroring other Adobe applications in form and organization. Even basic graphics require multiple steps and tools that can be challenging to follow without the assistance of a skilled instructor that can guide you through the process. While adding educational costs to your monthly After Effects subscription may appear to be financially prohibitive, this is the easiest way to ensure you get the most out of your After Effects program. 

After Effects requires considerable time and practice to master regardless of the user’s technological background and capabilities. Nevertheless, students can still prepare to use this complicated application before downloading the software. For one, they can invest in a gaming or high-tech computer with a large RAM capacity that can minimize the chances of the program crashing. They can also research current motion graphics and special effects trends to develop those skills through education and practice. Exploring the interconnected nature of the Adobe Creative Cloud can also help users better situate After Effects in the motion graphics and video production process.

Keeping these training tips and tools in mind, many students may wonder how much a subscription to After Effects costs. Ultimately, their ability to access After Effects depends on their intentions for using the program. Those with smaller, short-term projects may want to enroll in the monthly payment plan, which runs for about $32 per month. Users willing to commit to an entire year can lower this monthly fee to $21. Another way to save money is to pay a $240 annual subscription fee upfront, reducing the average monthly cost to about $20. 

Subscribers looking to access the entire Adobe Creative Cloud can save money when they bundle 20 applications and pay an annual fee of $600. Additional subscription plans for a whole year are also available for $83 per month and $55 per month. Still unsure if After Effects or acquiring the Adobe Creative Cloud are the right decision for you? Users can try out these programs using Adobe’s seven-day free trial to determine which program will work best for them. 

Read about how difficult it is to learn After Effects.

How Does Learning After Effects Compare to Other Applications/Languages/Fields?

After Effects has a bit of a reputation on many online forums. Despite users of all skill levels enjoying this application’s various tools and functionality, many note that this program is more difficult to learn independently than other Adobe programs and video editing software. “At first, After Effects seemed very intimidating,” commented one G2 reviewer, “I started watching free videos on Youtube, but I often got confused or couldn’t find the right buttons. I had to invest in a paid course and spend hundreds of hours learning the interface, which I don’t regret.” While After Effects is part of the larger Adobe Creative Cloud, this program frequently requires more outside instruction to comprehend than other programs. Keeping these experiences in mind, how does learning After Effects compare to other Adobe applications? 

After Effects integrates well with other Adobe programs like Premiere Pro and third-party software like Cinema 4D Lite but frequently requires additional training to connect After Effects to these programs and use this application alone. While some users may claim that Premiere Pro and Cinema 4D Lite are much more intuitive than Adobe After Effects, neither program operates at capacity without After Effects. Animation artists can use Premiere Pro to edit original and composite visual media that they create with Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and After Effects. Nevertheless, they cannot design advanced motion graphics and special effects using Premiere Pro alone. Cinema 4D Lite can also add incredible 3D graphics to illustrations animated in After Effect. Still, its usefulness depends on the ability to use After Effects to create the foundational content. 

Beyond the codependency of these programs, there is also the consideration of their subscription and education expenses. While some choose to access After Effects or Premiere Pro individually for $20.99 a month, more savvy users know it is more cost-effective to subscribe to the entire Adobe Creative Cloud for $54.99 per month. This subscription fee also comes with the ability to use Cinema 4D Lite, saving you the additional cost of a Cinema 4D subscription that can run from $59.91 to $94.00 per month.

How to Decide the Best Way to Learn After Effects

All Adobe After Effects users can benefit from formal and informal training opportunities, regardless of their technical training and capabilities. There are educational opportunities for all learning styles and schedules, from on-demand, live-online, and in-person courses to free video tutorials and blog posts. But which program will ultimately help you reach your goals? The following section helps you decide which learning format and resources best suit your needs. 

If you are a beginner or an After Effect user looking to casually refine your skills, you may want to consider exploring free opportunities to learn how to use After Effects. Noble Desktop, the creator of this tool, offers several free resources to After Effects users. These opportunities cover the program broadly or focus on developing specific skills rather than providing a more comprehensive overview that you would likely encounter with more formal training. Those that enjoy learning through reading articles and opinion pieces should check out Learn After Effects resource guide, which provides free blog posts, tips, and tutorials for using After Effects. You can also explore live online learning through Noble Desktop’s Free Technical Training Seminars if you wish to pursue a more formal educational opportunity. You can even watch recordings of past seminars to jump-start your learning journey, such as the Get Started in Motion Graphics or Intro to After Effects course. 

After Effects users looking to understand this program more intimately should consider taking advantage of a short but intense learning opportunity that will rapidly grow and expand your personal and professional toolkit. For students looking for in-person learning opportunities, Noble Desktop offers it's After Effects Classes Near Me search engine that curates and compares the best programs in your area. Industry professionals frequently teach these courses and are available to answer questions and offer individualized help. 

Those that would like a way to learn After Effects in the environment of their choice should check out Noble Desktop’s list of the best Live Online and On-Demand After Effects Classes. If you would like to skip the research and go straight for a highly-rated learning opportunity that will take you from novice to expert in only a few days, look no further than Noble Desktops’ After Effects Bootcamp and After Effects in a Day class. These courses allow you to learn from industry titans around the world from the comfort of your home or office and are available on a part-time or full-time basis. 

If you are planning to use your After Effects knowledge to jumpstart a new career or impress a current employer with your special effects skills, the best way to demonstrate your talent is to acquire a Video Editing or Video Editing and Motion Graphics Certificate. Rather than focusing on a specific application or technique, these certificate programs teach users how to use multiple editing software such as After Effect, Audition, and Premiere Pro to create original and composite content from start to finish. These classes can be taken in person at Noble Desktop’s Manhattan campus or live online anywhere. Make your next big career move with Noble Desktop.

Learn After Effects with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

Are you looking for a training program to jump-start your After-Effects adventures? Noble Desktop, the creator of this tool, is known for its high-rated full and part-time bootcamps and certificate programs. Expert instructors set students up for long-term success through project-based learning and many opportunities for hands-on learning. Students living in or near New York City can easily commute to regularly offered in-person After Effects classes offered at Noble Desktop’s Manhattan campus. Want to avoid a long commute? Consider enrolling in one of Noble Desktop’s live online After Effects classes, where you can receive dynamic and interactive After Effects training from the comfort of your home or office!

Wondering which class format will help you cultivate your After Effects knowledge and skills? Consider your timetable and ultimate objectives. Students looking to use After Effects more casually or as an additional skill for an existing career may want to enroll in Noble Desktop’s After Effects in a Day or three-day After Effects Bootcamp. These classes save you time and money by balancing lectures with hands-on experience, maximizing retention, and setting you up for success. “Definitely recommend Noble Desktop overtaking a semester-long continuing education class at an expensive art school,” raved one reviewer, “This class covers techniques in a practical manner, and you can get started on your own after three days of intensive learning.” Worried that you couldn’t possibly retain everything you learn? Noble Desktop offers a free retake for all of its classes! 

Students interested in a more dramatic career change or would like to develop their portfolio and CV may want to enroll in the Motion Graphics Certificate or Video Editing & Motion Graphics Certificate programs. These training programs use hands-on experience and project-based training to teach students how to create original content using After Effects, Premiere Pro, and other Adobe Creative Cloud applications. Students also have several opportunities for one-on-one mentorship and receive a comprehensive step-by-step manual that ensures they have all the tools needed for long-term success.

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