Adobe After Effects CC

Welcome!  This is a simple graphic I created in Adobe Illustrator and imported into Adobe After Effects to learn animation.  Illustration by Jannet Walsh. ©2016 Jannet Walsh.  All Rights Reserved.


View Adobe After Effects Playlist

I’m busy putting this page together now!    I’ll be using the latest version available, Adobe After Effects CC 2017.  Also, I’m awaiting release of the latest version  of Adobe After Effects CC Classroom in a Book 2017.

Please check back as I update this page with reference and tutorials for Adobe After Effects CC.   If you can’t wait, I’m sending you directly to Adobe After Effects CC to find out more.

Thank you!

Jannet Walsh

Watch entire Adobe After Effects Playlist

Animating Strokes with Effects in Adobe After Effects

This is an example of a simple animated graphic I created in Adobe Illustrator.  All the layers or paths were used for animating the logo using the stroke effect in Adobe After Effects.  You can also use an Adobe Photoshop PSD, not a JPEG or Tiff, must end in PSD, as all the layers are editable.


1.  Start in your Illustrator or Photoshop file, do a select all or lasso everything, go to edit, then copy.

2.  Go to Adobe After Effects, add layer, like a solid color gray. Go to Edit, paste on the layer in After Effects

3.  Go to Effects, then Generate, then select Stroke.  The strokes will appear from Illustrator or Photoshop file.

4.  In the Effects Panel, enable a stroke sequence

5.  Go to the Paint effect, turn on Transparency to make the logo or graphic visible.

6.  Set keyframes for the sequence animations.  You could have the graphic appear at about 2 seconds, End set at zero, then it will start to animate or build and finish about at 4 seconds, about 100%.

Music used in the video clip is  “Running Waters” by Audionautix from YouTube Audio Library, Creative Commons License.


Reference for Adobe After Effects CC

What is Adobe After Effects?

  • An application that’s a cross between Photoshop for still images, and Premiere Pro, video app.
  • Used to make motion graphics, animation and animated infographics.
  • Used with green screen, copying, rotoscoping.
  • Used dot make fairy dust, fire, advanced templates, fix video problems, retouch and repair video.

Six Main Areas of Adobe After Effects

  1. Compositions – Like containers with video and images sequences
  2. Layers – Blend modes, like layers in Adobe Photoshop
  3. Animation – Using  keyframes to create animation
  4. Effects – Like filters in Photoshop
  5. 3D – Three dimensional perspective with x, y and z points of reference
  6. Exporting and Rendering – Getting projects ready for use in video projects

Motion Graphics and video terminology

Key Frames – Records a specific parameter setting at a specific point in time for creating animation, generally needs at least one point of reference, with at least a second point for keyframe, likely many keyframes are used for one animation.

Codec – Used to compress and decompress video files, like QuickTime, Windows Media.  Example:  h.264 codec commonly used for video files for uploading to YouTube.

Render – The process of taking the layers of After Effects Composition and creating an external files that lives on its own, exported from AE, flattened and can be moved outside the application.  It’s a file that no longer editable, like file used for uploading to YouTube or Vimeo.

Alpha Channel -It’s the fourth channel that makes up a video signal.  It’s this channel that determines transparency.  (Other changes are red, green and blue.)

Masking and green screen – Used for mainly visual effects.  Example:  A mask is used of a person standing in front of a green screen so you only see the person, using the pen tool, same as in Photoshop.  Once applied it cuts out everything outside of the mask.

Green Screening – The software will analyze the background and take out any anything green pixels.  You can superimpose person on any other background, a process called creating a composition.  (Create teleport effect, Star Trek)

Rotoscope – Means to go through Frame by Frame and cut out something from the background.

Tracking – Two kind of tracking, single  track and camera track.
Single Point track – Software can look at  a single point on the screen and follow  it around the screen.  Example – Circles following  surfer

Camera Track – Software analyzes the footage and recreated a software camera.If you move through the scene with text it looks as if the text was there to start.

Keep software up to date  Use the Creative Cloud Download application – If you need an update, just check to update software.

Workspace –  There are several areas in the workspace for Adobe After Effects, looking like a mashup of Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Premiere Pro.

  • Adobe After Effects Window – Area you work on project
  • Tools panel – Row located just under top of window, workspace
  • Workspace bar – Top of window
  • Project panel – On upper left, with compositions in folders
  • Composition panel – Viewing area, center/upper right
  • Stacked panels – Layers area of compositions with video, images and image sequences, like the layers area in Adobe Photoshop
  • Time Graph – Lower right, like the time timeline sequence in Adobe Premiere Pro

Missing files – You will see color bars  if files are missing from your project.  You can search by typing Missing footage or other, right click, select  Replace footage with file, navigate to the folder you put it, save file and fix it.  Same thing with type kit.

Managing Keyboard Setting – How to reset on Mac – Go to System Preference, go to the keyboard section, use all F1 and F2 Function keys as standard function keys.   (Go to Help, keyboard short cuts in AE to work on shortcuts.

Exploring the interface of After Effects
A welcome window when you open After Effects window

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