Course: After Effects for Graphic Design

After Effects for Graphic Design

  • Life Time Access
  • Certificate on Completion
  • Access on Android and iOS App
  • Self-Paced
About this Course

As a designer, you’re constantly challenged to create new and compelling imagery for your projects. That sometimes requires new tools. After Effects is known for animation, but it's also a powerful program for graphic designers. Its panels and basic features are similar to Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, which makes After Effects easier for designers to learn. This course offers a unique workflow, combining Photoshop with After Effects to create stunning, unique, and professional-quality assets for print, web, and photography. Instructor Chris Converse — founding partner of Codify Design Studio — shows how to create special effects, add dramatic lighting to photos, color key images, build textures and patterns, and generate artwork from almost nothing, producing effects like water, bubbles, lightning, and rain. The course is for any designer—even if you’ve never used After Effects before. Chris demos each example step by step, and shows how the results can be used in real-world design projects.

Who is the target audience?

  • Graphic Designers
  • Photographers
  • Illustrators
  • Web Designers
  • Ayone who wants to create visually stunning artwork
Basic knowledge
  • Some knowledge of Photoshop is helpful
What you will learn
  • Create jaw-dropping visuals in just a few minutes
  • Create unique artwork for any design project
  • Enhance photographs with lighting and special effects
  • Enhance illustrations and artwork with high quality effects
  • Generate unique patterns and textures from any image
  • Learn to combine After Effects and Photoshop to design amazing graphics
Number of Lectures: 29
Total Duration: 02:33:34
  • Using After Effects for design projects  

    This course is very different from most other After Effects courses in that we’re going to be focusing on using After Effects for print design, photography, web graphics, illustration... and well, any type project you can imagine. Because... at it’s core, After Effects is a design tool, and it works just like other tools you may be familiar with from Adobe — most notably — Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign.

  • About the exercise files  

    ** NOTE: Download the exercise files from Section 2, Lecture 7 video (Creating an Editorial Graphic) **

    The exercise files for this course include a series of assets that you can use to follow along with me during the course. I would also encourage you to use some of your own artwork as well.

    When you unzip the assets, there will be a few main folders — Chapter 1, Chapter 2 and so on… that correspond to the chapters in the course.

  • A brief intro to After Effects  

    After Effects works in much the same way as Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign. In fact, the main panels in After Effects function the same way as panels in the other apps... the only real difference is what they are named. The Timeline panel in After Effects works like the Layers panel in the other apps, the Composition panel is similar to an Artboard in Illustrator, the Canvas in Photoshop, or a page in InDesign.

  • Getting comfortable with the After Effects interface  

    I'll be using the Creative Cloud 2018 version of After Effects, however, most of this course will work back the Creative Suite versions of After Effects. So, let’s launch the application. To begin, let’s choose the Small Screen workspace by going to the Window menu, and choosing Workspaces, then Small Screen.

  • Importing Photoshop files  

    After Effects can import a wide range of file types — including many graphic file formats, some 3d formats, and of course, a range of video formats. When importing Photoshop files, After Effects has two options… so I wanted to discuss those options.

    For these examples, you don’t need to follow along

  • Exporting Photoshop, JPG and PNG files  

    The key way we can use After Effects artwork in non-video related projects is to export a composition directly to the Photoshop format — complete with layers and full transparency support.

    Photoshop is one of the most widely used graphics applications, and it’s native PSD format is compatible with a wide range of other applications — from other Creative Cloud applications by Adobe — to all kinds of other applications available for both desktop computers and mobile devices.

Creating Special Effects
  • Creating an editorial graphic  

    ** NOTE: Download the exercise files from this video **

    We are always being asked to create some unique imagery for articles, blog posts and advertisements — and a lot of times we try to tell a story with the image. In this example, we’ll use the shatter effect for a sports blog post. I got this basketball from Adobe Stock... and I’d like to thank the Stock Team for giving us written permission to include a watermarked version of this photo in the exercise files for you to use in this course.

  • Creating an editorial graphic - Resource File  
  • Add a dramatic lighting effect  

    The Light Rays effect allows you to add, or enhance, the lighting in a graphic or photograph. We discussed the various import options from Photoshop in more detail in the introduction chapter. Now you can try this effect with any image or photograph... to see what kind of dramatic effects you can create. For my final photo, I added levels and hue saturation in addition to light rays to create this final image.

  • Adding a Page Curl  

    In this example, we’ll create a page curl effect. This effect allows you to simulate a physical page being curled, or turned, over as you flip pages in a printed booklet. We’ll use this effect to show the rich content that is contained in a printer catalogue that is being made available through a website.

  • Creating a burst of light  

    In this lesson we'll take a look at the Light Burst effect — which works a little differently than the Light Rays effect we looked at earlier. And we’ll apply this effect to a text layer — so that’ll give us a chance to work with text in After Effects as well. We used this technique in two different social media advertisements. And in each case, we changed the center point of the light burst to match the background photo.

  • Color keying for transparent imagery  

    At our design company, we’re always masking and silhouetting images and photographs. In this lesson, we’ll take a look at a very fast way to remove a solid background color from an image. Now while this is possible to do in Photoshop, After Effects makes this really quick and easy. Once you have created your key, save the composition as Photoshop layers to incorporate the final transparent graphic into your layout.

  • Color keying for advanced transparency – part 1  

    It can be difficult to cut items out of a photo that are transparent, like glass or water. And even with the keying tools in After Effects, we can’t always get the perfect settings — so we’ll key this image twice, in two layers, in After Effects — then blend them together in Photoshop using layer masks. In this first part, we’ll create our two keyed versions in After Effects

  • Color keying for advanced transparency – part 2  

    It this lesson, we’ll continue from the previous lesson by combining the two keyed versions of the almonds photo in Photoshop. So if you’ve been following along, you have the almonds.psd file opened in Photoshop. We used this more advanced technique so we could use this image on an poster to promote healthy snacking at the beach.

Creating Patterns and Textures
  • Creating a kaleidoscope pattern  

    In this lesson, we’ll create a repeating pattern from an image using the CC Kaleida effect. Now, if you’re following along, I’ll be starting my kaleidoscope from the amsterdam.jpg file located in folder 1 of the Chapter 2 folder in the exercise files... however, I would encourage you to use any image file you have — since this effect can make a great kaleidoscope from just about any image

  • Generating a unique texture  

    Now we’ll take a look at an effect that is similar to the kaleidoscope effect in the previous lesson, however, this one has some interesting options. So, if you’re following along, we in Folder 2 of the Chapter 2 folder of the Exercise Files. Now just like with the kaleidoscope patterns we made earlier, there’s almost no limit to the number of unique textures you can create from a single image.

  • Create line art from a photo  

    Some effects allow you to create patterns from the contents of the photo. The CC Plastic effect allows you to create, and stylize highlights based on the bright areas of your image. If you’re following along, we’ll start in folder 3 of the Chapter 2 folder in the Exercise Files. Now since lighting will vary in most photographs, and the effect may not be perfectly uniform across the image — however, this image gave me enough of a consistent pattern that I was able to use it in my project.

  • Shapes with radio waves  

    In this lesson, we’ll create a line art pattern with a star shape using the Radio Waves effect. And for this lesson, we’ll create a serial plane effect using only After Effects. We used this technique to create a pattern for the cover cover of a brochure — which helped add some texture to the design.

  • Interlocking zig zag pattern  

    In this lesson we’ll take a look at the CC Jaws effect — which allows us to create a zig zag pattern that's fully adjustable. If you're following along, we’ll start in folder 5 in the Chapter 2 folder of the exercise files. And at this point, I saved this composition to Photoshop, then imported it into InDesign to create this posted to promote a local art show.

Generating Artwork from (Almost) Nothing
  • Enhancing an illustration with lightning  

    There are lots of effects in After Effects that can generate artwork from nothing but a blank layer. In this example, we’ll add some lightning to an illustration. If you’re following along, we’ll be in Folder 1 of the Chapter 3 folder of the Exercise Files. Here I have two After Effects project files. The AEP file is for those using the 2018 Creative Cloud version of After Effects... and the AEPX file can be imported into earlier versions of After Effects.

  • Enhancing an illustration with rain  

    In this lesson, we’ll use the CC Rainfall effect to add rain to this illustration. Now if you’re following along from the previous lesson, you can keep working in that same file where we added the lightning. However, if you’re just joining us, I’ll be starting from Folder 2 of the Chapter 3 folder of the Exercise Files. Here I have two After Effects project files. The AEP file is for those using the 2018 Creative Cloud version of After Effects... and the AEPX file can be imported into earlier versions of After Effects.

  • Creating a water surface — part 1  

    For this next effect, we’ll create a water surface texture by blurring and stretching some fractal noise, applying the CC Glass effect... then adding a color gradient over top of the texture — creating this graphical effect. And we’ll complete this technique over the next three videos... so here in part 1, let’s begin with a new project in After Effects.

  • Creating a water surface — part 2  

    This is part 2 of creating a water surface texture... we’re continuing from the previous lesson where we nested the fractal for water composition into the water composition. Now that we have something that looks more the surface of water... in the next lesson we’ll add some color to the overall effect.

  • Creating a water surface — part 3  

    This is part 3 of creating a water surface texture lesson... and all we have left to do is apply a color gradient to our texture. So we’ll be continuing with our nested, 3d enabled composition layer. I used this technique when creating a design element for a conference — we used this artwork on a 38 inch by 58 inch poster of the event schedule that was displayed at the venue.

  • Making realistic melted chocolate - part 1  

    In this lesson, we’ll use a similar technique as with creating the water surface, but with a radio wave pattern instead of fractal noise. So with our base pattern created, next we’ll add this composition to the main composition, and apply CC Glass and a 4-color gradient to complete the effect.

  • Making realistic melted chocolate - part 2  

    This is part two of creating melted chocolate. We’ll be continuing from the last video with our 3d enabled solid containing our radio wave pattern. We used this technique to create a chocolate texture for an advertisement... we composited the texture with a photo, made some color adjustments to the texture to match the color of the chocolates in the photo, then set the text.

  • Creating bubbles for champagne — part 1  

    In this two part lesson, we’ll take a look at using a particle system to create bubbles for a glass of champagne. We’ll start by creating particles in After Effects... then we’ll bring our particle artwork over to Photoshop to apply masking and 3D effects. Particle systems allow you to create very intricate and amorphous textures.

  • Creating bubbles for champagne — part 2  

    This is part 2 of creating bubbles for champagne. If you've been following along, we've completed creating a particle system in After Effects, and now we're ready to mask and apply special effects in Photoshop. By the end of this lesson we’ll have added bubbles to our glass of champagne by making use of a particle system in After Effects, and some masking and layer effects in Photoshop.

Where to go from here
  • Where to go from here  

    I hope you found some of the examples in this course inspiring, and I hope they motivated you to create your own unique artwork with After Effects. And don’t limit yourself to only the Effects and settings that I used in this course — experiment with different effects and settings on your own photos and artwork. And remember to add enough pixels to your Compositions so that you can use your artwork for any medium.

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