After Effects Preview

Coolest. Effects. Ever.

This preview tutorial series preps students to learn how to integrate Adobe After Effects into their video workflow. While there is no Adobe Certified Associate yet for this software, we here on the ACATestPrep/Brainbuffet team have been working with Adobe on developing standards and expect to see a NEW ACA exam within the next year or so! This is of course, is not our decision to make- but we get the feeling there’s support from both Certiport and Adobe and suspect it will happen!

Keep checking back- this tutorial set will soon be available to our members to preview!

    Kaiden Barlow; Digital Compositor

    Joe Dockery

    Joe Dockery

    Video Kingpin!

    Joe Dockery teaches digital arts courses at Mount Si High School in the Snoqualmie Valley School District, Washington. He weaves community service into all aspects of his curriculum to ensure his students receive authentic learning experiences. Dockery also consults and trains nationwide on the use and integration of Adobe software.

    Special Note For Teachers:

    Editing video with Premiere Pro or After Effects will probably challenge your computer lab computers. It’s really important to have the right system setup for working with video! We recommend that you read this article from Adobe on “Improving Performance” when using After Effects. You might even want to share this with your tech people that help you manage your lab.

    We worked hard to keep the sample files (76 mb) for this course simple and small but it is still a good idea to have the class download one copy of the zip file and then distribute it through your school network or a bunch of flash drives. This might take a few minutes to download depending on your network speed. Downloading once and sharing locally will reduce the chances of crashing your network or getting our site blocked at your school or testing center.
    Pacing Guide

    We developed a pacing guide for the course that should help you in planning your delivery of the material. Remember that every student will work through the material at a different pace so try to build in some extra credit opportunities for your speedsters.


    Project 1 - Introduction


    PSST! You will need the sample files folder before you get started. Talk with your teacher about downloading so you can get a copy!
    Introduction to After Effects
    File management
    Importing and organizing media
    Interface overview

    Quiz 1


    Project 2 - Rightside Car Wash Commercial


    Project 3 - Animated Quote

    Project 3 – Company Slogan


    Configuring non-visible design tools
    Using non-visible design tools to layout composition
    Animating with the scale transformation
    Using the graph editor
    Exporting with Adobe Media Encoder

    Challenge Project:

    Find a short quote or goal statement to animate. Make sure to practice moving the anchor point and putting a little bounce in your scale.

    Quiz 3


    Project 4 - Mountain Outfitters Commercial

    Project 4 – Mountain Outfitters Commercial

    Applying and adjusting effects
    Converting vector graphics to shape layers
    Animating with the rotation transformation
    Exporting using the render queue

    Challenge Project:

    Take a photograph of your favorite club, sport or class to use as the background for this challenge project. Then animate some text or a logo onto the background using rotation and at least one other transformation property.

    Quiz 4


    5 - Mount Baker Commercial

    Project 5 – Mount Baker Commercial

    Using guides to layout design
    Working with typographical options
    Animating with the position transformation – Spacial Interpolation
    Animating with the position transformation – Mt Baker Project
    Using a track matte
    Exporting – Multiple exports with the Media Encoder

    Challenge Project:

    Take a selfie or use a great photograph of yourself as the background. Then animate your name onto the project using a track matte and position keyframes.

    Quiz 5


    6 - Cool Credits

    Project 6 – Cool Credits

    Storyboarding with a client
    Working with text
    Creating a new workspace
    Animating with the anchor and scale transformations
    Adjusting a motion path and easying keyframes
    Exporting and challenge projects

    Challenge Project:

    Find or take a photograph of a large group of objects, people or other things. This really helps if you start with a high-resolution image. Then zoom in/out of several locations using the anchor point and scale.

    Quiz 6


    7 -Travel Map

    Project 7 – Travel Map

    Planning Your Route
    Starting Your Map
    Designing a path
    Animating the path with the stroke effect
    Animating the stars
    Creating an expression controller
    Duplicating visual elements
    Exporting and challenge project example

    Challenge Project Ideas:

    This is your chance to be creative and practice the techniques, shortcuts, and workflow. Use your own images and try combining techniques for each of the lessons. This projects will be the video that you can add to your portfolio, they will be unique and personal so unleash your inner creative beast!

    Option 1: Use your school map to create an animated clip that illustrates the emergency exit routes. You could also twist this into designing parking routes or bus flows. I bet your old elementary school would love one!  Example

    Option 2: Design a treasure map and then animate at least 4 steps.

    Quiz 7


    8 -3D Projects

    Project 8 – 3D Effects

    Creating 3D Text
    Working with Lights
    Animating a 3D object
    Working with complex shape layers
    Animating your logo

    Challenge Project:

    Find a vector image of your school mascot or favorite pro team. Convert it into a 3D logo and animate it.

    Quiz 8


    9 -Tracking and Time


    10 - DJ Project

    Project 10 – DJ Project

    Organizing the project panel
    Project panel options
    Blend modes
    Keying out green screen with Keylight
    Green screen shooting techniques
    Obtaining permissions from models and “Greeking”
    Motion Tracking the eye
    Masking tools and techniques
    Time remapping
    Animating the mask

    Challenge Projects:

    Option 1: Try combining a variety of photos, video and text using blend modes and mattes to create a cool moving title for a project.
    Option 2: Shoot your own green screen footage and practice using Keylight to replace the background.
    Option 3: Take a photograph of your stereo and a snippet of a cool song to replicate this activity.

    Quiz 10


    11 - Sounds Awesome

    Project 11 – Sounds Awesome!

    Animating text on a path
    Connecting an effect to an audio track
    Converting audio to keyframes
    Using an expression to animate an effect to the audio keyframes
    Using Adobe Media Encoder to add meta data to your exports

    Challenge Project:

    Create a 10 second intro for your school television broadcast that includes at least one thing that is connected to the music. Try the audio waves effect and make sure to animate a little text on a path.

    Quiz 11


    12 - Master Of Puppets

    Project 12 – Master of Puppets

    Laying out the project
    Puppet pin tool
    Puppet starch tool
    Puppet Overlap tool
    Animating with the puppet tool

    Challenge Project:

    Find a photo of your favorite actor or cartoon character and use Photoshop to cut them out. Save the file as a .png file with a transparent background. Then use the puppet tool to animate the image.

    Quiz 12

    After Effects Practice Test

    Quiz yourself on EVERY question in all the After Effects quizzes here on ACATestPrep! Great practice and review for the real thing- and remember, when you miss a question… DON’T JUST MEMORIZE THE ANSWER! Figure out why you missed it, and if you aren’t totally solid on the concept, review the video that covered the concept.

    Certification is a nice piece of paper to have… but only because it opens doors to make movies for a living!!! Make sure you know what you need to know to have fun with After Effects as a hobby or a career! BOOM!

    Support Materials

    Quizlets: These are great as individual or partner study tools. You can download the app on your smart phone and study anytime!

    Kahoots: These are great as a whole class study tool. You can use them as an exit assessment or review before the exam. It will even give you a spreadsheet of your student results if you want to use it as a formative assessment tool.

    Study Guides: We have created some .pdf study guides that you can download or print off as references or study guides throughout the course. They focus on the keyboard shortcuts and After Effects Interface.