40 Fantastic Special Effects Tutorials for After Effects

By on Motion Design

After Effects might seem intimidating but once you master a few tricks, it becomes an indispensable tool in your motion graphic and video editing projects. What’s even better, you don’t have to spend years to master the program. There are hundreds of After Effects tutorials available online, suitable for any skill level.

We’ve rounded up the best Adobe After Effects tutorials that will help you add fantastic special effects to your videos. Use them to learn something new and take your skills to the next level.

The tutorials have been split into the following three sub-categories: Special Effects, Animation Effects and Text & Title Effects.

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Special Effects

How To Create A Miniature Effect in After Effects

Save yourself some money on tilt-shift camera lenses and use this tutorial on how to recreate the same effects with Adobe After Effects. This tutorial has a video walkthrough as well as a written version.

How To Create A Miniature Effect in After Effects

How to Create Hand-Drawn Animations in After Effects

Laura Hawk shows us how she uses a combination of Adobe Illustrator and After Effects to create an effect that feels like cel animation without spending hours of time painstakingly drawing each frame by hand.

How to Create Hand-Drawn Animations in After Effects

How to Create a Cinematic with After Effects

Learn how to manipulate light levels and create film quality scenes all in Adobe After Effects with this video tutorial. Learn how to use null objects and how to create spotlights that will make your scenes stand out.

How to Create a Cinematic with After Effects

Electric Elements After Effects Template (with Envato Elements Subscription)

Make your videos stand out with this wonderful resource of animated electrical flash art. Completely customizable and each animation has its own special sound effect included.

Electric Elements After Effects Template

How To Create A HUD Eye Effect

Use this video tutorial to create a stunning heads up display all focused around the eye’s iris. Learn how to add a bionic ring, then add a scanning effect, and finishes off with a complete screen display.

How To Create A HUD Eye Effect

How to Create an After Effects Halftone Effect

With this video tutorial you will learn how to take a still image and transform it into a halftone image in Adobe After Effects. You can use this effect to make wonderful transitions between videos or as a standalone image.

How to Create an After Effects Halftone Effect

How to Create a Fake Tilt-Shift Effect

Learn how to apply a fake tilt shift effect in Adobe After Effects. You will learn how to apply this to a still image, however you can apply the same process to all your motion videos.

How to Create a Fake Tilt-Shift Effect

How to Create a Translucent Glass Effect

Learn how to create and use a fogged glass effect in this video tutorial. You will learn how to use this displacement effect to its fullest and create eye catching visuals that wow.

How to Create a Translucent Glass Effect

How to Create Meteorological Effects in After Effects

In this video tutorial you will learn how to transpose inclement weather onto clear days and produce a full range of lightning effects.

How to Create Meteorological Effects in After Effects<

How to Create an Anime-Style Explosion in After Effects

Creating anime explosions doesn’t have to be hard and it certainly won’t be after you watch this tutorial. You will learn the basic concepts as well as create your very own anime explosions.

How to Create an Anime-Style Explosion in After Effects

Cartoon Elements After Effects Template (with Envato Elements Subscription)

Need something a little on the light hearted side? Look no further than this cartoon elements pack. It’s a great choice when you need to add a dose of fun to your projects.

Cartoon Elements After Effects Template

How To Clone & Interact with Yourself in After Effects

No need to build a cloning machine in order to have two of yourself on screen! In this video tutorial you will learn how to master the art duplicating yourself into the same scene at the same time from different areas.

How To Clone Interact with Yourself in After Effects

How to Pull Someone into Another World

In this video tutorial you will learn how to use a green screen and multiple video files that will be blended together to make a singular scene. You can then use the process on any number of projects!

How to Pull Someone into Another World

How to Create Cosmic Glows & Lighting Effects

In this master class style tutorial, you will learn the process for creating cosmic motion graphic using primary and auxiliary particle effects and how to get that perfect still image for your next branding campaign.

How to Create Cosmic Glows & Lighting Effects

How to Create a Powerful Sun Effect in After Effects

With this video tutorial you will learn how to create the scorching effects of any sun or star close by. You will learn how to create a 3D star, add in the flaring effects and make it feel really hot.

How to Create a Powerful Sun Effect in After Effects

Animation Effects

How to Create a Colorful Glitch Effect

Learn how to create a stunning glitch effect that will add a splash of action whenever you need it. This is a wonderful way to mark stark changes between scenes or words.

How to Create a Colorful Glitch Effect

How To Create A Faux 3D Spin Effect In After Effects

Easily create a faux 3D effect on a can using a combination of scripts and keyframe usage. You will be able to spin a full-labled can into any scene!

How To Create A Faux 3D Spin Effect In After Effects

How to Create 3D Animated Icons

Find out how to animate icons in 3D in Adobe After Effects using this comprehensive tutorial without needing 3d software like Maya or Cinema 4D.

How to Create 3D Animated Icons

Hi-Tech HUD Logo Reveal Template (with Envato Elements Subscription)

If you love glitchy animation, futuristic neon looks and a HUD feel; then this resource pack is all you need for your next logo reveal snippet. It includes a step by step tutorial to help you get the most out of it.

Hi-Tech HUD Logo Reveal Template

How to Create a Moving Van with Wiggle Expressions

Give motion to a truck to simulate it actually being driven, all by using a simple wiggle expression. You will learn how to give the wheels motion as well as make it seem like the truck is being propelled in a direction of your choosing.

How to Create a Moving Van with Wiggle Expressions

How to Create a Flat Design Conceptual Animation

In this video tutorial you will learn how to create a flat design image and then how to animate it for your next brand promotional, GIF, or video. Follow these steps to ensure you never miss your mark!

How to Create a Flat Design Conceptual Animation

How to Create an Animated Paper Box Intro

Create a 2D animation that you will then use in Cinema 4D as a texture to create a vivid animation through multiple Mograph clones in both space and time.

How to Create an Animated Paper Box Intro

150 Splatter Animation Templates (with Envato Elements Subscription)

Need to save time drawing out those energy flashes, streaks, slashes, or blasts? Then this resource pack is perfect for you. With 150 different splatter effects and 10 different text effects that will speed up your next project.

150 Splatter Animation Templates

How to Create an Animated Polygon

In this video tutorial you will learn how easy it is to make an animated polygon that transitions through multiple variations featuring current and retro logos. The hardest part is just getting started!

How to Create an Animated Polygon

How to Create Dynamic Bar Graphs in After Effects

Get creative and make a graph video with just dynamic bars to make your graph. Using a single animation repeated for each bar, you can easily set your values and show off how your video is going through the roof!

How to Create Dynamic Bar Graphs in After Effects

How to Create an Audio Spectrum in Adobe After Effects

With this tutorial you will learn how to make a colorful rendition of an audiofile using the audio spectrum in Adobe After Effects.

How to Create an Audio Spectrum in Adobe After Effects

Liquid FX Animation Pack (with Envato Elements Subscription)

Save time on your next project with this resource that includes more than 100 animated splashes and strokes as well as 10 fullscreen transitions that are completely customizable.

Liquid FX Animation Pack

How To Create Animated Fire In After Effects

Follow this video tutorial the next time you need a cartoon flaming log. This tutorial gives a step by step instructions on how to create a multiple colored animated fire atop a shaped log.

How To Create Animated Fire In After Effects

How To Animate Liquid In After Effects

In this video tutorial you will learn how to magically fill a cup with a carbonated orange liquid. By using a combination of two different toned colors and a bubble generator, you can easily make this animation.

How To Animate Liquid In After Effects

How To Create Animated Backgrounds in After Effects

Learn how to create a background that has an animation of a several different trees sprouting. This animated background is sure to be an evergreen hit.

How To Create Animated Backgrounds in After Effects

How to Animate Vector Illustrations with After Effects

Ever wanted colors and shapes coming together to form recognizable items? Then look no forward than this tutorial where you will learn how to animate a computer, iPod, and a controller in a few quick and easy steps.

How to Animate Vector Illustrations with After Effects

How to Create Flying Drops with Simple 2D Vector Animation

Learn how to draw and animate vector liquid droplets with only the pen tool and without needing extra plugins or extra effects. Because the droplets are vector based, you can make them as big or as small as you need them to be!

How to Create Flying Drops with Simple 2D Vector Animation

How to Create and Animate a Cartoon Character

Go on a step by step journey and take a hand drawn character, import it into Adobe Illustrator and recreate the character so that it is ready to be animated. Then finish off in After Effects!

How to Create and Animate a Cartoon Character

How to Animate a 16-Bit Game Character

Motion graphics designer James May gives us a step by step tutorial on how to create an animated loading screen that has the retro 16bit feel. Although this is a build upon tutorial, all the required files are available to follow along.

How to Animate a 16-Bit Game Character

How to Create 3D topographic Maps in After Effects

In this video tutorial you will learn how to make topographical maps in both 2D and 3D versions. This will include animations that start simple and can grow to be quite complex.

How to Create 3D topographic Maps in After Effects

How to Cretae a Glitch Logo Animation

In this video tutorial you will learn how to create a glitching effect that can be used on any text, animation, logo, or image. Use this effect to spice up your next video.

How to Cretae a Glitch Logo Animation

Text & Title Effects

How to Create a Hollywood-style Movie Title

In this step by step tutorial you will learn the concepts and skills needed to make film worthy title screens. This is a multi program tutorial using concepts in Cinema 4D, Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Illustrator.

How to Create a Hollywood-style Movie Title

How to Create the True Detective Titles in AE

Easily recreate the title sequence that is used for the HBO show True Detective. This tutorial shows you how to use several pieces of different media to make one perfect title screen.

How to Create the True Detective Titles in AE

How To Create Neon Text In After Effects

With this video tutorial you will learn how to create text that looks ready for nightlife. The neon lighting effect is complete with the starting flicker to completely on state.

How To Create Neon Text In After Effects

PolyNoise Alphabet – Animated Typeface Template (with Envato Elements Subscription)

Instead of learning how to individually create a glitched letter effect, use this template. You will get both upper and lower case letters, numbers 0-9, and commonly used punctuation and symbols.

PolyNoise Alphabet - Animated Typeface Template

How to Create a Vintage Typewriter Key Logo Design

With this video tutorial you will be able to create 3D vintage type keys that can be animated in several different ways for use in your next project. You will need to install the plugin offered with the tutorial.

How to Create a Vintage Typewriter Key Logo Design

How to Create Kinetic Typography in After Effects

In this first part of a three part video tutorial you will learn how to create, animate, and sync up the audio in this kinetic typography video. By the time you are done with this series you will be a true kinetic master.

How to Create Kinetic Typography in After Effects

How to Create Morphing Letters in After Effects

Learn how to seamlessly morph one letter into the next with this video tutorial! This skill set will make sure you can get that A on your next video.

How to Create Morphing Letters in After Effects

Essential Titles Template (with Envato Elements Subscription)

Save time, money, and energy with this essential tile template resource. Fully customizable and completely animated, this typography will be sure to stand out wherever you use them.

Essential Titles Template

How to Create Action Titles With Glitch Effects

With this tutorial you will learn how to truly get realistic glitchy effects for your typography needs. This step by step video shows you exactly how to pull together several different effects almost effortlessly.

How to Create Action Titles With Glitch Effects

How to Create a Text Path Animation in After Effects

This video tutorial will show you how to use the text path animation to easily create animated typography. You can use the techniques used in this tutorial in multiple ways ranging from drawn out letters to colorized shapes!

How to Create a Text Path Animation in After Effects

Minimal Glitch Titles Pack (with Envato Elements Subscription)

No need to learn how to create your own glitch effects when you can save time with this glitch titles resource pack. It contains 200 fully customizable animated tiles, a comprehensive scene library and includes sound effects.

Minimal Glitch Titles Pack

How to Create a Rich Typographic Animation Effect

Learn how to manipulate shapes in a way that will inspire when you put it all together in a beautiful to watch manner with this video tutorial. No plugins or multiple shape layers to worry about.

How to Create a Rich Typographic Animation Effect


With the help of the tutorials, you will become an After Effects pro and be able to take your video and motion graphic skills to the next level. We hope these tutorials teach you something new and inspire your creativity.