Have you noticed that commercials, movies, and even your daily web videos have a lot of special effects lately? More pizzazz, with more flare and glamour? You’ve most likely seen work that was produced using Adobe’s animation program called After Effects. The program, now part of the Adobe production suite, is probably one of the most used applications in today’s media aside from NLEs (Non-Linear Editors). After Effects has been the standard for a number of years and it a must learn for any post-production staff.

With the current battle in Non-Linear Editors it’s hard to designate what NLE is the actual industry standard. It was Final Cut Pro 7 for the past several years, however once Apple dropped the ball on its recent Final Cut Pro X release it’s possible that we won’t have an “industry standard” again for a while. Avid’s Media Composer, Adobe’s Premier, Maya, and Final Cut Pro (7 or X) have become vastly used across the world for editing films, commercials, web videos, 3d animations etc, but what has seemed to be standard across the board is the use of AE (after effects).

The beauty of the 64bit Adobe program is that it is very universal, even for an Adobe product. Capable of working in and exporting several different codec types, this program plays well with all NLEs. Sure the process of getting the files can be a little tedious if you’re not using Automatic Duck or Premier, but nonetheless it’s much better than working with the clumsy and disorganized contender from Apple known as Motion.

After Effects can be used for so many things like keying, matting, compositing, color correction, special effects, text animation, 2.5 and 3D animations, movements and so much more. The program is extremely versatile and it continues to grow because companies are building for it. AE has one of the biggest plug-in libraries of any other program included in the Adobe suite.

One of the best plug-ins I have snatched up has been the Red Giant suite. I use Colorista for color correcting my sequences and Apple Pro Res 4444 files. This plug-in works exceptionally well especially for color correcting and reducing grain/noise from the DSLR clips when we use the 7Ds and 5Ds. Check out the Headdies I ♥ Christmas Trees web ad we did to see about the color correction and noise removal.


Another brilliant 3rd party plugin is called Twixtor from the creators of “RE:Vision Effects Inc.” This plugin is used for speed ramping and super slow motion. The program interpolated motion in each pixel to allow crisp and surreal slow motion movements.

The versatility doesn’t just stop there. Ever wonder how documentaries create those slow 3D looking photos? Adobe’s versatility with Illustrator and Photoshop is fantastic. From uploading individual layers from an Illustrator project to creating a floating head in Photoshop, it all happens within the Adobe suite with or without Adobe Bridge operating in the background. While you make adjustments to your animations in AE they will render in your current timeline within Premier. So if you think one of your lower thirds is animating too fast, go and change it in AE and flip back to Premier – it’s rendering right there so you can hit the space bar and continue your editing!

At JVW Inc. we offer custom After Effects work. From logo animation to your video and commercial work we have it covered; we have After Effects editors that train in workflows and projects everyday. If you need a smooth logo or video effect… JVW Inc. is your one-stop-shop to get it done.

Michael Belardi