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Tag: After Effects tutorial (page 1 of 2)

Change Color of One Letter in After Effects

This tutorial teaches how to change the color of just one letter or word in a line of text in After Effects.

I show you two ways to change the color of text in After Effects. The first way is for static, one-time change of a color. The second way is to change the color over time (aka keyframing it).

Check out a previous tutorial I made that shows how to do this for an entire line of text here.

Music used in this video, “Upper East Side” by Mikey Geiger, was purchased and licensed through my friends at Soundstripe (affiliate link). For 10% off a subscription use the code EVF at checkout.

If you enjoyed this tutorial and want to stay in touch whenever I come out with a new post / podcast / video / newsletter / etc. you can go here to signup. No spam. Ever. Just the good stuff 😀

– Josh

Change Layer Name in After Effects

This tutorial explains how to change the name of a layer in Adobe After Effects and what the difference is between Source Name and Layer Name and how to toggle between the two.

Recapping Tutorial on How to Change the Name of a Layer in After Effects

In the timeline of your composition find the column called Source Name. To change the name of a layer, select the layer then hit the Return key. The text will highlight. Next change the name of the layer to whatever you want it to be. In the video I change the CmdEdit-Logo layer to just Logo.

Once you do this the first time the Source Name column will change to Layer Name. The rest of the layers that you haven’t renamed will get brackets [ ] around their name with the exception of light layers 💡.

There’s a number of reasons to do this but the big two for me are 1) if another editor or motion graphics artist will be using this project or 2) the source names just aren’t clean and you want your project a bit tidier. For a simple composition like in the video it won’t make much of a difference however when you get 75-100+ layers deep naming your layers matters so much!

If you want to go back and see the Source Name of the layers, click on the column heading that now says Layer Name and it’ll switch back. Repeat this step as needed.

That is how to change the name of a layer in After Effects. Hope you found this walk-through helpful!


Suggested Additional Viewing: Show and Hide Properties in After Effects Tutorial

Music used in this video, “Camino” by Matt Wigton, was purchased and licensed through my friends at Soundstripe (affiliate link). For 10% off a subscription use the code EVF at checkout.

If you enjoyed this tutorial on how to change the name of a layer in After Effects. Want to stay in touch whenever I come out with a new post, podcast, video, newsletter, etc.? You can go here to signup. No spam. Ever. Just the good stuff.

– Josh

Show and Hide Properties in After Effects

This tutorial covers different keyboard shortcuts in Adobe After Effects to show and hide layer properties. You’ll learn the transform shortcuts, how to show and hide keyframed properties, how to show and hide any altered property and more.

Recapping Tutorial on Show and Hide Properties

To show and hide the Transform properties in After Effects use the following keyboard shortcuts P.A.R.T.S. This is explained below. Select a layer and hit the p, a, r, t, or s key.

  • P = Position
  • A = Anchor Point
  • R = Rotation
  • T = Opacity (for this think T for o-pac-i-TEE or T for Transparency)
  • S = Scale

If you want to show multiple properties, hit one of the P.A.R.T.S. keys then hold Shift then hit another. You can add more than one property as well.

To show or hide the Masks properties of a layer hit the M key. If you hit the M key twice in a row rapidly it’ll show all the Mask parameters.

Next, if you want to see just the properties on layers with keyframes on them hit the U key. I recommend hitting Command+A (Mac) or Control+A (PC) first to select all the layers then hit the U key to see all keyframes on all properties on every layer. When you hit the U key twice in a row rapidly any property that has been adjusted will show up.

One last bonus tip! Hold down the Shift key plus the Option key (Mac) or Alt key (Windows) and click on a parameter and it’ll hide it from view.


Additional Suggested Viewing: Increment and Save in After Effects Tutorial

If you enjoyed this tutorial and want to stay in touch whenever I come out with a new post / podcast / video / newsletter / etc. you can go here to signup. No spam. Ever. Just the good stuff 😀

– Josh

How to Create a Grid in After Effects

This tutorial will teach you how to create a grid in After Effects. You’ll learn how to change the color of the grid, how to change the size of the grid and how to animate the grid.

Recapping Tutorial on How to Create a Grid in After Effects

To get started have After Effects open (obviously) and a Comp created. The size doesn’t matter but I’m working with 1920×1080 in the video. In the composition I have a white solid that’s the size of my Comp acting as the background.

Step 1: Apply Grid Effect to New Layer

Next find the Effects & Presets Panel. If you don’t have it open go under the Window menu at the top of the screen to open it up. Type in “grid” to find the grid effect. We’ll come back to this in a moment!

Grid Effect in Effects & Presets Panel in After Effects

Create a new solid in your Comp that’s the composition size. The color doesn’t matter. Name this layer Grid please. Take the Grid effect from the Effects & Presents Panel and drop it onto the layer you just created named Grid. When you do this it may look like nothing has happened if you’re using a white background like I am. Don’t worry, the grid is there. We just need to change the color.

Step 2: Adjusting the Grid

With the “Grid” layer selected, find the Effects Control Panel. In here you’ll see the Color parameter. Click the box and change the color to the color you want your grid to be.

Besides changing the color, there’s a couple other options you should mess around with. For starters I like to change the Size From setting from Center Point to Height & Width Sliders.

Grid Effect Settings for Size From in After Effects

The Width and Height sliders are now active in Effect Controls once you do this. The slider only goes to a value of 200 but you can manually type in a number larger than that if needed. In the video I use a value of 300 for the Width and Height.

Step 3: Change Location of Grid in After Effects

Next let’s change where the grid is on the screen. You do this by adjusting the Anchor parameter.

Grid Effect Controls in After Effects

Just like virtually any parameter in After Effects you can keyframe the Anchor for the Grid you are creating. Do this by clicking the Stopwatch next to Anchor. Move the time position indicator to another point in your Comp. Then change the Anchor values. Give it a RAM Preview and check it out.

Step 4: Other Parameters to Adjust

To change the thickness of the lines you’ll use the Border parameter. You can twirl down the Feather parameter to adjust the width and height of any feathering you want to do to the grid.

Lastly the Opacity parameter will make your grid more or less transparent. Mess around as needed! That is how to create a grid in After Effects.


You can download the After Effects project I used in the tutorial to create the grid here: Click here to download the After Effects Grid Tutorial Project


Additional Suggested Viewing: How to Create Guides in After Effects

Did you enjoy this video? If so, I’d love to keep in touch. All you have to do is go here to stay in the loop on new blog posts, tutorials, and announcements.

Export PSD Sequence in After Effects

Learn how to export a PSD Sequence in Adobe After Effects in this tutorial. I’ll walk you through how to send a Comp to the Render Queue and how to export it as a PSD Sequence into a folder.

Recapping Tutorial on How to Export a PSD Sequence in After Effects

Setting Up the Composition in After Effects

For this walk-through I have After Effects open with a Comp that has a solid and text layer that push on and off the screen. I’m going to show you how to export a PSD Sequence with an Alpha Channel so I can bring this into a video editing program like Premiere Pro or Avid Media Composer.

Sending Comp in After Effects to the Render Queue to Export PSD Sequence

With the Comp open, use the keyboard shortcut Command+Control+M (Mac) or go to the Composition menu at the top of the screen and choose Add to Render Queue. This will place your Comp into After Effect’s Render Queue.

Output Module Settings for PSD Sequence

In the Render Queue panel, find Output Module. Click where it says Lossless. The Output Module Settings window will appear. Find the Format dropdown. Choose Photoshop Sequence. If you want an Alpha Channel on the export, under the Channels dropdown you must choose RGB + Alpha. Click OK.

Settings to Export PSD Sequence in After Effects

Choosing the Correct Output To Settings for PSD Sequence

Back in the Render Queue panel, find Output To and open it up. When we export a PSD Sequence it’ll automatically create it into a subfolder. A PSD Sequence will export each frame of video as one PSD file. So you want these into a folder! Otherwise if you could accidentally export thousands of individual files to like your Desktop 😅. If you uncheck Save in subfolder then the files will get created to whatever folder you choose in the Output To window. Leaving that folder checked will create a subfolder with whatever name you give it in that space below the Save in subfolder option.

At the top of the Ouput To window you can rename the file. You must leave the _[#####].psd in place! Change whatever comes before the underscore if you’d like. Next click Render in the Render Queue panel. Then your Comp will be exported as a PSD Sequence!


Additional Suggested Viewing: How to Create a Grid in After Effects

Did you enjoy this video? If so, I’d love to keep in touch. All you have to do is go here to stay in the loop on new blog posts, tutorials, and announcements.

Create Glow in After Effects

This video tutorial and article walks you through how to quickly create a glow effect on a layer in Adobe After Effects.

This is a super simple way to make your clip, solid, or shape glow.

Recapping Tutorial on How to Create a Glow in After Effects

In the video I start with a solid with a mask as my layer. It doesn’t matter if it’s a solid, text, still image, or video as the layer. Right-click on the layer and navigate to Layer Styles. Inside Layer Styles find Outer Glow and click it.

Once the Outer Glow is applied you might not be able to see it since the default glow is quite small. In the layer you applied the Outer Glow to, find Outer Glow and twirl it open.

There are a number of parameters you can chance. Start with Size so you can make the glow larger or smaller if desired. It’s pretty difficult to see the glow when the layer is selected so hit F2 to deselect all layers. This makes it much easier to see the glow in the Composition panel.

Other parameters to keep your eye on are Color, Opacity, and Spread.

Glow Parameters to Adjust for Layer in After Effects

Just like any other parameter in After Effects you can keyframe them. In the video I add keyframes for Size, hit F9 to add Easy Ease to them, and then RAM Preview the result. This faded on the glow effect for the layer.

That’s how to create a glow quickly in After Effects.


Additional Suggested Viewing: Increment and Save in After Effects Tutorial

If you enjoyed this tutorial and want to stay in touch whenever I come out with a new post, podcast, video, newsletter, etc. you can go here to signup. No spam. Ever. Just the good stuff. 😀

– Josh

Black and White in After Effects

This tutorial is on how to change a clip to black and white and how to keyframe a clip from color to black and white in Adobe After Effects.

Recapping the Tutorial

Using Hue/Saturation to Make Clip Black and White

To begin make sure you have a comp open with the clip in the timeline that you want to make black and white. Next find the Effects & Presets panel. Under Color Correction is the Hue/Saturation effect. You can also find this by starting to type in “hue” or “saturation” in the search field. Take the Hue/Saturation effect and drop it onto the clip in the timeline. This will open up the Effect Controls panel.

To make the clip black and white in After Effects we want to remove all saturation from it. In the Effect Controls panel find the Master Saturation parameter. Drag it down to -100 or type in -100. As you drag the slider you can see the clip change from color to black and white.

Hue/Saturation Effect Controls in After Effects to Make Clip Black and White

The entire clip is now black and white. But what if we want to make this into a transition from color to black and white?

Transitioning from Color to Black and White

Place the time position indicator in the timeline to where you want the clip to become fully black and white in the transition. Remember, the clip should already be black and white based on what we just did above. We’re going to work backwards and put the clip back to color to create the transition after making some keyframes.

In the Effect Controls panel find Channel Range and click the stopwatch next to it. This creates a keyframe for the Master Saturation parameter in the Hue/Saturation effect.

Select the layer in the timeline and hit the “U” key. This shows all the keyframed properties for that layer. Move the time position indicator to where you want the transition to start. Go back up to Master Saturation in the Effects Control panel. Set the Master Saturation to zero (o). Do not set it to 100. Try it if you want but this is probably not what you want. Zero (0) = no change to the clip.

Go ahead and RAM Preview. You’ve now made a clip black and white in After Effects and also created a transition from color to black and white. Congrats!


Question of the Week #1: What effects do you combine with black and white clips?

Question of the Week #2: This question is just for those who watch my tutorials on the website and not on YouTube! What genre do you want to edit in that you never have before? My answer is in the comments!


Additional Suggested Viewing: Keyframing Text Color in After Effects Tutorial

Did you enjoy this video? If so, I’d love to keep in touch. All you have to do is go here to stay in the loop on new blog posts, tutorials, and announcements.

After Effects Masks Tutorial

This tutorial is an overview of creating and manipulating masks in Adobe After Effects. We’ll go through how to create them using the shape tools and the pen tool then how to manipulate them.

Recapping the Creating Masks Tutorial in After Effects

To begin have After Effects open and create a new Comp. The composition’s details don’t necessarily matter for this tutorial but I’m using 1920×1080. In the Comp create a new Solid by hitting Command+Y if you’re on a Mac or Control+Y if you’re on a PC. Make the Solid the Comp size and give it a color that isn’t black.

Creating Masks in After Effects Using Shape Tools

In the Toolbar find the Shape Tools. There are five different Shape Tools — Rectangle Tool, Rounded Rectangle Tool, Ellipse Tool, Polygon Tool, and Star Tool. The keyboard shortcut is “Q” and if you keep hitting “Q” it will cycle through the different Shape Tools. I typically stick with the Rectangle Tool or Ellipse Tool (it should be called a Circle Tool, guys).

Shape Tools in After Effects for Creating Masks

Activate the Shape Tool you want to use to create the mask. With the Solid layer selected, click inside the Composition Panel and draw a shape. This creates a mask, hiding the part that isn’t inside the shape you drew. But let’s say you want it to be the opposite.

With the Solid layer selected, hit the “M” key to bring up the Masks parameters for the layer. The Mask parameters should already be up if you just performed this action. Hitting the “M” key twice in a row will make all the Mask parameters appear so you don’t have to twirl it open. For the Mask’s mode change it from Add to Subtract.

Mask Parameters and Modes in After Effects

Under these Masks parameters you’ll notice some other options. You can feather the mask, change it’s opacity, and adjust it’s expansion.

To remove a Mask on a layer select the Mask in the timeline and hit delete or backspace.

Creating a Mask in After Effects Using the Pen Tool

Activate the Pen Tool in the Toolbar or by using the keyboard shortcut “G”. I have no clue why “G” is the shortcut. With the Pen Tool you can create whatever kind of shape you want. Click in the Composition Panel to start creating your shape. Click around to make the different points/sides of the shape then to close the shape and finish your masterpiece click on the very first point that you made. You’ll notice a the box for this point is larger than the rest and the Pen Tool has a small circle next to the cursor when you hoover over this box — this signifies that this is the first point on the Mask’s path.

How to Manipulate Masks in After Effects

Whether you created a mask using one of the Shape Tools or Pen Tool you’ll adjust it the same way. If you want to move the entire mask, select the mask in the Timeline. You’ll notice all the boxes around the mask in the Comp are now filled in and selected. Click any of the boxes and drag it around the Composition Panel. Alternative you can use the arrow keys to move the mask.

To add a point to the mask, activate the Pen Tool (doesn’t matter how the mask was created initially). Then click on the part of the mask path where you want to create a new point. You’ll notice the cursor will have a plus (+) icon next to it when it’s on a blank spot of the mask path. Once created, click the box and drag it wherever you’d like. You can do the same with any other point as well.

To move multiple points at the same time, select a point then hold down shift and select the other point(s). Then you can click and drag the points or use the arrow keys and they’ll move as one.

In order to make a point that’s rounded or change a rounded point to straight, hold down the Option if you’re on a Mac or Alt if you’re on a PC and click one of the points.


Masks create a ton of possibilities. This tutorial on Masks in After Effects should have given you a basic overview on how to get started with them. Please leave a comment if you have any questions.


Additional Suggested Viewing: Show and Hide Properties Tutorial in After Effects

Did you enjoy this video? If so, I’d love to keep in touch. All you have to do is go here to stay in the loop on new blog posts, tutorials, and announcements.

– Josh

Create Guides in After Effects

This tutorial is on how to create guides in Adobe After Effects. I’ll show you how to create them, move them around, snap elements to them, show/hide them and remove them.

Before you watch it I want to give you fair warning! I recorded it sitting in my car while waiting in an enormous line to get my car inspected but I think it turned out pretty good. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Recapping Tutorial on How to Create Guides in After Effects

Create Guides in After Effects

The first thing you need to do to create guides in After Effects is go up to the Rule menu and select Show Rulers. Alternatively you can use the keyboard shortcut Command+R (Mac) or Control+R (PC). The rulers will now appear to the top and to the left of the Composition monitor.

To create a guide, click inside on of the rulers and drag it into the Composition monitor. When you release your mouse the guide will stick to that point. Remember, these guides do not appear on final output. They are only there to help you position objects in the Composition monitor.

To move a guide, make sure the Selection Tool is active (just hit the “V” key first) then click on a guide and move it. You can add as many as you want.

Composition Panel in After Effects with Guides Created

Snap to Guides

As an example, create a new Solid. Use the keyboard shortcut Command+Y (Mac) or Control+Y (PC). Then draw a quick mask around it. Activate the Selection Tool and move the Solid around. If snapping is on, then the Solid will stick to the guides.

Go up to the View menu and find Snap to Guides. Turn this on or off as desired. The keyboard shortcut is Shift+Command+; (Mac) or Shift+Control+; (PC).

Removing Guides

To remove a guide, first make sure your Selection Tool is active. Then click on the guide and drag it into the ruler. Repeat as needed!

Show/Hide Existing Guides

If you want to keep the guides but just don’t want to see them then you need to hide them. Go up to the View menu and select Show Guides. You can use the keyboard shortcut Command+; (Mac) or Control+; (PC).

This will alternate between showing or hiding the guides each time this is performed.


Additional Recommended Viewing: Convert Text to Paragraph or Point in After Effects

Remember to subscribe to my YouTube channel or email list (or both!) to be first to hear about new tutorials for After Effects, Avid Media Composer, Photoshop and more. I try to keep them pretty short — about 1:30-3:00 generally. Is there anything you’d like to see next?

Convert Text to Paragraph or Point in After Effects

Hey there! This tutorial is on how to convert paragraph text to point text or vice versa in Adobe After Effects. Let me know what you think, if you found this helpful and other tutorials you’d like to see in the future.

Recapping the Tutorial

Understanding Point Text vs. Paragraph Text in After Effects

First, you need to understand the difference between Point Text and Paragraph Text in After Effects. When you have Point Text, when you click on one of the boxes that surrounds the text and pull it the text will be scaled. This can be useful but I often find myself working with Paragraph Text.

With Paragraph Text, when you pull one of the boxes that surrounds the text you expand or shrink the area where the text can go. The scaling of the text is done using the parameters in the Character Panel.

Converting Text in After Effects

To begin you need text. Type some text in After Effects that you will be converting using the Title Tool. Next hit the “V” key to activate the Selection Tool if you want to move it around.

In order to convert the text make sure your Title Tool is active. To activate it use the keyboard shortcut Command+T (Mac) or Control+T (PC). Then right-click on one of the boxes that surrounds the text in the composition monitor. Choose Convert to Paragraph Text or Convert to Point Text.

That is how to convert text in After Effects. Hope you learned something new!


Additional Suggested Viewing & Reading:

I have a ton more tutorials on After Effects, Avid Media Composer, Photoshop, etc. I appreciate any input you have to make these tutorials better. If there’s anything you want me to show you let me know below in the comments section. Remember to subscribe here to get notified when there’s a new post here on Edit Video Faster.