By Joseph Rauch on

If you’re a video editor or a member of a content marketing team that wants to have stellar post-production in all its videos, Adobe After Effects (written with C++) is an essential skill. It allows you to add motion graphics and visual effects like animations to videos so you can spice up your content. To become a video editor and make a median salary of $48,000/year, you’ll need to have Adobe After Effects as one of your strongest skills.

Adobe After Effects is a great skill to learn via online education because there is a lack of courses on Adobe skills in the traditional college experience. Even if you can access these courses in the typical college environment, why pay so much more for something you can learn online? You can take quality Adobe After Effects courses from trusted providers like for a fraction of the price. You can even learn it for free! If your preference is the latter, try checking out our list of the best free Adobe After Effects tutorials available online! The only cost you’ll incur is buying the application if you don’t already have it.

Note: Our list would ramble on for hundreds of pages if we detailed every tutorial on each specific effect available in the program. We decided to list both tutorials and tutorial providers so you can peruse them and pick your favorites. Do you want to learn how to animate a grenade explosion or maybe just do some simple title sequencing? The myriad of choices these providers offer guarantee you’ll find something that will satisfy you.


Adobe After Effects CC - Adobe

Naturally, the first place to start learning After Effects is straight from the source. Adobe offers readings on various elements of After Effects starting with the core effects and motion graphics. Their tutorials then move on to more specific techniques such as stabilizing shaky footage and inserting 3D objects. This is a valuable resource for beginners or anyone looking to join the Adobe After Effects community.

Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 12.50.52 PM.png


Learn After Effects CC - Adobe TV

This is similar to the previous series of tutorials from Adobe. The difference is that it offers videos instead of readings and goes beyond the beginner level. Its scope widens as it discusses Cinema 4D techniques and other relatively new features. The tutorial library pulls a lot of its footage from so make sure to check out their courses if you want more.

Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 12.55.29 PM.png 


After Effects Tutorials - Digital Tutors

Here is another helpful resource for absolute beginners. These tutorials explain what After Effects is and walks you through the most basic features like projects, compositions, layers, effects, and masks. You can access free tutorials or sign up for Digital Tutors in order to get complete set including paid content. 

Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 1.05.05 PM.png 


Video Copilot

The video tutorials in this library are generally for intermediate-advanced users. After all, you might have trouble setting up a solar atmosphere or missile launch effect if you’re just starting to learn After Effects. If you have some experience and want to have fun with cool effects, Video Copilot is the place to go!

Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 1.08.41 PM.png


After Effects - Tuts+

People consistently recommend Tuts+ due to its frequently updated library of quality After Effects tutorials. It has a mixture between practical and cool depending on what kind of work you’re doing; everything from a simple paper box intro to an atom simulation. The tutorials are a combination of downloadable videos and readings with helpful instructions. Remember that you might have to buy some of the plugins necessary for advanced effects. Most users can benefit from these tutorials but we recommend them more for intermediate-advanced users.

Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 1.21.15 PM.png


After Effects Tutorials – Greyscalegorilla

Greyscalegorilla hosts a thriving community of design and video tool users. Like other providers we’ve listed, it has dozens of fun After Effects tutorials from Transformers movie title recreations to simple holiday decorations. Instructors and tutorials creators often give helpful replies in the comments, making it an attractive community.

Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 1.25.10 PM.png



Motionworks focuses heavily on film-related use of After Effects, even more so than most After Effects tutorial providers. It’s great for an aspiring video editors who want to work in the film industry. You can tell how many views and comments each video tutorial got, which is helpful in deciding the one you want to start with.

Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 1.29.50 PM.png



Maxafter has a solid variety of around 64 tutorials, most of which are over 20 minutes long. There are a fair amount of film-related effects but also some you would see most commonly in commercials, video game cutscenes, and even content marketing.

Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 1.38.38 PM.png


Adobe After Effects Course – Alison

Despite its course format, this selection is still free just like most things on Alison. Alison uses a combination of lecture and assessment so you can learn the skill and practice along the way. You could call it a course but we consider it a tutorial because it is free. Either way, it will show you how to use the After Effects GUI, organize files, and compose motion effects and visual graphics.

Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 1.41.06 PM.png


After Effects – Layers Magazine

Layers Magazine has earned the right to name itself “The How-to Magazine for Everything Adobe” and After Effects is no exception. Much like Tuts+, their library gets consistently updated with new tutorials and is best for intermediate-advanced users.

Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 1.47.11 PM.png


After Effects Tutorials – Creative COW

Creative COW offers career-advice videos for video editors in addition to the kinds of video tutorials you would expect. They want you to have good work habits and know how to properly and professionally deal with clients. Of course, you’ll get all the didactic tutorials on intermediate-advanced level techniques as well.

Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 1.57.37 PM.png


Add Value to Your Videos and Your Career

If you’re looking to break into a career in video editing, learning After Effects will be one of your first steps in building a foundation for later success. Free tutorials are often the best place to start because you don’t have to worry about wasting even a penny. If you’re ready to improve the quality of your videos, it’s time to start learning! 

Find original article on