After effects tips

Kerning Tricks

Time to learn some kerning tricks! Let’s say you have a sentence written in After Effects. You might notice that the kerning probably doesn’t look that good because by default After Effects sets the auto kerning to Metrics. Simply by changing this from Metrics to Optical, will do a much better job of kerning your type. Now, if you’d like to come in and adjust the kerning even more, all you have to do is click on your type layer and holding Alt you can click on the left and right arrow keys to kern in between individual letters. You can also set the auto-kerning to optical by default to make it easier. To do this you go to After Effects > Preferences > General. From here, click on the bottom where it says Reveal Preferences in Finder and find the document titled Adobe After Effects 13.8 Prefs-text.txt and double-click on it. That will open up a .txt document. Find the line that says Auto Kerning Type, and change Metrics to Optical, then save it. From now on, whenever you open After Effects, it will automatically open it to Optical by default.

Use After Effects Scripts

Our last tip isn’t that exciting, but it’s definitely advice that will help out a lot, and that is to use scripts. One of our favorite scripts is Reposition Anchor Points which allows you to quickly and easily move the anchor point on the layer. But if you’re not already familiar, do yourself a favor and head over to and take a look at all of the useful scripts that people have written that will definitely speed up your After Effects workflow.

Animating with Trim Paths

Looking for a fun and simple tutorial to dive into while working with After Effects? Well, try out this one on how to animate with trim paths! The desired effect can be really quite cool and a very impressive animation to add to any project. Plus, many users just developing their After Effects skills users might not be aware that this technique exists. Here’s a complete step-by-step breakdown on how to unlock this hidden feature for making precise adjustments to your shape layer paths. You can use this effect for any of the following:

  • Infographics
  • Map Routes
  • Text Boxes
  • Text Strokes
  • Circle Bursts

Easy Motion Tracking

In this tutorial by Michael Tierney, we go over some of the very basic and easy ways to work with motion tracking in After Effects. Pay attention because a lot of these same principles will stay relevant and helpful in application as you learn more advanced techniques later on. In the meantime, even this simple technique is a great way to round out your After Effects skills, and it can really up the value of your projects and is great to add to client videos.

Quick Tips for Compositing Using After Effects Skills

When first starting out in After Effects, some of these early techniques can be great tools in adding that extra level of dynamics to your regular Premiere Pro projects. One way to really showcase some added value is by creating your own titles with even the most basic of compositing techniques. Follow along with the tutorial above, and be sure to download the free project file here.

A Beginner’s Guide to Rotoscoping

While “rotoscoping” as a term itself might scare some potential editors away, it’s actually not that scary and a surprisingly intuitive technique to master. In this accessible and simple beginner’s guide video tutorial, you can learn some of the basic techniques of working with masking and Roto Brush tools for some simple rotoscoping tricks. Read up on the full step-by-step article here.

Learn to “Float Yourself

For many video editors and aspiring visual effects artists, the allure of learning After Effects skills comes from a desire to create some of those mind-bending, jaw-dropping visuals you often see online and on social media. If you’re looking to try out something a little more advanced and outstanding, this tutorial by Peter McKinnon can show how to create the viral “float yourself” effect. And it’s not as tricky as you might think.

Create 8-Bit Pixel Art

This is definitely one of the cooler After Effects skills tutorials we’ve produced here at PremiumBeat, but here are some straightforward, effective, awesome guides to creating 8-bit pixel art for your videos or projects. This tutorial goes over the following eight tools:

  • Posterize
  • CC Block Load
  • Tint
  • Grid
  • Posterize Time
  • Video Footage
  • Alpha Channel Footage
  • Installing the After Effects 8-Bit Game Preset You can follow along with this full write-up here.

Export Transparent Background Videos

In this tutorial by Justin Odisho, we get a course in how to create and export transparent background videos in After Effects. This is especially helpful when combined with techniques from the tutorial above, and can be great for creating and using your own custom lower thirds.

Parent Cameras To Nulls

This trick is a pretty basic one, but helpful nonetheless. If you want to use multiple cameras in your composition, when you start to animate the positions you might notice crazy things happening. That’s because to do this effectively, you have to animate the position and the point of interest at the same time. There’s a better way! Simply to parent your camera to a Null for easier animation. You do this by going to Layer > New > Null to create a new Null Object. Then, make it 3D by clicking the 3D box in the layer control panel. Finally, parent your camera to it by clicking on the roll-up symbol and dragging your cursor to the Null Object line. This way, you can do all of your animations on this Null. So now you can animate your camera through this scene quickly and easily. And we know what some of you are going to say — After Effects now has a one-node camera that does the exact same thing. While this is true, it wasn’t always available, and by default, the two-node camera is selected in After Effects.