Creating futuristic HUDs in After Effects is super easy with these handy tutorials from around the web.

Image above courtesy of Ash Thorp

After Effects is a fantastic program when it comes to creating fun HUD designs. The simple shape editor and layer-based structure makes After Effects ideal for creating Iron Man-style graphics. Plus, new integrations with Cinema 4D make HUD design even more advanced in After Effects.

1. Advanced Spin FX

Created by Video Copilot

Andrew Kramer has been crafting HUD tutorials for years using a combination of shape layers and effects in After Effects. Traditionally his tutorials have focused on creating Iron Man-style HUDs, but one of the more recent tutorials has really reinvented the idea of what a HUD can look like.

The tutorial utilizes a pretty ingenious technique using the polar coordinates effect and a fast blur. This tutorial is a great reminder that the best HUD designers use colors that go well with each other. It’s also super interesting to see how you can integrate audio waveforms into your motion design.

2. Hipster Badges

Created by Evan Abrams for PremiumBeat

While they are not intended to be designed for HUDs, this tutorial from Evan Abrams is a great resource for learning how to animate shape layers. The tutorial covers all the ins and outs of using shape layer modifiers and easing keyframes to create smooth movements.


Professional HUD Design

HUD from Ash Thorp

If you want to create Hollywood-level HUDs fast, you can actually learn from the master of HUDs himself, Ash Thorp. In his tutorial series on Learning Squared, Thorp shares how to organize, create, and deliver HUD elements for data simulations in film.

These amazing tutorials are not free, but if you want to learn HUD design from the guy who did Iron Man 3, RoboCop, Ender’s Game, and James Bondit’s definitely worth the $100 price tag.

It’s actually very interesting to note that most Hollywood-level HUD designers use both Cinema 4D and After Effects to craft high-end data displays.

HUD Design Inspiration

The following are some of the best HUD and Graphic Interface reels from around the web. If you’re looking for even more HUD inspiration, I highly recommend searching HUD Design on Vimeo.

Guardians of the Galaxy UI Reel

Created by 

Total Recall HUD + GUI Reel

Created by Ash Thorp

Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron UI Reel

Created by 

Iron Man 3: HUD + GFX Reel

Created by 

Oblivion FUI Process Reel

Created by 

Have any tips for creating HUDs in After Effects? Share in the comments below.