It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a roundup of fun and inspiring tutorials! Learn how to replicate your favorite Hollywood superhero VFX in After Effects.
If you’ve used After Effects for any amount of time, then chances are you’ve probably tried to create at least one of two things: lightsabers and superhero VFX. With a fantastic collection of built-in effects and easy-to-use tools, After Effects is perfect for crafting VFX shots like the ones you see in your favorite blockbusters. Check out this collection of seven After Effects tutorials that demonstrate how to create awe-inspiring Hollywood superhero VFX.
1. Go Supersonic Like the Flash and Quicksilver!
Created by: Tara Arts Movie
You might think that achieving a super-speed look in After Effects is as easy as, well, speeding up the footage. It’s definitely isn’t. Between shutter speed, camera shake, and compositing, crafting a convincing super-speed effect requires a little more problem solving. Luckily, Tara Arts Movie is here to show us how it’s done.
2. Get Tiny Like Ant-Man!
Created by: LoneArcherFilms
One of the coolest VFX techniques to emerge in the last few years is the shrinking effect created for Ant-Man. Like super-speed, a truly convincing shrinking effect will require a little extra effort, specifically in the frame-blending area and the use of the echo effect. This entertaining tutorial from LoneArcherFilms sheds some light on the process.
3. Shoot Beams From Your Eyes Like Superman and Cyclops!
Created by: Film Riot
Whether it’s Superman or Cyclops from the X-Men, there are few VFX shots as iconic as laser eyes. In this fun tutorial from Film Riot, we’ll take a look at how to create a laser-beam effect using only native After Effects plugins and tools in After Effects.
4. Take Off Like the Man of Steel!
Created by: VideoFort
If you’re new to After Effects, working on a super-jump effect can be a fun way to practice advanced techniques like rotoscoping and compositing. In this next tutorial, VideoFort shows us what it takes to pull off a neat Superman-inspired super-jump effect. Pro tip: if you spend extra time tweaking the motion blur, it’ll go a long way toward helping this effect look more realistic.
5. See the World Like Iron Man!
Created by: LoneArcherFilms
Between an advanced shape interface and motion-tracking capabilities, After Effects really is perfect for creating heads-up displays. In the following clip, LoneArcherFilms gives us a look at what it takes to quickly create an Iron Man HUD in After Effects.
The secret to creating awesome HUD graphics is to add as much detail as possible. Many newbie designers fall into the trap of making their shape layers too large. While this will certainly speed up the process, it won’t lead to a more realistic design. Color is also very important when crafting a HUD. You may be tempted to use super-bright neon colors, but the actual Iron Man HUD graphics are deceptively desaturated when you really start looking at them.
6. Teleport Like Nightcrawler From the X-Men!
Created by: TheFitzProductions
Teleportation is probably the easiest possible effect to create in After Effects, and there are multiple ways to do it. In this video, Toby Fitzpatrick from TheFitzProductions offers two different ways to create the effect. It should be noted that the trick to an effective teleportation is creatively hiding the transition. In the clip below, TheFitzProductions uses smoke to hid the cut point, but other tutorials use techniques like the liquify effect to really warp the person being teleported.
7. Vanish Like the Fantastic Four’s Invisible Woman!
Created by: TheMrMenagerie2
Creating invisibility in After Effects is very similar to creating a teleportation sequence, except the transition is much slower. In a nutshell, you’ll have a background plate and a foreground plate. If you simply key or rotoscope your foreground, you can then easily use alpha masks and effects to create a pretty solid invisibility effect. If this sounds like gibberish to you, just check out the easy-to-follow tutorial below.
What superpowers did we leave out? Got any more tips for creating legendary superhero VFX in After Effects? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below.