Trying to figure out what an After Effects template is? Here’s a quick rundown.

After Effects templates are a fantastic resource for anybody looking to make their project look professional and customized. Let’s take a look at the wide world of After Effects templates.

What Are After Effects Templates?

An After Effects template is a customizable After Effects project file. Typically when a motion designer is working on a project in After Effects, they will use a file structure that is not formatted for other people to customize it. In a typical project file it’s not uncommon to see unnamed elements, poor organization, and confusing file structures. Templates, on the other hand, are labeled, well organized, and easy to understand.

A good After Effects template is designed in such a way that users can easily change text, colors, and design elements without needing to understand the complex file structures created by the Motion Graphic Designer. Typically a motion graphic designer will create compositions (timelines) that allow you to simply drag and drop your images or footage inside, and text fields that can be easily customized in a similar fashion to a text editor.

What Are After Effects Templates? Modern After Effects Templates

Some After Effects templates are used to create entire finished videos, while others are used to add in graphics to a video that’s already been created. There are also some After Effects templates that have been designed to create a certain effect. Our free After Effects templateDigital Distortion” is a great example of an effect-based After Effects template.

What Hardware and Software Do I Need to Use an After Effects Template?

In order to use an After Effects template you will need a copy of Adobe After Effects on a Mac or PC computer. If you’re not already familiar, After Effects it is an incredibly deep, yet approachable computer program used for motion graphics and VFX work. Some designers spend their entire careers mastering After Effects, but the majority of After Effects users simply use it to create simple graphics or visual effects for videos.

What Are After Effects Templates? After Effects Computer Screen

After Effects is one of the programs included in the Creative Cloud by Adobe. Unlike other software manufacturers, Adobe sells their software in a subscription pack called the Creative Cloud. Instead of you purchasing the software outright, you actually license their entire library of softwares for a fee each month. While this may seem strange, it actually saves artists a lot of money in the long run.

If you don’t already have After Effects on your computer, you can download a free 30 day trial from Adobe.  You can fully customize and export videos during your trial, so if you simply purchased an After Effects template with no intentions of using the software again in the future, you might be able to get by without actually subscribing to the Creative Cloud.

In order to use an After Effects template, you will need an After Effects project file along with any assets (video, pictures, music, etc.) that your project file may use. It’s best to think about your After Effects template as a video project. Just because you have the project file doesn’t mean you have all of the video assets on your computer. Be sure when downloading an After Effects template that you don’t forget to save your assets as well. Here on RocketStock, we include all of our video assets in the folder with the After Effects template so you don’t need to worry about losing the assets.

How Do I Use an After Effects Template?

What Are After Effects Templates? Girl Working with After Effects Template

To use an After Effects template, you will need to have the template project file along with all of the video editing assets. If you don’t already have After Effects open, you can either start the program and open the template file by navigating to File>Open, or you can simply double click the project file on your computer.

When you open an After Effects template, you will typically see all of the files on the left side of the screen in a box called the project panel. In the middle you will see a large video screen called the composition panel. You will also see a timeline at the bottom of the program. The timeline is where all of the different video, audio, and graphic elements are placed when they are used to create the final video.

For a simple graphics project, you might just have a video and text layer in your compositions timeline. In a template, there will be many more elements, sometimes hundreds. Luckily for you, a good template won’t require you to navigate all of those layers. Instead, a good template (like the ones found here on RocketStock) will only ask you to access a few simple layers at most.

What Are After Effects Templates? Laptop with Templates

At the heart of every good After Effects template is a well-organized composition structure. For most templates, all you will need to do is access the composition that corresponds with the scene you are trying to change. For example, if you want to change the end logo, you can look for a composition called “End Logo” and manipulate the text or elements as you need them.

Every After Effects template is different, so it’s important to read any documentation that comes with your template to make the whole editing process easier to understand. All of our templates here at RocketStock are standardized, meaning they are all customizable in a similar file structure.

How Are After Effects Templates Different From Scripts, Expressions, Assets, Plugins and Presets?

There are a lot of After Effects related files sold on the internet. The most common are After Effects templates which we’ve already covered in this post, but you’re likely to run across a few other After Effects items online. Here’s a quick breakdown of what each of them are:

  • After Effects Script: Lines of code that tell After Effects to do something. Typically scripts are used to save motion graphic designers time from doing mundane or repetitive tasks like duplicating layers.
  • After Effects Expression: An expression is a quick snippet of code that will tell After Effects to change the value of a certain parameter. For example, the “wiggle” expression will tell After Effects to wiggle a number value. Expressions are normally used by intermediate to expert After Effects artists. You can get by in After Effects without learning a single expression.
  • After Effects Asset: An asset is simply a  file that can be dragged and dropped into your After Effects project. An asset can be video, audio, or image files. Typically video editors will use assets to stylize their footage in After Effects.
  • After Effects Plugin: An After Effects plugin is a third-party plugin that gives After Effects extra functionality beyond what it’s already capable of doing. One popular plugin is Element 3D, which allows users to create and customize 3D objects directly in After Effects.
  • After Effects Preset: A preset is simply a predefined group of effects and keyframes that can be easily applied to layers. The most common type of presets are text animation presets and color grading presets.

For more information on the differences between all of these elements check out this in-depth article from PremiumBeat.

What Is Included in an After Effects Template?

What Are After Effects Templates? Design Slideshow for After Effects

An After Effects template will come with the project file and all of the assets required to create the template. By default, you shouldn’t have to do anything besides simply open the project file to begin editing your template. However, if for some reason your asset files are put in the wrong spot, when you open up your project you might get an error message. Don’t fret.

Missing footage can be found by simply moving the asset back into the appropriate file structure, right clicking on the file in the project panel, and selecting reload footage.

How Can I Make My Own After Effects Template?

Making your own After Effects template is surprisingly easy. Again, the only difference between a template and a regular project file is organization, so all you have to do is organize your After Effects project file in a meaningful way. The best thing to do is put yourself in the shoes of your user. Easy to understand file structures are a must. Once you’re ready to save your template, you can simply navigate to File>Save As>Save As… and then (under the menu that says File Format) select After Effects Template Project.

If you’re interested in selling your After Effects template, check out our designer submission page here on RocketStock. We’re always looking for new and talented artist to submit world-class After Effects templates.

The Media in My After Effects Template Is Missing!

By default, you shouldn’t have to do anything besides simply open up the project file to begin editing your template. However, if for some reason your asset files are put in the wrong spot, you will get an error message when you open up your project. Don’t fret.

Missing footage can be found by simply moving the asset back into the appropriate file structure, right clicking on the file in the Project Panel, and selecting reload footage.

What’s the difference between a .aep and a .aet project file?

There is only one difference between an .aep and an .aet project file: overwriting. After Effects template files are designed so that (when a user opens them) After Effects will make a copy of the file so that the original doesn’t get overwritten.

If you have more After Effects related questions about templates or After Effects in general check out our FAQ page here on RocketStock.