After Effects for Photoshop work


Using After Effects for Photoshop work:

My guess is that most After Effects users utilize Photoshop but very few Photoshop users take advantage of After Effects. I realize that many Photoshop users are photographers and don’t necessarily need graphics but what about the graphic designers in the group? Why don’t they use AE at a higher rate?

I often use After Effects to create elements specifically for my Photoshop designs and I think it’s a powerful exchange. In After Effects it’s easy to build a quick lens flare or detailed particle cluster using Particular or CC Particle World and then I’ll render a frame out to Photoshop. We even built a tool to Copy and Paste screen shots from After Effects to speed up this workflow.

I know there are many AE users that rely on Photoshop to build titles or logos and then import these into After Effects for animating and compositing. There is even an option inside of After Effects to create a PSD file! (Not that I have ever used it.) But with all the amazing imagery possible through After Effects, why is it used by so few Photoshop graphic designers who would probably benefit from integrating both.

I think one mistake we make is limiting our use of tools based on the specific purpose it was designed for, instead of figuring out its actual capabilities. There is a fun story I just heard about a guy who did not speak English but was learning After Effects in English. Since he did not understand all of the names of parameters, he just adjusted them to figure out what each one did. He probably didn’t know what the plug-ins were “Meant to do”, only what it “Could do”.

This principle of exploring creative ways to use common plug-ins is something we try to do at Video Copilot through our tutorials but perhaps this principle could have bigger implications across the creative spectrum. Even though After Effects is ideal for “Video” and “Motion” that doesn’t mean it can’t be extremely useful for graphic designers as well. I say, use whatever tool helps you be more creative and get the job done faster.

What are some things we do in After Effects that you would recommend for Graphic Designers? Do you think After Effects is a useful tool for Graphic Design?

ASIDE: The background design above was created in Photoshop but I used some elements from our Action Essentials 2K video collection to build the glass. Even though the most elements are video files, I simply saved a few frames and imported into PS. It was great because each clip has hundreds of unique frames so I didn’t have to use the same looking glass pieces over and over, I just scrub through the clip and everything changes nicely.

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