Designing in After Effects

Sometimes I like to play around inside of After Effects to create the look of a design even if it is a still image.

In this design I used some techniques from a couple of previous tutorials to build a complicated looking badge that is actually pretty simple. Then once I’m happy with the “look” of the design, I try to figure out how to animate it on. I find that After Effects is more flexible and non-destructive than Photoshop so I can design freely. This is also why it is better to start by designing the look first, instead of worrying about how the effects are going to animate on. In this case, because of the shatter effects the flying pieces only look right on frame 3 but I’ll worry about that problem later!

See Full Size Image

I made the logo with some simple shapes and added a track matte to give it some grunge. I used different parts of the texture for each ring to give it variation. Then finally I added some Color Correction to the top. Go Curves!

For the debris I used the  Pixel Poly effect, then added some Action Essentials 2 smoke and debris bits.
Particle Explosion: Pixel Poly Tutorial

August 21st, 2013 @ 1:21 am
i like it...
August 21st, 2013 @ 1:22 am
Great workflow always coming from you. Thank you.
August 21st, 2013 @ 1:32 am
nice ..
got some new idea from it
August 21st, 2013 @ 1:32 am
when you will publish Fantasy City Mr Andrew .. will it with jet pack or no ?
    Firefly movies
    August 25th, 2013 @ 12:01 am
    a jet pack would be epic!
August 21st, 2013 @ 1:32 am
crazy idea.. admire you so much
August 21st, 2013 @ 1:32 am
Looks amazing! Is there a chance you could post about your Star Trek: Into Darkness work with a video? I would also appreciate some E3Dv2 Teasers...
August 21st, 2013 @ 1:35 am
Great ............. tips
August 21st, 2013 @ 1:37 am
I always preferred After Effects over photoshop for these things... Glad to see I'm not the only one.
    August 21st, 2013 @ 1:58 am
    Totally agree, AE is the way to go!
    August 22nd, 2013 @ 1:26 am
    That makes 4 of us!
    August 22nd, 2013 @ 7:15 am
    I also use AE instead of PS, 99% of the time!
    Shafa’ Rizky F
    August 23rd, 2013 @ 7:24 am
    yes yes i also use AE than PS because a lot plugin and make simple way
    Firefly movies
    August 25th, 2013 @ 12:03 am
    I just save one frame of the animation in AE
    September 6th, 2013 @ 12:30 am
    Photoshop is for Images but ae is for animating the Still Image eventually ae is better than ps
August 21st, 2013 @ 1:37 am
Looking Great!
Both the color and the effect!
August 21st, 2013 @ 1:40 am
Is there a chance you could post about your Airplane Emergencies… or video tutorial?
August 21st, 2013 @ 1:45 am
Nice looking stuff... will there be a project file upload for newcomers in after effects to mess around with?
    August 21st, 2013 @ 2:50 am
    Great question :-)
    August 21st, 2013 @ 3:02 am
    Even though I think some people make great use of those project files, I hope there won't be one. I just hate it how people directly copy everything from others, which will happen for sure again... :(
    August 21st, 2013 @ 11:01 am
    yeah right project files can solve my problems with the pixel poly effect Caz that is hard to animate i have to use some expressions to make it look great how ever i don't know which expressions did Andrew used in this design.
August 21st, 2013 @ 1:45 am
this is boss man can i have a tutor of it....
August 21st, 2013 @ 1:47 am
is this similar of tutorial??
August 21st, 2013 @ 1:48 am
I prefer making posters or other still frame - images in AE, 'cause I don't have enough experience to feel free in photoshop :P But I can do almost everything (what Ps offer) in AE.

What about You? Should I take some time and learn Ps?
David Le Roux
August 21st, 2013 @ 1:50 am
I also find that designing in AE is preferable to photoshop. In fact I also like to come up with still concepts and turn them into animations. Looks good AK
riaz paras
August 21st, 2013 @ 1:56 am
sir you have nice creative mind.thanks for teaching us.
August 21st, 2013 @ 2:00 am
I also like designing in After Effects; the 3D tools are far superior to Photoshop, allowing you to angle elements in real 3D space (as opposed to perspective warping) non-destructively.
August 21st, 2013 @ 2:00 am
خیلی زیباست
August 21st, 2013 @ 1:24 am
Nice taste.....
August 21st, 2013 @ 2:26 am
I've been wondering how you do each of your videos and I got the idea now. First decide how what you want to produce and then plan how it will be animated. Thanks for sharing it with us!
August 21st, 2013 @ 2:27 am
the smoke effect became cool.
August 21st, 2013 @ 2:50 am
omg!!!!Cool man!!its have to still image project and also we not want to leave after effect and go to photoshop , everything we can in inside after effects
August 21st, 2013 @ 2:53 am
I have also the same problem! Start from AI, switch to PS and finally continue in After effect ? Not easy! However I have recourse more and more of AE because it is forcing me to use a minimum of layers due to the complexity of animation that will come & also the final quality of project!
REZA irani
August 21st, 2013 @ 2:14 am
ANDREW. . . The LORD Of The AE!
Michel deKok
August 21st, 2013 @ 3:25 am
You seem to be busy lately!

Anyboby ever tell you, you look like Christofer Lambert From HIGHLANDER..
Just saw it yesterday and thought: what's Andrew doing here.. haha..

Nice as allways and love the tuts..
August 21st, 2013 @ 3:28 am
Great stuff Andrew.
I recently designed a series of client images using only After Effects. It basically gave me more control and I was able to utilise some of the Trapcode suite to add some great effects to the image.
August 21st, 2013 @ 3:36 am
Looks amazing! Inspired by ST Into Darkness, I also rendered this inside Element 3D!
August 21st, 2013 @ 3:37 am
I too perfer AE to PS. I have always thought that AE gave me more freedom, but maybe that's because I am not to sharp in PS.
August 21st, 2013 @ 3:47 am
Hello, Andrew! Excellent Picture. I'm Testing objects 3d inside the element to create static images and the results has left me very surprised. It is really satisfying. Congratulations and thanks a lot!
August 21st, 2013 @ 4:07 am
great andrew very nice project i glad for you i weating animation thanks again
August 21st, 2013 @ 4:30 am
Andrew Sir we love you.
August 21st, 2013 @ 4:57 am
It looks just great...nice work!!!
August 21st, 2013 @ 5:11 am
I'm a graphic designer, people use other programs for their still image designing but I use AE.
I've got examples of my designing and artwork with AE on my Facebook artpage, click on my name and you'll get there.
August 21st, 2013 @ 5:42 am
The way you use colour and such simple images to evoke that feeling of complexity is just outstanding!
August 21st, 2013 @ 5:47 am
Your final results are incredibles andrew, i like the way you do
August 21st, 2013 @ 6:09 am
Thank you for sharing. I'll do more design in AE from now on.
August 21st, 2013 @ 6:16 am
To Match With Other elements ,
Please Using A Grunge Fonts For The Text
August 21st, 2013 @ 6:35 am
New blog-post! Thanks again!
August 21st, 2013 @ 7:05 am
I always prefer to use after effects instead of photoshop too
    August 21st, 2013 @ 10:27 am
August 21st, 2013 @ 9:25 am
Another Amazing AE Design from VCP...
August 21st, 2013 @ 10:26 am
I like your works, and plugins THANK YOU very much!
August 21st, 2013 @ 10:53 am
Heyyy Andrew You're the One ...amazing Logo Concept keep teaching us Bro !!!
Big UP From Phil (Paris) France
August 21st, 2013 @ 11:09 am
August 21st, 2013 @ 11:18 am
thats awesome.....really appreciate that..!!!!!
Gay James
August 21st, 2013 @ 1:06 pm
Nice Andrew! please make for us best tutorial please
August 21st, 2013 @ 1:49 pm
Wow ! Pretty sick !

Check what I did, my own ring ;-)
    August 22nd, 2013 @ 5:57 am
    WOW, that is very impressive. I think the airplane above the city is what sells that effect, for me at least. Very well done.
    Jim Hines
    August 22nd, 2013 @ 7:00 am
    That's some freakin quality right there baby. Inspirational. Stand tall. Good work.
    August 23rd, 2013 @ 12:09 pm
    dude where do u get your sound effects from ??
August 21st, 2013 @ 4:42 pm
I also find after effects is so much more productive than Photoshop for stills. Part of it is because I'm more familiar with the interface, but After Effects gives you more flexibility like particles, Pre-Comping, as well as stuff like Optical Flares. *wink* Its funny that you posted this cause I just designed a still for my YouTube page using After Effects.
August 21st, 2013 @ 5:40 pm
Hey Andrew, i try some effects conbining Evolution+Element 3D. Check it out please:
    August 23rd, 2013 @ 2:53 pm
    Hi Henrique, I watched your video and found a very cool effect. Congratulations! The combination of 3d Element with Evolution gave a very interesting result. I think that even if you use the particle replicator and replicator shape of the Element, you can create animations as if they were a kaleidoscope 3D. This serves as a suggestion for their next creations. Thanks for sharing.
August 21st, 2013 @ 9:52 pm
Well I'm not the only one who thinks it's sometimes easier to create a picture in AE than PH. I mean, how else can I easily create a picture with sick lens flairs?
August 21st, 2013 @ 11:06 pm
Looks great! I'll use PS, AI, or good old PSP9 to create some assets and then composite the final in AE. An image file is an image file. Why should it matter what program someone uses as long as the end result is there?
August 22nd, 2013 @ 12:32 am
Thank's for all of the amazing stuff Andrew, but one thing, i'm waiting for the Star Trek BREAKDOWN, that you sayed you will show us how you did the galaxy (hope my english is good). Are you going to show us?

Thank's again

Best regards from France

Kevann Boussac
August 22nd, 2013 @ 6:28 am
Awesome Tutorial, element is such a useful tool! here is a sample animation I created for my Aerial Video business.
August 22nd, 2013 @ 8:44 am
Tut, Tut, Tut!!!

Awesome tutorial
August 22nd, 2013 @ 8:59 am
check out this funny short film created with AE and VC plugins.
August 22nd, 2013 @ 1:32 pm
Beautiful music and video
August 23rd, 2013 @ 4:59 am
Cool idea! I am interested in when the new element pack will be available...:) Mr. Andrew you sad late summer...:) hope next week is gonna bomb out and rock as all your great and powerful plugins, effects, objects, tutorials, ideas...
All my respect:
a hungarian guy
August 23rd, 2013 @ 7:11 am
Would it be possible to get the project file to this demo?
I would like to understand it better in the layering.
August 23rd, 2013 @ 7:40 am
Logo also from 3 D Element.
Thanks Andrzej for simplicity 3 D Element.
August 23rd, 2013 @ 8:18 pm
so cool!I love it!by the way ,i want to prove one thing that the web says
that Harry has disease,and is trying to raise money.Is the things really?
August 24th, 2013 @ 6:14 am
Hey! Any news on the landscape model pack?
August 24th, 2013 @ 11:53 pm
I just wish we could export from AE to Photoshop at 300 DPI rather than just 72. Anyone know any tips or tricks for exporting at a better resolution?
I also like to build the 3D elements in AE and then move it over to PS for a polish and a higher quality result.
August 25th, 2013 @ 6:25 am
Lot of fun playing around and experimenting in AE. There's an excellent series of experiments with native AE filters / effects going on over at John Dickenson's site Motionworks, that can really help spark your creativity. Check it out and go wild.
August 26th, 2013 @ 1:00 pm
Hello everybody!

I am French it and made maintaining several years when I go every day on copilot video and today I shall have liked showing one of my creation which I shall never have been able to realize without Andrew!

I know well that it is in French but don't worry: subtitles will be present!
August 26th, 2013 @ 7:18 pm
Showing your process of starting the design first then figuring out how to animate it on would have been perfect for your blog show.
August 27th, 2013 @ 3:54 am
uff thought I'm the only one who designs stills in AE. I tried out using PS but it slows me down so I'm ending up using AE every time when it goes serious. This is my coming out, finally! haha
Matt Derrick
August 27th, 2013 @ 8:41 am
Looks great! My last project was made almost entirely in After Effects, generating most of the elements (like the light leaks) with native AE fx. Using Element 3D and Optical Flares gave it a beautiful punch too!

Please let me know what you think :)

August 27th, 2013 @ 3:40 pm
Thanks a lots you are the best
August 28th, 2013 @ 7:34 am
Andrew did you know your leading now in the After Effects world????
Excellent dude!!!!
August 28th, 2013 @ 7:36 am
Andrew did you know your leading now in the After Effects world????
Excellent dude!!!!
August 28th, 2013 @ 11:09 pm
This effect is really fucking my ass!! Great Andrew!!
August 29th, 2013 @ 5:04 am
I am Allwell David Ugonna from Nigeria, am an editor turn motion graphics designer thanks to some of my senior colleagues inspired me and you too Andrew Craman I must confess your site helped me improve my skills; but please I need more from you. I am working on a proposal which is about what I can do to for the jodless youth in my country; so I developed a concept use a channel to get to them involving the state governments is than what you are seeing on this screen that why I need your help to build a team so a to train this youth a get them involve in this channel I have already developed and be useful to their country in the area of more especially quality film production, musical video and Tv shows production across the country. My targets are the undergraduate in the theater art & mass communication department in all universities across Nigeria. Thanks and welcome to greatness. Looking forward for your fit back. Allwell
August 29th, 2013 @ 9:44 am
Great!! Looking forward for this tutorial and project..
August 31st, 2013 @ 11:09 pm
Hi Andrew,
I have just - by accident, actually - came across your tutorial .. and your site .. Just wow!

Just - (not quite sure I am happy about that, or not, really) - after about 18 years or being a Photoshop professional (and trainer/tutorial author etc.) - now I feel like ´one-handed only´ .. wondering where I have been all that time - ignoring AE.
I must have been blind ..
A real eye opening.

Never thought I might ever even try out to dip into AE - it looked so much different - and so unrealizable for me - from my limited ´2D still image´ world perspective ..
Now I know, I definitelly can - and will.
Happy for this little accident - finding your site.
Thanks for inspiration.

Btw - love your tuts and your training approach.
So fresh, clear, easy to follow - and yet so comprehensive, and informative. Just couldn´t stop watching, for a few days now.
November 5th, 2013 @ 2:30 am
Andrew is a god. :O Thanks for your projects and tutorials!
Animator Karthick
September 5th, 2014 @ 9:31 am
how do you do that textures for 3d object ?
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