I'm trying to put together a library of 'clips' and/or 'effects' to use in some upcoming training videos I am developing. Is there a 'best practices' that includes making each effect into a composition? Or are 'best practices' usually individually developed and there really isn't any such thing for After Effects.

My effects are things like:

  1. templated layouts
    • Specific lower thirds fonts and colors
    • outlines that draw themselves
    • text blocks that swoop in and settle that can have their text updated per video
  2. color palettes or swatches
  3. intro videos
  4. etc.

I am trying to reduce repetition. I could create these effects each video, but I would like to create an effect ( i.e., text block swooping in at angle x and changing color at arrival ) and then replace JUST the text each video so that the effect becomes something the viewer recognizes as part of my training series.

1 Answer 1


There are a few different ways you can do this depending on your scenario. Normally, for things like lower thirds, I make one composition in which I enter just the lower third text and plate. I then use that composition as an asset in another composition to do the actual animations. I can then simply turn on or off any particular text I need to in the static composition and render the final composition to get the needed output.

Similarly, for a video at the beginning of a clip, you can have a wrapper composition that has the lead-in and then you can replace the contents of the composition that is shown after the lead-in plays.

Alternately, you could probably do a fair bit of it using expressions too, but I've yet to have any tasks that were complex enough to have bothering to setup something with expressions.

  • I'm planning on doing tutorial videos on iPhone apps and settings. I will be re-doing multiple drop-ins and overlays and I would like to find the most intelligent way of doing that. It sounds like I was dead on based on your answer. I can just create one composition, create all of my effects that I expect to use, then reference that composition in each video and edit per video. I just want to have a good templating system in place that is the most efficient. THANKS! Jun 21, 2013 at 19:08
  • And expressions just scare me! Jun 21, 2013 at 19:08
  • Yeah, it sounds like you have a pretty good idea what to do. What I described is actually how I do lower thirds for conference work. I built out the graphics so that I just have to put in the speaker's name and hit render.
    – AJ Henderson
    Jun 21, 2013 at 19:50
  • Thank you. I love design work of all kinds, this is my first big project where it's both something I am capable of doing and something I love doing... now I just have to find the time and DO IT! Jun 21, 2013 at 20:07

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