How to Add Effects in After Effects

Updated on: September 21, 2022

When it comes to creating content, video is one of the formats that usually engages audiences the best. Enhancing them is the goal of After Effects, one of Adobe's programs for video editing and motion graphics design, which uses a set of tools that allows the user to animate objects and text in a project to deliver a clear and creative message.

If you’re wondering where can you find the settings and how can you add effects to your layers in After Effects, just keep reading.

How to activate the Effects and Presets panel in After Effects

There's a default Effects and Presets Panel that contains a list of options and transitions you can activate by dragging them onto your Timeline. To try some of them out:

  1. Import your footage to the Workspace by double-clicking the Project Panel.
  2. Drag your files to the Timeline.
  3. Go to the main Menu bar at the top of the program interface. 
  4. Select Window to activate or deactivate the panels you want to see in your workspace by clicking on them.
  5. Check the Effects and Presets option.
22 1 min

Adding effects to videos

Now that you have not only your footage on the Timeline but also the list of Effects and Presets in your workspace:

  • Click on the layer of the video you want to enhance.
  • Go to the Effects and Presets panel and select Color Correction.
  • Once the list of options is displayed, click on Auto Color for this exercise.
22 2 min
  • Drag and drop it on the layer selected to apply the effect and see how the color of your clip changes.
  • Notice that when you apply the effect, the Effect Controls panel opens on the left of your screen. Manipulate the values in this box to your liking to get the color you want.
22 3 min

Note that every time you add an effect, the FX box next to your layer label is activated on your Timeline. To preview your composition with the effect keep the button checked; to play it without it, uncheck it.

22 4 min

If you try to repeat the process with other options in the list, you will find that generally, it works the same for all your layers.

Remember that this is the easiest (but not the only) way to start applying effects in Adobe After Effects. Get familiar with these options before moving on to the next level.

Andrea Mercado is a tech-focused journalist and copywriter with over 5 years of experience covering innovation, edtech, AI, and internet trends across media outlets. She is passionate about how technology can democratize access to education and is an avid learner when it comes to emerging tech like AI. Her articles and webinars help readers stay informed on the latest tech developments.
Access 2,701+ video lessons. Instantly.
Start Learning Now →
crossmenu linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram