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Best Tutorials For Cinematic Visual Effects


It doesn’t matter whether you are a designer, a developer, an artist or an amateur learner – at some point you need to improve the quality of the original picture or video. You may want to retouch and enhance his or her photographs and videos, make it look better, more spectacular and more original. It could be for personal or commercial use. Most of us know how to edit and enhance the digital photographs using our favorite image editing software. But when it comes to videos, the techniques are completely different from that of classic image editing.

In this post we present best tutorial for visual effects in movies (with Adobe After Effects, 3DSMax etc.) that will (hopefully) teach you how to create impressive videos which can be used for your presentations or websites. Visual effects are used in post production which involves integration of live-action footage and computer generated imagery. You can use it to enhance or manipulate videos, just the way you usually do with image processing tools.

Best Tutorials For Visual Video Effects Link

The 007 Intro1
This tutorial shows you how to achieve the classic introduction of James Bond films using only basic After Effects plug-ins.


Create a MoGraph Urban Jungle3
Use 3D Match moving to create stunning Urban Jungle effect where vector graphics are perfectly tracked to a city footage.


Create a complex energy scene with CC particle world in Adobe After Effects. Also learn to animate particles in 3D with multiple instances.


Droste Effect7
This tutorial demonstrates the use of new Pixel Bender plug-in8 to obtain “Droste Effect”.


Light Streaks10
This tutorial shows you how to create light streaks inside live action footage


Car Racing Scene12
Create a scene of cars racing down a road towards camera. This can be added to your car chase footage. Although the title states the use of photographs, it can be also used with your moving footage as well. Part 113 and Part 214


3D Shadows16
Learn how cast 3D shadows onto live action footage.


Build a furious procedural disintegration effect in Adobe After Effects.


Futuristic HUD20
Create 3D interface display in Adobe After Effects inspired by Iron Man’s helmet.


Underground Blast22
Simulate a dramatic underground explosion that ripples and dislodges the ground.


Aurora Borealis24
Learn how to create the Northern Lights.


The Juno Opening Credit Look26
Adobe After Effects tutorial to create famous handmade juno opening sequence27.


Artistic Look29
Creating an Artistic Look with Minimax and Overlay in After Effects .


Realistic Camera Move with Parallax31
Need to add realistic camera moves? This tutorial will help you to achieve it. Also you can refer to “Virtual 3D Photos32” tutorial to get more deeper into it. “Virtual 3D Photos” tutorial will teach you to create a video footage from photos with “realistic camera move” effect.


Historic Naval Battle Scene34
This is another tutorial that will teach you how to create a VFX naval battle scene from an ordinary footage.


3D Crater36
Create a realistic crater into a live footage. This tutorial has been divided into 3 parts – 3D Crater p137, 3D Crater p238 and 3D Crater p339.


Creating an interior scene41
This tutorial shows you how to make an interior scene using 3dsmax with realistic rendering in Vray. It could be used with your green screen video footage later.


Better Compositing with Particles43
This tutorial shows you a technique for placing layers inside the middle of a particle system – crucial to truly integrating your CGI effects with your live action footage or motion graphics.


Realistic Car Hit45


Old Film look47


Particle Half-tone Effect49


3D Rain51
This tutorial will teach you how to turn an aerial video footage into a cold nighttime storm with torrential rain and lightning.


Apple Motion tutorial for creating lightsabers.


Adobe After Effects tutorial to create a realistic self healing effect.


Time Freeze57
Adobe After effects tutorial to a create illusion of frozen world around a person.


Breathtakingly Awesome Rain Scene59
Adobe After Effects tutorial shows how to create the dramatic slow motion rain drops falling scene. Part 160 and Part 261


Slow Motion63
Create a slow motion video footage without use of high speed camera.


Car Light Trails65
Create car light trail effect in Adobe After Effects with help of 3d stroke effect.


Instant Freeze67
Adobe After Effects tutorial will explain how to add instant freeze effect to footage. Also shows how to add camera lens frost over and crack to give it a realistic look.


Futuristic Floating Hologram Effect69
This tutorial will show you how to make a futuristic floating hologram over a cellphone.


Track Live Video to a Postcard71
This tutorial shows how to track video to a Postcard using scripts which are freely available. Also shows how to recover highlights from the tracked footage and apply them back over the moving video for a very convincing effect.


Compositing Fog73
Daniel Broadway shows the correct way compositing fog elements in a video footage.


War scene75
This tutorial shows you how to create a realistic war movie from a video footage shot using only one actor and a camera man. This is an advance tutorial in which color correction and effects like realistic camera shake and bullets hitting the ground are used to give it a realistic look. Part 176 and Part 277


Soul Removal79
Create soul removal effect using particle system in Adobe After Effects. This tutorial also shows you to add facial Distortion and handy expressions to make it more realistic.


Object Removal81
In this tutorial you will learn techniques for removing unwanted objects from the footage.


Body Shatter Effect83
This shows you how to create a body shattering effect.


Meteor Crash85
Create ground destruction using 3D Max and Adobe After Effects. Tutorial has been divided into 2 part Meteor Crash 3D p186 and Meteor Crash AE p287.


Simulated Lighting89
Make explosions and muzzle flash.


CE ColorCorrection91
Adobe After Effects tutorial will teach you to change the look and feel of your footage easily with Color correction plug-in.


Learn how to make a kamehameha using Adobe After Effects with Trapcode’s Shine.


Day to Night Conversion95
Tutorial to transform daylight footage to night footage along with artificial lights and illuminate windows.


Bleach Bypass Effect97
This tutorial shows you how to get bleach bypass look to your footage in Adobe After Effects. You can also have a look at similar tutorial98 which uses color correction filters available with Final Cut Pro.


Lava from dry field image100
This tutorial shows you how to create lava from a dry lava field image.


Sky Replacement102
One of the most useful tutorial for your everyday videos, to fix blown out sky.


3D Eyeball104
Tutorial for creating a 3D eyeball that can look around the room, using CC Sphere to create a material of the eyeball.


Demon Face106
Very useful tutorial if you want to create a horor film. You can also have a look at the similar tutorial Vampire fang growth107.


Water Drops109
This tutorial will teach you to create water droplets on the camera lens with DOF.


Old TV Footage Effect111


Skin Displacement113
Simulate the look of bugs crawling under the skin using Adobe After Effects.


Turning to Skittles115
Tutorial is quite detail (but no explanation) which shows how to create those skittles using 3D Max and compositing it in Adobe After Effects. It makes use of many techniques like rotoscoping, tracking etc. The final output it similar to Hilarious Skittles Commercial116. This tutorial is split into two parts Part 1117 and Part 2118


Sin City look120
Tutorial for adding sin city look to your footage. This tutorial makes use of Silhouette Roto121 plug-in.


Blemish Removal123
You must have gone through several skin enhancement Photoshop tutorials before. But when it comes to video, the technique totally differs to that used for digital photos.


Blood Splatter125
Learn how to make blood stick to things.


Assisted Suicide127
Tutorial for compositing digital blood burst and a muzzle flash.


Tutorial to add earthquake effect in a video footage.


Flashback Effect131
This tutorial shows you how to add flashback look to your footage, like in the film “The Bourne Ultimatum”.


Set Extensions133
This tutorial will help you to customize or extend a live action set with custom matte painting. You will also learn to link several motion trackers into one null object.


Frosty Breath135
Create the illusion of cold breath on a warm day.


Orbing and Beaming Effects137


Talking Head139
The fastest way to create talking creatures without the use of keyframes.


Invisible Effect141


About the author Link

Vailancio Rodrigues likes to learn new things and share them with others. He likes to work in the creative field and is constantly improving his skills. You can follow Vailancio on Twitter143.

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Vailancio Rodrigues is a web ninja who bakes semantic muffins. Apart from that he is also interested in Motion Graphics, Visual Effects, Photography and knows little bit of Physics due to his college education . He is from Goa - a beautiful tropical paradise in India.

  1. 1

    Dude that “flock of birds” final video looks soooo bad and unrealistic it has to be a joke, right?

  2. 2

    There’s a reason most of these are from Video Copilot – Andrew Kramer is the best.

  3. 3

    Tuts form videocopilot are still one of the best, we all love Andrew :)

  4. 5

    Great links. Although I don’t do video, mainly web + print; I’m sure if I do in the future, these will come in handy!

  5. 6

    Awesome! Thanks.

  6. 7

    Great list! When I have some time I will defenetly try some of these

  7. 8

    Some Nice Stuff!!

    DKumar M.

  8. 9

    Stunning! Thanks

  9. 10

    I’m not a video guy, but I love watching these tutorials, especially the videocopilot ones. They’re surprisingly witty, plus the end results are really cool looking. I’ve always wondered how some special effects were done, these take the mystery out of it.

  10. 11

    OMG This is the best compilation ever! Thanks a lot guys :)

  11. 12

    Great compilation, my fav is Learn how cast 3D shadows onto live action footage. I’m trying to do the same ! Thxs

  12. 13

    Hey my kamehameha tutorial! :D I’m flattered to be even remotely associated with Andrew Kramer haha.

    By the way, here is a better image if you would rather use it:

  13. 14

    Vinícius Alencar

    May 4, 2009 1:35 pm

    Videocopilot is really the best…

    All are very good, but the Andrew…

    No Comments…!!!


    Vinícius Alencar
    From Redenção – Pará – Brazil

  14. 15

    sherwin (

    May 4, 2009 2:57 pm

    Videocopilot is the best online visual effect tutorial it got on this planet.. Andrew is de man for the job.. he is funny. intelligent. hats off to him… great guy

  15. 16

    I agree, I think Videocopilot is really amazing!! I think visual effects are difficult no matter what the medium or technology. You have to strike a good balance between what is believable and what is amazing! I can say that I’m no expert but the few visual effects I’ve done have always been fun to pull off.

    Alex – Professional Cutie

  16. 17

    Darwin Santos

    May 4, 2009 4:00 pm

    Awesome tutorials. thanks.

  17. 18

    so awesome!

  18. 19

    Great selection!

  19. 20

    really good, thanks!

  20. 21

    This is something which is called Seriously Smashing!!!

    I would like SmashingMagazine to post some animation tutorials as well, like ones that you see in movies like wall-e and up or vodafone’s Zoozoos

    This post has gained entry to my Vault!

    • 22

      Zoozoos are not animated characters they are Human beings that environment created using special Costumes and Sets… Refer Youtube for more information about making of Zoo Zoos

  21. 23

    Videocopilot is really the best.

  22. 24

    For all the (potential) AE ppl out there, here are some ressources:

    VideoCopilot (Andrew Cramer)
    AE tuts+ (Daily tuts – also for other Adobe products)
    Creative Cow (Mother of all)
    Red Giant TV (Trapcode is a must have plugin as well as other of their ressources)
    Mark Christiansen (Guru)
    Malt Annon (Tuts & scripts)
    Dan Eberts (Script father of all – redifinery)
    GrayMachine (Tuts & articles)
    FXPhd (A PHD in FX…? worth an article in its own…)
    MotionWorks (
    AEenhancers (script forum)

    Sry I didn’t provide links, should be easy to Google, but wrote these from the top of my head…

    Also remeber the Adobe forums and different Adobe developers blogs.

    Nice article, nothing groundbraking new, but nice to see that you Smashing people are looking at motion graphics as well.

  23. 25

    Thanks! great tutorials and great effects!

  24. 26

    You might aswell just put a link or videocopoilot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. 27


    May 5, 2009 1:06 am

    Wahahaha damn theres a lot of videocopilot in this collection! Andrew Kramer FTW!!!

  26. 28

    Videocopoilot is great. Support Andrew, buy the essential DVD or twitch. Its worth!

  27. 29

    Amazing Tutorials!!! I´m going to learn a lot today!!


  28. 30

    Thanks! great post ^^

  29. 31


  30. 32

    Taking a stab at CGSociety, are we? >:3

    Nice list, even though it’s of limited usability for me as of now.


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