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Best VFX 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 vfx 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.

Further Reading on SmashingMag: Link

Best VFX Tutorials For Visual Video Effects Link

The 007 Intro5
This tutorial shows you how to achieve the classic introduction of James Bond films using only basic After Effects plug-ins.

vfx tutorials6

Create a MoGraph Urban Jungle7
Use 3D Match moving to create stunning Urban Jungle effect where vector graphics are perfectly tracked to a city footage.

vfx tutorials8

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


Droste Effect11
This tutorial demonstrates the use of new Pixel Bender plug-in12 to obtain “Droste Effect”.


Light Streaks14
This tutorial shows you how to create light streaks inside live action footage


Car Racing Scene16
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 117 and Part 218


3D Shadows20
Learn how cast 3D shadows onto live action footage.


Build a furious procedural disintegration effect in Adobe After Effects.


Futuristic HUD24
Create 3D interface display in Adobe After Effects inspired by Iron Man’s helmet.


Underground Blast26
Simulate a dramatic underground explosion that ripples and dislodges the ground.


Aurora Borealis
Learn how to create the Northern Lights.


The Juno Opening Credit Look28
Adobe After Effects tutorial to create famous handmade juno opening sequence29.


Artistic Look
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 Scene
This is another tutorial that will teach you how to create a VFX naval battle scene from an ordinary footage.


3D Crater34
Create a realistic crater into a live footage. This tutorial has been divided into 3 parts – 3D Crater p135, 3D Crater p236 and 3D Crater p337.


Creating an interior scene
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 Particles
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 Hit39


Old Film look41


3D Rain43
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 Freeze47
Adobe After effects tutorial to a create illusion of frozen world around a person.


Breathtakingly Awesome Rain Scene49
Adobe After Effects tutorial shows how to create the dramatic slow motion rain drops falling scene. Part 150 and Part 251


Slow Motion53
Create a slow motion video footage without use of high speed camera.


Instant Freeze
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 Effect55
This tutorial will show you how to make a futuristic floating hologram over a cellphone.


Track Live Video to a Postcard57
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 Fog59
Daniel Broadway shows the correct way compositing fog elements in a video footage.


War scene61
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 162 and Part 263


Soul Removal65
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 Removal67
In this tutorial you will learn techniques for removing unwanted objects from the footage.


Body Shatter Effect69
This shows you how to create a body shattering effect.


Meteor Crash71
Create ground destruction using 3D Max and Adobe After Effects. Tutorial has been divided into 2 part Meteor Crash 3D p172 and Meteor Crash AE p273.


Simulated Lighting75
Make explosions and muzzle flash.


CE ColorCorrection77
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 Conversion79
Tutorial to transform daylight footage to night footage along with artificial lights and illuminate windows.


Bleach Bypass Effect81
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 tutorial82 which uses color correction filters available with Final Cut Pro.


Lava from dry field image84
This tutorial shows you how to create lava from a dry lava field image.


Sky Replacement86
One of the most useful tutorial for your everyday videos, to fix blown out sky.


3D Eyeball88
Tutorial for creating a 3D eyeball that can look around the room, using CC Sphere to create a material of the eyeball.


Demon Face90
Very useful tutorial if you want to create a horor film. You can also have a look at the similar tutorial Vampire fang growth91.


Water Drops93
This tutorial will teach you to create water droplets on the camera lens with DOF.


Old TV Footage Effect95


Skin Displacement97
Simulate the look of bugs crawling under the skin using Adobe After Effects.


Sin City look99
Tutorial for adding sin city look to your footage. This tutorial makes use of Silhouette Roto plug-in.


Blemish Removal101
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 Splatter103
Learn how to make blood stick to things.


Assisted Suicide105
Tutorial for compositing digital blood burst and a muzzle flash.


Tutorial to add earthquake effect in a video footage.


Flashback Effect109
This tutorial shows you how to add flashback look to your footage, like in the film “The Bourne Ultimatum”.


Set Extensions111
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 Breath113
Create the illusion of cold breath on a warm day.


Orbing and Beaming Effects115


Talking Head117
The fastest way to create talking creatures without the use of keyframes.


Invisible Effect119


Footnotes Link

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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

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

  2. 3

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

  3. 4

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

  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


    May 4, 2009 8:28 am

    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


    May 4, 2009 12:50 pm

    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

    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

  15. 16

    Darwin Santos

    May 4, 2009 4:00 pm

    Awesome tutorials. thanks.

  16. 17

    so awesome!

  17. 18

    Great selection!

  18. 19

    really good, thanks!

  19. 20

    Neeraj Kumar

    May 4, 2009 8:01 pm

    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!

    • 21

      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

  20. 22

    Videocopilot is really the best.

  21. 23

    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.

  22. 24

    Thanks! great tutorials and great effects!

  23. 25

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

  24. 26


    May 5, 2009 1:06 am

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

  25. 27

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

  26. 28

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


  27. 29

    Thanks! great post ^^

  28. 30


    May 5, 2009 3:46 am


  29. 31

    Quakeulf >:3

    May 5, 2009 4:57 am

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

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

  30. 32


    Vodafone’s Zoozoos are real actors.
    You, above all, should know that they’re women from Mumbai with foam costumes.

  31. 33

    wow some really good stuff here, danke.

  32. 34


    thanx kasper. you posted some useful ressource.

  33. 35

    Greaaat Tuts, Thanks Mate, They Are Just What I Was Looking For…

  34. 36

    Not too sure why Smashing just didn’t save some space and put two links for Videocopilot and AETuts+ . . .

  35. 37

    OMG Very good for me! Thanks! Support!

  36. 38

    What a great tutorial! Thanks for this effort.
    I still have a question. I’m a beginner in filming but trying to learn as much as possible. I’m wondering how to turn my movies into a real film look effect. You can always recognize professional movies. I hope you know what I mean.
    Anyone know a good tutorial how to get this effect?

  37. 39

    @38 – Chris.

    Unfortunately it is usually not an “effect”, it’s good lighting and cinematography. There are technical limitations to video: frame rate, dynamic range, focus etc that cannot match film, but a lot of it is *how* you shoot. Study some movies you really like the look of and take note of how the camera moves and how the sets and actors are lit.

  38. 40

    I feel like every time I see posts like this it is mostly all Andrew Kramer when I know for a fact there are plenty of great people doing tutorials with a style different from Mr. Kremer. Don’t get me wrong he’s incredible, but find some others!

  39. 41

    “I feel like every time I see posts like this it is mostly all Andrew Kramer when I know for a fact there are plenty of great people doing tutorials with a style different from Mr. Kremer. Don’t get me wrong he’s incredible, but find some others!”

    I agree.


  40. 42

    LOL looks like the author finally discovered Video Copilot…

  41. 43

    sama creation

    May 10, 2009 7:50 am

    What a great tutorial! Thanks for this effort.

  42. 44

    i wnat to know that which is the best visul effect instituets in delhi ?

  43. 45

    Jason Saggers

    May 19, 2009 3:38 am

    Adobe after affects is a nice program that I would love to try if it didn’t cost so much.
    I have used other software before but it is simple compared to most adobe products.

  44. 46

    Bilal Ghouri

    May 21, 2009 3:30 am

    Great ! I’ve always wanted to know how do they create light streaks in movies.

  45. 47


    June 1, 2009 9:12 pm

    man i have been looking for a site like this for a looooooong time!tnx to the author(s)….VERY MUCH!!!!

  46. 48

    fGTW8P comment6 ,

  47. 49

    Wow!… this is awesome.

  48. 50

    I Think This the Best tutorials for 2009

  49. 51

    dasari srinath

    February 11, 2010 8:53 am

    yah great tutorial works by video copilot
    i appreciate you
    It has been helping lot of people in CG VFX

  50. 52

    Andrew Kramer’s tutorials are best I’ve seen so far.

  51. 53

    My way of saying thanks for gathering all these great tutes in one place….

    Just some English tips. “A footage” is incorrect. It’s just “footage”. Footage is not quantifiable, like water, and you don’t say “a water”. You can say “a piece of footage”. “An webmaster” is also incorrect. Since webmaster starts with a consonant (not a, e, i, o, u) SOUND, you should say “a webmaster”. Also, the word ‘honor” in English starts with the short ‘o’ sound, so you would say “an honor”. “House” starts with the h sound, so it’s “a house”. There are a few other places where you don’t use any article (in this case “a” and “an”). For example: “Tutorial to add earthquake effect in a video footage.” This should be: “A tutorial to add an earthquake effect in video footage.” If you wanted to leave out the first “A” in front of “tutorial” you could.

    Someone may say that it doesn’t matter, because they can understand you, but the truth is that when you leave these things out, you are less understandable and there are instances where you can confuse your listener and reader, and you are writing with an accent. If you were to look at my Spanish, you’d see similar things. And I would love it if someone EVER took the time to correct me. But for the most part, people don’t want to offend others, or they don’t have the energy.

  52. 54


    June 11, 2010 11:20 pm

    i love it

  53. 55

    kosala nawarathna

    August 30, 2010 9:44 pm

    et`s Wooow—Maxaaa project

  54. 56

    Andre Kramer for President, I say!
    Video CoPilot is the bomb. No surprise to see many of these tut’s are from him- wishing I had this epile of VFX goodness when I got started.. hoo, boy. Great primer- passing this one around this weekend-

  55. 57

    Wow, its really great tutorials and very essentials works for us….
    thank you very much…

  56. 58

    I like to Learning Cine Lighting

  57. 59

    Pawna Kumar

    May 10, 2011 4:24 am

    Great Links for Visual Effects.

  58. 60

    Great visual effect tutorial i found….

  59. 61

    vanessa perales

    November 22, 2013 3:56 pm

    This are really cool images I wish I could do that


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