Whether you’re a seasoned motion graphics designer or just starting out in video production, After Effects templates are enormously helpful in getting the job done quickly. Video professionals can utilize these time-saving projects to speed up their work rate, cutting hours–if not days–of tedious manual keyframing, effects creation, and project structuring.

For those just starting out in motion graphics and video production, many of these templates are created with simplicity in mind, and can often be deconstructed to reveal secret techniques. So, if time is of the essence or you need some cool new motion graphics, follow our three steps to choosing the right After Effects template.


Step 1 : Selection

Download this Minimal Slides AE CS5 template
It’s vital that you define the purpose of your final video sequence. Before you get too sidetracked by whizzy particle effects and kinetic text, move away from the computer for half an hour. What is it you hope your final video sequence will achieve? These are a few possible goals:

  • Attracting new customers
  • Branding your video content
  • Promoting a product
  • Showing off your portfolio

This crucial decision will help narrow down your selection into a category when you search for the right template. Once you’ve decided on your goals, you can visit our library of royalty-free AE templates and quickly filter down to view only the templates in your chosen category.

After selecting a category, you’ll then assess whether a template has the correct number of placeholders (text and imagery), tempo and visual style–much of which can then be achieved with the search options.

Try ordering the list by tried-and-tested “Popularity,” or check out the freshest visual trends in “New Arrivals.”

Download this Golden Abstract Titles AE CS4 template
Pro-tip: When you’ve selected a template, play the video preview and ask yourself, would this work with your message?

Bear in mind that a change in font, imagery and music can dramatically alter a sequence into something distinctly different. It’s helpful to keep an open mind when looking at the video preview. A project which, on the face of it, looks like it wouldn’t meet your needs might simply need a few adjustments to fit perfectly.


Step 2 : Compatibility

Download this Spinner Logo Reveal AE CS4 template
Before we talk about editing your newly found template, let’s take a moment to make sure it’s not concealing any hidden pitfalls. Make sure to cross-check these three aspects of each AE template.


After Effects files are cross-compatible between Mac and PC, but the same cannot be said about software versions. Older versions of After Effects will not be able to open templates created and saved in newer versions of the program. For example, if you’re running After Effects CS4 you will not be able to use templates created in CS5 or above.

If you’re running the latest Creative Cloud (CC) version, you should have no problems opening all available templates.

Always check the software version in the project description before downloading.

Download this Zoomness AE CS5 template

Make sure the project doesn’t require plugins–or that you have the required plugins if needed. Plugins are third-party effects generators that can often cost much more than the template itself. This is not a ruse by the template author to sell the plugin software, since plugins can produce very powerful visual effects that After Effects’ own effect library cannot achieve. However, this is something to be careful of when picking your template.

While some videos in the VideoBlocks Marketplace can require plugins, none of the Unlimited Library templates ever require plugins to render the project.


Watch for royalty-free license wording when looking at templates from other stock media libraries. Some After Effects template providers have strict usage clauses, meaning you may not be able to re-utilize the template without first purchasing more licenses.

The VideoBlocks library of AE templates has a simple subscription-based, royalty-free and copyright-free license, which means you can export as many sequences as you want.


Step 3 : Customization

Download this Typography 08 AE CS4 template
First, carefully read through the project’s User Guide or Read Me instructions. This will provide an overview of where to place your media and how to edit text placeholders.

Professional templates are meticulously organized so that text and images can be added quickly and easily. You should find a well structured, tidy project panel where the compositions and elements to be edited are clearly separate from those which shouldn’t touched.

It’s at this stage where you can put your own mark on the project. Editing text content is a given, but you can almost always change font and text size as well as color to really personalize the video as your own.

Download this Bokeh Reveal CS4 template
A change in fonts and images can often dramatically alter the tone of a sequence, so it’s worth experimenting with a project to see if there are more applications it can be used for.

It’s common to find a single point, usually a single layer, where the global color values–or common colors used throughout the sequence–can be changed. This makes it a breeze to quickly test out alternative color schemes.


How to Edit Adobe After Effects Templates

If you need more help understanding how to edit After Effects templates, check out this handy video on template editing.

Learn more about working with AE templates with this Quick Start Guide to Adobe After Effects and the Ultimate Guide to Adobe After Effects Shortcuts.


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