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How to Create Military Effects in After Effects


Win the war against boring footage! From explosions to muzzle fire, here’s how to create military effects in After Effects.

Creating military-style VFX is one of the most exciting things you can do in After Effects. So whether you’re trying to create a cool VFX sequence for a short demo or a full-on feature film, these great tutorials are perfect for creating Hollywood-style effects.

1. Muzzle Fire

Created By: IndependentVFX

In this video tutorial from IndependentVFX, we take a look at how to create a realistic Muzzle Fire effect in After Effects. Unlike most tutorials on the subject, this tutorial uses 100% native plugins for After Effects. This means you won’t have to purchase Element 3D or Action Essentials. The technique outlined in this tutorial actually uses a combination of fractal noise and a glow effect to really sell the gunfire.

2. Airplane With Missile

Created By: Video Copilot

Creating realistic 3D composites in After Effects is no easy task, but by using Element 3D, you can easily import 3D objects with a decent amount of photorealism. This tutorial from Andrew Kramer shows us how to create a cool 3D missile launch in After Effects.

3. Explosions

Created By: Surfaced Studio

Explosions are a big reason why most people hop into After Effects for the first time. By simply using pre-rendered footage and a few built-in effects, you can easily create realistic explosions. One technique outlined in this tutorial is to use a ring to simulate a ripple-pulse. This pulse can help better sell your shot and lead to a more realistic composite.

4. Dirt Charge

Created By: Mike Gentilini, Jr.

This awesome tutorial from Mike Gentilini, Jr. shows us how he created a cool dirt charge effect in After Effects to create an intense war scene. The effect uses pre-rendered footage — but the secret to really getting your composites right is to color correct your footage.

5. Blood Splatter

Created By: Surfaced Studio

You can’t have a gritty action movie without a spilling a little blood. While there are a lot of ways you could potentially create a realistic blood splatter, this effect from Surfaced Studio is a quick and easy way to pull it off.

6. Epic Cinematic Titles

Created By: MotionMile

After you have your action effects complete, it’s time to create an epic trailer. This tutorial from MotionMile shows us how to create epic cinematic titles using native plugins in After Effects. One of the coolest takeaways from this tutorial is the importance of selecting the right colors when creating titles.