Free After Effects Projects from Dribbble

After Effects 19/02/2019 5 min read

One of the best ways to learn After Effects is to dig into a project someone else has created and take it apart to see what techniques were used. In fact, this is one of the great things about our templates at Motion Array. They contain tons of interesting techniques and effects that you can learn from for your own projects.

But you may be surprised to find out that Dribbble is another great resource for learning After Effects techniques through projects. Although Dribbble is primarily considered to be a showcase of illustration and design, there are plenty of great designers putting up animated pieces and sharing their project files with the community.

A great way to find some of the free After Effects projects is to go to Dribbble and type “.aep” in the search box.

Let’s take a look at some of the cool free After Effects projects currently on Dribbble.

Tow Truck Rig – Panic

Panic is a design and animation studio out of Latvia. And they have uploaded one of the coolest free projects we’ve seen.

The project includes a fully rigged 2D illustration of a tow truck. And the rig has a built-in set of controls that affect everything from tilt to braking and acceleration effects. There’s even a slider for jumping that will not only affect the height of the truck, but also the size of the shadow.

One can learn a tremendous amount about how parenting and rigging works in AE with this beauty of an example.

Book Loading – Airytram

Here’s a simple loading preview that achieves a cool effect. The basic idea is that pages are turning in a book. But they’ve added a sense of realism to the perspective of the page as it flips.

By downloading the free attached AE project, we can see that uploader Airytram has added a corner pin effect with eases to each page flip to create this cool realistic feel. Now we can apply a similar technique to our own work when we find the opportunity.

AE Fire Project – Yaro Flasher

Ever wanted to animate fire in AE? This actually sounds pretty hard. Good thing Yaro Flasher has given us an example to work from.

This free AE project includes a 31 frame looping fire animation that is pretty hot. Sorry, we went there.

Digging into this project reveals that Yaro has created a frame by frame shape layer animation with various layered shapes moving through space over time. The technique isn’t super simple, but it’s a perfect example of what can be done with a little effect and attention to detail.

Using this animation as a base, it would be pretty easy to customize your own fire for your own projects.

After Effects Payer Freebie – FourPlus Studio

FourPlus Studio out of Berlin has created a super cool music player animation that would be perfect for a web site or for use in an animated spot.

The player animates in and includes player controls and a waveform animation. There is a lot to learn from this project file.

Diving into this project teaches us how to create some really smooth shape animations with great eases and movement. We can also see great use of the Audio Waveform effect that’s built into After Effects but probably not used by many people. This is exactly what it was created for.

Electric Pulse – Nabil

Here’s another cool effect that you can bring into your own work, or alter for a number of purposes in the future.

Motion designer Nabil_ uploaded this free project to Dribbble which can be explored on your own time.

Very cleverly, Nabil_ uses a simple stroke animation to create this effect. But the combination of a changing stroke with, with scaling and eases makes this explosion really cool to look at. And every time you create one, it will likely look a little different than the one before it.

Blop Effect – FourPlus Studio

FourPlus Studio has another great project that shows us how to create a liquid effect with flat illustrated circles. This is another one that might perplex the average user, but with the free project download, it becomes really clear how it’s done.

Largely, this animation is built on animating a bunch of circles. But the secret here is the Gaussian Blur adjustment layer. Adding and customizing the blur on solid shapes gives them the nice rounded edges that appear to be pulling the liquid as it pops apart. So simple, and so genius.

Smoke Loop – Motion Authors

The very talented animators at Motion Authors have a popular Dribbble account. They have a real handle on the flat graphic illustration look. And by popular request, they uploaded this free AE project showing off their smoke loop animation.

Just like the Blop Effect listed above, the secret to the smoke is using blur, although Motion Authors use a Fast Blur here.

Each element of the smoke is a simple rectangle that extends out and animates up. These pieces are then stitched together and once blurred, they appear to me one continuous plume of smoke.

There are a ton of really great free After Effects projects to download on Dribbble. Some are really simple and some quite complex, but there is something to learn from each one.

If you do download these projects, be sure to thank the artists and like their work to show your gratitude. And when the time comes, share some of your own work and project files for others to learn from. Artists sharing their techniques is what makes us all better at our craft.