Jon Holmes
Lecturer in Digital Media and Adobe Education Exchange Instructor

Complete VFX Composite | Introduction to VFX

Technical Tutorial Published 2/23/19 Last updated on 3/1/20

This resource includes 4 separate video guides that take you through one, simple workflow for building a VFX composite using Adobe After Effects. Areas covered in the process include: Masking and Chroma Keying; 3D camera layers, camera movement and lens effects; simple set extensions; plate matching; motion tracking; adding weather effects like snow; and, simple colour grading and Look application.

This series was chiefly created - on request - in support of the VFX for Educators programme, where this particular production was used as a demo exercise in the final Live broadcast in order to incorporate all of the core skills developed throughout the course.

  • After Effects

    Create motion graphics and visual effects for film, TV, video, and web.

Age Levels
1-2 Hours
Content Standards
UK - England, Wales, & Northern Ireland
ISTE Standards
Students: Innovative Designer, Students: Knowledge Constructor

Adobe After Effects

CC License
Attribution Non-Commercial
5 / 5 • 7 Ratings

Comments (18)

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max noremo

Posted on 1/24/20 1:42:19 PM Permalink

​Really nice, thanks for sharing all this!

Jon Holmes

Posted on 3/6/20 9:37:03 AM Permalink

Thank you Max. That is very kind of you​

Margaret Purvis

Posted on 1/21/20 7:55:22 PM Permalink

I have had to come here straight from the live class which I must say was brilliant​

Jon Holmes

Posted on 3/6/20 9:37:22 AM Permalink

Thank you Margaret. Its a pleasure to help​

Brendan Karg

Posted on 3/22/19 4:26:17 AM Permalink

​Jon, brilliant demo!

I had a hitch with the snow. When I add a solid to the precomp, and make it a 3d layer in my final comp, screen does not remove the black. The solid is 000 blk so that is not it. When the precomp is not a 3d layer, screen removes the black. I'm stumped. Any ideas?

My high school students love these kinds of projects, and I usually teach them through it and then have them re-do with their own footage. Great work!

Jon Holmes

Posted on 3/22/19 8:35:34 AM Permalink

Hi Brendan,

I hope all is well and I am glad this has proved to be useful.

In regards to your issue it does sound a little strange. It is a little tricky to remedy without seeing your project myself, but if you have a chance to do so, I could take a look at your project if you were able to zip the project and the assets you have used and send them over to me?

Take care and best wishes

Jon Holmes

Posted on 3/22/19 8:36:35 AM Permalink

... or perhaps even a screengrab of your project may help​ me find a solution if that's easier? Best Regards

Armando Viera

Posted on 3/16/19 4:43:18 PM Permalink

​Thanks, I have not already seen alla teh resource but I teach Premiere PRO and AE and looks good for my students. Thanks for sharing. Viera

Jon Holmes

Posted on 3/22/19 8:32:19 AM Permalink

Hi Armando,

Thank you. I hope it proves to be useful for you and your students.

Take care and best wishes

Fonacier Balatero , Jr.

Posted on 3/9/19 9:00:06 AM Permalink

​Great resources. The instructions are very clear and your demos are brilliant. Thanks for sharing.

Jon Holmes

Posted on 3/9/19 12:13:07 PM Permalink

Hi Fonacier. Many thanks for the very kind comments. I'm glad you have found my resource useful. It would be gr​eat to see the results of your vfx tests in the future. Take care and best wishes, Jon

Sally Haywood

Posted on 3/8/19 11:57:31 PM Permalink

​Thank you Jon,

Your demos were brilliant on the Visual Effects course, really appreciate these, and delighted to be able to carry on learning :)

Jon Holmes

Posted on 3/9/19 12:15:14 PM Permalink

Hi Sally. I hope all is well with you. I'm really glad you enjoyed the demo content and have found these useful. I'm hoping to share more and look forward to seeing your work in the future. Take care and best wishes, Jon​

F Jansen

Posted on 3/2/19 4:35:13 PM Permalink

Thank you mr. Jon Holmes for sharing your amazing lessons. ​I've used the snow effect to make an ash effect and really liked the glowing circles. Below a link to my final sci-fi scene results.

Sci-Fi scene Take a walk in 2119 park

Greetings, Fabienne

Jon Holmes

Posted on 3/5/19 10:06:32 AM Permalink

Hi Fabienne,

​Great work and I am really glad I could help. Take care and best wishes, Jon

Antonia Bates

Posted on 2/24/19 10:33:31 AM Permalink

Thank you Jon for publishing this. Funnily enough, my green screen material arrived yesterday and I am just about to start filming my assignment. Once I've done that, I'll be watching your videos in detail to try and get my video right!

Jon Holmes

Posted on 2/24/19 12:40:03 PM Permalink

Not a problem. I hope it is useful. That's great news Antonia. Would be great to see your results. One little tip, if you are going to shoot outside, try and wait for a day that is overcast and/or with diffuse lighting. Makes the keying and compositing a lot easier beacuse there are no clearly defined shadows or specular light sources. Good luck

Antonia Bates

Posted on 2/24/19 7:17:44 PM Permalink

Thanks for the tip!​