After Effects Tutorial

Create Terrain in After Effects + Andrew Kramer at NAB 2018

Terrain can be created in After Effects without a 3D program and it’s not necessarily difficult but it can be involved. Here are a couple of tutorials that explain how to do it without third-party plug-ins and then a few third-party plug-ins that will help you get the job done quickly and easily. Plus, a bonus video from Andrew Kramer of Video Copilot from the Adobe booth at NAB 2018.

Make a 3D terrain with default After Effects plugins

Joe Clay from Workbench talks about how to create some 3D terrain in After Effects without 3rd party plugins. He’s using Wave World, which I can honestly say I haven’t used in years. A year or two ago at NAB, Andrew Kramer of Video Copilot presented on the Adobe stage and showed some seriously cool an interesting effects he had created with some long lost plugins that have been sitting in your plug-ins folder for years untouched. That video is below. Joe is also doing his part to revive some of these older, but not unloved, tools.

Download the Project files

3D topographic maps in After Effects

Mike Borup explains how to make topographical terrain in After Effects with tools like turbulent noise, posterize, and Layer Controls. It’s pretty involved and you will learn a lot, even if you’re a long-time After Effects user.

Andrew Kramer at NAB 2018

All I needed to do was Google it. The second half of Andrew’s presentation deconstructs a rusty logo in After Effects, using displacement maps, curves, fractal noise, transfer modes, and so on. I think it may have been the 2017 presentation that I was thinking of but this one fits my point just as well.

More ways to create Terrain in After Effects

Getting back to terrain, if this isn’t quite what you’re looking for and you don’t use a 3D program to make your own, I might suggest Trapcode MIR.

AE: Low Poly Mountain Landscapes With Trapcode MIR

VinhSon from Creative Dojo shows you how to use Trapcode MIR for some low poly mountain terrain.


Another option is GeoLayers, where you can animate and browse maps in After Effect, and you can use Trapcode MIR with it too (or Rowbyte Plexus for some cool techy looks).

GEOlayers tutorial – 04 Trapcode MIR

Here’s a bit more about using GEOlayers and Trapcode Mir together to create terrain or landscapes.

Create a Tunnel with Trapcode Mir – Here’s another old school tutorial you may enjoy for Trapcode Mir. Aharon Rabinowitz from Red Giant explains how to shut the mesh to create a seamless wormhole in Trapcode Mir. Use it on your next time travel journey!

After Effects Tutorial

Create A Faux 3D Spin Effect In After Effects | Motion Array

In this tutorial, Owen from Motion Array explains an easy way to make a 2D object look like it is spinning in 3D space.  It’s a faux 3d spin, but it works very well.

Motion Array has 100’s of free Video Templates, Music, Footage, Tutorials and More .

If you don’t want to watch the video, and/or want to get the project files, you can read a walk-through here.

Related News


Premiere Pro Tutorial

How to Make a Cool Camera Rotation Effects in Premiere

Jordy Vandeput of has a couple of tutorials that show you how to create some super fun Camera Rotation Effects. These Camera Rotation Effects are well suited for music videos or tv show opens or trailers. In fact, these tutorials are inspired by just that. I love Jordy’s Copycat Friday tutorials. You should subscribe to his YouTube channel.

Rotation Reveal In Premiere Pro

This effect is seen in Maroon 5’s Girls Like You ft. Cardi B video. In it, Adam Levine has a girl dancing behind him and as the camera pans across him, the girl behind him changes to another girl. This is all done with editing tricks and is surprisingly not technical. It’s very entertaining how they go through some trial and errors.

First, watch the Maroon 5 video so that you know what we’re talking about.

Rotation Reveal In Premiere Pro

Camera Rotation Transition In Premiere Pro (Atlanta Series)

This trailer features Donald Glover standing in the center of the screen and the whole background spins 180° as he sort of falls as it spins. I love how they break down these videos. They shot the footage with a spinning motion. In addition, they used a green screen behind the actor. They have some nice tips for lighting as the scenes change. In fact, the editing process is fairly simple but there are speed effects, masks, shadows, and more.

Here’s the Atlanta Season 2 Trailer (2018).

And here is the tutorial from

After Effects

Plugin Everything Deep Glow is Now Available

Deep Glow generates a beautiful, physically accurate glow in After Effects, with intuitive compositing controls and GPU acceleration. Plus get it at 20% off with special introductory pricing, now through January 11, 2019.


Deep Glow gives you the best looking glow right out of the box, even whilst working in a non-linear color space. It features intuitive compositing controls to assist in refining your glow results. Deep Glow is also GPU accelerated for speed and features handy downsampling and quality controls which can also be leveraged to achieve unique results (grainy or stylised glows).

Special Introductory Price – 20% Off

MSRP: $49.95 SALE: $39.95

Learn More | Purchase Deep Glow at Toolfarm

Sale ends January 11, 2019.

deep glow


plugin everything bundleGet the Everything Bundle and Save 45%!

Something for every AE user, whether compositor or motion designer

Deep Glow is now a part of the Plugin Everything “Everything” bundle that includes all 9 Plugin Everything products:

  • TextBox – Draws a customizable box around text that updates with the text
  • TextDelay – Delay’s transformations and opacity per character, line or word
  • KeyMix – Mix multiple keys on one layer
  • File Hunter – Hunts down missing files inside AE
  • Deep Glow – GPU accelerated, physically accurate glow simulator 
  • Effect Matte – Generates a matte that snaps to layer bounds
  • Cartoon Moblur – Generates stylish ‘cartoony’ motion blur
  • Bezier Node – Draws beautiful bezier curves between two points
  • OCD Renamer – Auto renames layers based on applied effects, parents, children or mattes.  

Only $119.19!  That’s a 45% savings over the cost of buying them individually.

Learn More | Purchase Everything Bundle at Toolfarm