Wait, After Effects Isn’t A Video Editor?


Well in short, not really, it depends on how you define ‘video editor’. For the most part, people do not consider After Effects a video editor even though the literal meaning of video editor means ‘something that edits video’.

“Video editing is the process of manipulating and rearranging video shots to create a new work. Editing is usually considered to be one part of the post production process — other post-production tasks include titling, colour correction, sound mixing, etc.

Many people use the term editing to describe all their post-production work, especially in non-professional situations. Whether or not you choose to be picky about terminology is up to you.” – Media College

Let me explain why I believe After Effects isn’t a video editor. First off, you don’t arrange a movie in After Effects, you don’t do major edits and cuts in After Effects, and you don’t finalize your projects in After Effects. On top of that, After Effects gives you the very bare bones of features to actually ‘edit’ your clips. Yeah you can trim some stuff but the editing features aren’t really there compared to Final Cut or Premiere. You also have a huge lack of audio control in After Effects (anyone who has worked with audio in After Effects can tell you).

So if After Effects isn’t a video editor, what is it then?

Let Adobe answer that for you:

“Adobe® After Effects® software is the industry-leading solution for creating sophisticated motion graphics and cinematic visual effects. Transform moving images for delivery to theaters, living rooms, personal computers, and mobile devices.” – Adobe

As stated, you don’t edit a whole featured film in After Effects, you enhance and add to it. You use After Effects to create stunning motion graphics such as titles and animation or visual effects such as compositing work, explosions, lightning, etc. In a video editor, you slice things up, rearrange things, adjust audio, adjust panning, etc. Basically, you’re not really ‘creating’ anything, you’re editing already made content.

I get this frequent misconception a lot from my viewers and I just wanted to point some of the differences out. So the next time you ask about After Effects, avoid calling it a video editor. Of course you’re entitled to your own opinion so if you have something you want to add or remove, contribute your voice down below! Let me know what you think, what is After Effects?

13 comments
  1. So it really means i’ll have to pick every of the clip which needs extras into adobe after effects and include the sophiscated ingridients and then transfer it back to my video editor, is it?

    1. Not if you use Adobe Premiere! The two applications (Ae and Pr) have something called Dynamic Link which you can transfer clips over without rendering them out.

  2. Hi There.
    Me & My dudes are doing a short film soon.
    I’ve studied Adobe Photoshop & sometimes edits videos in Movie maker in windows.
    As i am hard to edit videos in,”Sony Movie Studio Platinum 12.0″.
    so i need to know from you is that,
    which is the film editing software that is having lots of fx & also simple to use.
    And one more thing is that,whether it is good to use film editor before we use aftar effects or aftar using aftar effects.??
    Pls suggest me the best!!
    Thanks in advance Bro.!!

    1. Hello, I have used some video editors but I found Sony Vegas easy to use. I admit I was a little troubled at first because the editor I had used prior was different in how it was presented but I soon got the hang of it.

      Hope this helps! 🙂

  3. Hmm if i want to cut a piece of animation for example and use effects on that then, i need another Video editing program then?

  4. When it comes to video, I only use after effects. I make tv commercials , infomercials, real estate videos and music videos. I use Sequoia to edit my audio. Your article doesn’t explain anything. It’s just opinions. After effects is the only video editor you need. Get a better computer and learn how to work with thousands of layers.

    1. Sorry buddy, After Effects is NOT a video editor and even Adobe themselves don’t market it as a video editor. That’s why they created Adobe Premiere. AE is strictly a composition and motion design tool. You won’t see any true studios or professionals slicing a commercial or movie in AE, but they will use Premiere/Avid.

  5. Whether you say it is or it isn’t a video editor, it comes down to one simple question…
    Q: Can you edit video with After Effects?
    A: Yes

    1. That’s just silly. Can you cut grass with a pocket knife? Yeah you can, but does it make it a lawnmower/grass cutter? You can paint a wall with ketchup, does it make it paint?

      Just because you CAN do something with it, doesn’t make it a tool designed to do such a task.

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