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After Effects vs Premiere Pro (Is AE Really Just as Good?) 2023

Many new video editors and VFX artists do not know the differences between After Effects and Premiere Pro. In this article, I'll go over the differences between the two softwares, and what they're used for. This article will also cover the things you can do in Premiere Pro but you cannot in After Effects and vice versa. Take it from a qualified film editor with 11+ years of industry experience!

January 28, 2023
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Both After Effects and Premiere Pro are professional video production tools made by Adobe. But if they're both designed for creating high-quality videos, why are there two separate programs for the same thing?

As you'll see in this article, After Effects vs Premiere Pro is less a question of which is better than the other, and more so a question of what type of video you're trying to make.

Adobe Premiere Pro vs After Effects - A Comprehensive Comparison

After Effects and Premiere Pro are two completely different softwares made for two completely different purposes. It's almost like comparing Photoshop (a video editing software) to Lightroom (an image processing software). While they both serve a similar purpose, After Effects is made for compositing and Premiere Pro is made for editing - two different processes. In this article, I'll dig deep into the differences between the two to help you make a more informed decision when choosing a video editing software subscription.

What is After Effects?

Released in 1993, Adobe After Effects (commonly used in acronym form as 'AE') is a VFX, motion graphics, and animating software used in the post-production process of video creation. It is considered to be the 'industry standard' visual effects softwares, so whatever effects other programs are capable of making, can also be done in After Effects. In fact, most of the features you see in modern day video editing applications such as Hitfilm, were derived or inspired from the tools in After Effects. After Effects also allows users to add 3D special effects and keyframe animations to video footage. It is commonly used for compositing, keying, animating, and tracking, and can also be used to create visual effects and motion graphics.

Is After Effects good for video editing as well?

After Effects is primarily a video compositing and animation software, though it can still be used for editing too. It includes a majority of the editing features which are also found in Premiere Pro. Only difference is that the After Effects interface is not made for editing. I'd recommend Premiere Pro if your main focus is to edit videos and not make complicated edits consisting of VFX, 3D and multi-layer animations.

What is Premiere Pro?

Premiere Pro is a professional video editing software application. It is not designed specifically for effects and animation like After Effects is. PR is used to edit digital video and audio, as well as to design and publish basic motion graphics animations. Just like After Effects, is the industry-leading video editing software, with a wide range of tools and features that allow users to create high-quality videos, from simple home videos to complex professional productions. Premiere Pro is commonly used in film and television production, as well as in the corporate, commercial, and online video industries. It is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud, which also includes After Effects, Audition, and other video production tools.

I've actually been using this software since its first release back in 2003. Back then Premiere Pro couldn't do nearly as many of the things it is capable of doing today. The 2003 version was difficult to work with, didn't have as many effects and a completely different workflow/theme to what it has now.

Is Premiere Pro good for VFX and Animation as well?

While Premiere Pro is also capable of composing with basic VFX tools such as green screening, Adobe After Effects is more ideal for this purpose as the interface makes it easy to do make these types of changes to your videos.

So, What's the difference between Premiere Pro and After Effects?

Based on the two descriptions of either softwares, it may seem like they both do the same thing (moderately). So what are the differences between the two? Premiere Pro is primarily used for editing and cutting video footage, while After Effects is used for creating visual effects and animations. Premiere Pro is geared towards non-linear, timeline-based editing, and is best suited for editing video footage and creating a final product. After Effects, on the other hand, is more focused on compositing, motion graphics and visual effects, it is not a primary tool for editing, but it is used in post-production process to enhance the final video.

Adobe After Effects vs Premiere Pro for YouTube

A common use for either softwares is to produce YouTube videos? But which one is better? After Effects is best for making videos with plenty of animations and effects. See Mr Beast's channel for instance. Pay close attention to the effects he uses as well as the seamless transitions and animations. If you want to make basic videos like Nelk, just use Premiere Pro. It's easier and it'll save you a lot of time that'd normally be wasted if you were trying to edit the same style of video using After Effects.

Premiere Pro vs After Effects Reddit

When making a final decision between PR and AE, I'd recommend you have a read through the opinions from existing users. Here are some great reddit threads where users discuss which software they prefer and why they chose it over the other option.

After Effects vs Premiere Pro - Which Is Better?

After reading this whole article, you should now understand that there is no way to identify which software is better than the other in general, because they both serve different purposes. If you're intending to edit (i.e. chop, trim, layer, apply basic effects and color grade videos), then Adobe Premiere Pro would be your ideal option. If you're planning on creating cool VFX, animations layering objects and incorporating 3D into your videos, then Adobe After Effects would be the better option.

If you require a mix of both editing and compositing tools, choose After Effects. Adobe After Effects still has full editing capabilities on top of animating functionality, whereas Premiere Pro will only allow you to edit. Don't stress when choosing between the two because Adobe Creative Cloud will always provide you with the option to switch over from one or the other at no extra cost.

If you're still stuck on choosing which program to install, you may as well just install both since you get both of them as part of a complete creative cloud subscription (unless your computer is tight on storage space).

Which Is Better For Beginners?

I would say that both After Effects and Premiere Pro are quite complex to learn, especially for beginners. However, if you are just starting out with video editing and visual effects, Premiere Pro may be a better choice for you as it is geared towards non-linear, timeline-based editing and is more suited for creating a final product.  Once you've become comfortable with the editing process in PR, you can then move to After Effects to explore the world of visual effects and motion graphics.

What After Effects Does Better Compared To Premiere Pro

  • Plugins & Third-party support
  • Scripting and automation
  • Rotoscoping
  • Particle effects
  • Visual effects and compositing (including Mo-graph and animating)
  • 3D compositing
  • Advanced tracking

What Premiere Pro Does Better Compared To After Effects

  • Video editing
  • Basic audio editing
  • Color correction and color grading
  • Integration with other Adobe software (including After Effects with Adobe's Dynamic Link)
  • Collaboration and team workflow
  • Simple to Learn (read "Which Is Better For Beginners?" paragraph above)

To put it all in perspective, After Effects and Premiere Pro are both seriously awesome programs but they're good at different things. Like I mentioned in the first paragraph, comparing the two softwares is difficult as they're both made for two different purposes.

In summary: use Premiere Pro to put together all your video clips and apply any finishing touches. After Effects on the other hand, is better at 2D/3D animation, color correction, complex effects and all sorts of VFX compositing. After Effects facilitates for all types of effect creation, and compatibility with third party plugins means there are endless possibilities as to what you can create on the software. The two programs work hand-in-hand with each other, featuring the ability to integrate seamlessly together.