11 Essential Chroma Key After Effects Tutorials

While most video editing programs offer a form of chroma or luma key for green screen projects, Adobe After Effects provides a suite of tools that typically lead to more accurate and professional results than other programs offer. In fact, some of the most popular After Effects plugins can make keying incredibly simple and efficient, saving you time while adding a little extra oomph to your project. That’s why we’ve put together a short primer on green screen and keying, including 11 curated tutorials covering essential keying techniques.

Even if you consider yourself an After Effects lightweight and adapting preset AE templates is typically more your speed, give these tutorials a try. With a little effort and practice, you might just discover how easy it is to become a visual effects wizard.

What Is Keying?

Keying is the primary method to replace the background of a video with separate footage or images. There are several types of keying, but the most functional are chroma and luma keying. When using a green screen, editors will typically apply a chroma key, which will allow them to remove a specific color (in this case green, although blue screens are still fairly common as well). Luma keys can be used with grayscale footage that has a black or white background.

The green screen has become a must-have tool for video projects of all types, from the elaborate CGI of mainstream Hollywood to the flashy motion backgrounds of a basement Youtube channel. Versatile video creators should learn how to work with a green screen and chroma key because if used properly, it can enhance the production value of their work.

There is no one way to achieve an effective key, so in order to help you make the most of your green screen footage, we’ve collected some of the best After Effects tutorials on this topic that we could find. Try out these techniques to find one that is best suited to your own creative work-flow and style.

How to Chroma Key


Advanced Green Screen Keying


Keying Green Screen, Masking, and Effects


Threshold Keying


Luma Keying


Green Screen Driving Effect


Pulling a Basic Key

Creative Cow

Dealing with Light Spill Issues

Creative Cow

Dealing with Edge Issues

Creative Cow

Creating Variable Width Edge Feather with Mocha for AE

Creative Cow

Some of these projects may require a basic understanding of Adobe After Effects, as well as Adobe Photoshop. If you’re new to the program, you might want to check out our Beginner’s Guide to After Effects before trying your hand at keying and animation. Or, if you’re looking for all of the polish and animation of After Effects without the time and effort, there are hundreds of new customizable AE templates in our library.

Get AE Templates