What does an AFX Editor do?

Photo by Marc-Olivier Paquin on Unsplash

We have already discussed what does a Video Editor do and what does a Premiere Video Editor do. This time we want to explore the role of After Effects (AFX) Editor – what exactly is their expertise, how much do they charge and what is their path of career.

Who is AFX Editor?

This type of role is quite tricky to explain in one sentence, as it is often called differently by clients and freelancers themselves.

A person who uses Adobe After Effects works on powerful range of digital video effects, motion graphics, and compositing. They use AFX software to create amazing graphics such as titles, animation or visual effects.

However, we can differentiate After Effects Operator and After Effects Editor.

After Effects Operator is someone who uses After Effects to add graphics, titles etc. after the initial editing has been done.

After Effects Editor is more of a hybrid role – it is someone who edits on Premiere and then adds AFX as well, so does both editing and graphics. This role has become very popular as clients can hire one person who can do both, and save money.

The difference between AFX Editor and Video Editor

After Effects Editor is quite often referred to as AFX Video Editor, which is not entirely correct. Video Editor is a person who manipulates and rearranges video shots to create a whole piece of new work. Video Editor uses software such as Adobe Premiere Pro or AVID to cut, edit and arrange clips.

AFX Editor has an option to trim some of the clips in After Effects, however the programme is not built for that – it is merely a feature. The strength of AFX lays in motion graphics and visual effects. It is not a software where an Editor would edit a whole feature film, but it is a programme where AFX Editor would add titles, animation and visual effects such as explosions or lightning.

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

However, it is without a doubt that many Video Editors who are skilled in Adobe Premiere, AVID or Final Cut Pro, are also experts in AFX. Those two roles are very closely linked with each other and it is definitely a bonus if a Video Editor can not only do editing, but also basic motion graphics. 


How to find a good AFX Editor?

As in most creative roles, AFX Editors are mainly judged by their portfolio of work and showreel. Of course, companies pay also attention to previous workplaces to assess if the AFX Editor has worked on similar projects in a similar environment. However, impressing examples of work tend to be the ones to convince clients to hire an AFX Editor.

Do freelance AFX Editors provide their own software? 

You can certainly hire an AFX Editor who can bring their own software with them; and many will be happy to choose that way of working, however they might charge an extra fee for doing so. A lot of AFX Editors offer remote work, which can be an option if the company doesn’t have special facilities.

How to become an AFX Editor?

The career path for AFX Editors quite often starts with video editing. It is important for AFX Editors to understand video editing and techniques of creation of a story. Those two roles are connected very tightly and usually clients decide to hire someone, who is skilled in both video editing and AFX.

If you are thinking of becoming an AFX Editor, we recommend reading our previous article that mentions how to become a Video Editor. Once you master the video editing skills, you can move onto another software which in this case is Adobe After Effects.

It is quite easy to find online tutorials and classes on AFX. As with all software, the important thing is to PRACTICE. A LOT. This is the only way to become an expert in Adobe After Effects or any other programme.


How much does an AFX Editor charge?

Freelance AFX Editor can charge anything from £300 – £400 a day, depending on their experience. If you are about to hire someone with a strong experience in the industry, you are looking at £300 – £350 per day. AFX Editors can be quite flexible with rates depending on the length of the project.

Junior AFX Editor in an advertising production agency or post-production facility can earn up to £30,000 per annum. Mid-weight roles can go anywhere from £30,000 to £40,000 a year, with senior roles going above £40,000. The salaries all depend on the type and size of a company, and with the industry constantly changing it is hard to set exact numbers.

With video content raising in popularity in the past years, AFX Editors are more needed than ever. Special effects and impressive animation are not only parts of feature movies anymore – they have become a standard in advertising and digital content too. That’s why After Effects Editors are needed in the creative industry – to work on stunning motion graphics, compositing and digital video effects.


We would love to hear your opinion; maybe you have some valuable experience to share? Start the conversation by messaging our Creative Resourcer – Magda Kania

Contact our Head of Recruitment, Mary Broome, to discuss our current supply of skilled AFX Editors via email mary@yellowcat.london  or LinkedIn.



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Yellow Cat Recruitment Ltd.
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London, SE1 9PD

020 7580 7333