Here is a free downloadable package of After Effects template projects that you can use in After Effects CS3 and later.
These are the same template projects that were included on a separate “Contents” or “Extras” disc in the box with previous versions of After Effects, or could be downloaded in a separate “Functional Content” package (that was rather hard to find on our website). We’ve made them easier to find and download for all After Effects users on the After Effects Exchange.
This .zip file includes several template projects and associated footage, which you can use as a starting point for your own project or to study to learn how to recreate the animations in these templates.
Download and unzip the file and put the Templates and Footage folders anywhere on your computer. Previous versions of After Effects would install these files in the Support Files folder, and that’s as good a place as any for you to install them.
For more information about template projects, see this video by Andrew Devis and this page in After Effects Help. Note that Andrew’s video presumes that you have already installed the template projects in the Support Files folder.
You can also download a free 3D material options project by John Dickinson that shows how to use the ray-traced 3D renderer.