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New Years Learning: Third Edition of Real-World Skills
Adobe's After Effects is a popular software solution for animators and compositors. If you're making a resolution to start learning the application this year, getting started from scratch can be a daunting task. There is so much information online and even in Adobe's own Adobe.tv network. This book breaks down the application into very digestible segments, in an order that allows the user to achieve some interesting and artistic results after the second chapter.
The book is filled with large type, large images (screenshots) and easily identified shortcut key patterns. These are important features of the book. This book isn't necessarily something you'll read in absence of the application. Chances are, you'll be reading this as you are working your way through After Effects. It's going to sit alongside your keyboard or tablet, so these features make the book successful as an instructor. And hey - you have Trish and Chris Meyer reference at your fingertips of course.
Although this is the third edition, there are still components of the older versions of software (CS5 and 5.5) that still apply to some users who might be interested in the book. If you've recently upgraded your software, or have subscribed to Adobe's CreatveCloud service (you'll get access to Adobe After Effects as one of the available applications), you will want to check out the chapters that discuss the new features in detail.
One of the long-awaited features in Adobe After Effects is the ability to have Ray-traced 3D extruded text. Trish and Chris go over the feature both in a chapter dedicated to 3D space, and when discussing shape layers. Another useful feature that may come in handy for both new users and advanced users alike is After Effects' ability to repair some shots that suffer from rolling shutter issues.
The new CameraTracker demystified
Perhaps the most valuable part of the learning experience in the After Effects Apprentice book is the ability to quiz yourself on the lessons of each chapter. This isn't just a review of the topics in the chapter. Focal Press has included a disc with the book. The disc contains projects and materials for you to apply your freshly learned skills to.
Can you create, fix, or complete processes in the examples provided in each chapter's quiz? This is the type of testing you might be faced with on any real world project. It's the type of testing you'd get if you were assisting any After Effects artist - A great way for you to become the After Effects Apprentice.
You can find how to purchase this book and others by visiting Chris+Trish's website CRISHDESIGN.com There, you'll also find some sample chapters from their books.
This is REQUIRED READING for anyone who wants to jump into Adobe After Effects. (CS5 / 5.5 / 6) (Mac/PC)
If you'd like to discuss this book with other readers, you're invited to visit dmala's monthly meetup in Hollywood, California.
Ko Maruyama is a freelance animator in Los Angeles. In addition to working on film and broadcast animations, Ko teaches at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design - focusing on motion design. When working, writing or testing software allows, you can find him lending a hand in the After Effects board and lurking among the Cinema4D, Visual Effects and Photoshop posts within the DMNForums.
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