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Old November 17th, 2003, 09:03 PM   #1
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After Effects 6 Learning curve???

Hi guys,

Just wondering.....with Pinnacle's dying support and developement for Commotion Pro (sad)...I find myself looking to learn AE 6 Pro, but have no clue as to using the program......how do you AE guys (and gals) find learning AE to be?

I am not proficient in Commotion but am fairly good with FCP3 and Photoshop but want to add "pizzaz" and special effects to my DV videos----I just picked up 2 books with CD-Roms that will hopefully get me started- but what sort of learning curve should I expect with AE?
(I know this is person dependant- but assume a non-pro but dedicated enthusiast with above average Mac-Intellect and self-teaching)
Just trying to gauge the average difficulty in learning AE- I know this is hard to quantify but as we all know FCP is more difficult than iMovie- I'm willing to bet some of you can quantify AE's difficulty to some degree.

Can u guys recommend a good DVD learning set.....I saw something on Adobe's website re: AE tutorials.......what do you guys recommend?

Thanks a million everyone.
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Old November 18th, 2003, 12:28 AM   #2
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Hi Steve,
I don't have any experience with AE6, but I have done some work in AE5.5. I learned from a series of dvd's by Total Training www.totaltraining.com that were an excellent learning source. The lessons are very detailed, but not complicated. And the host is very easy to listen to... not boring at all. They even have sample clips on the website so you can get a feel of what they provide. If you're looking for a great dvd learning set, this is definately the place to look.
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Old November 18th, 2003, 01:00 AM   #3
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Steve,
As you know, I've used both programs for a while. (Jeez, I hadn't heard that Pinnacle is dropping Commotion...is this so?)

In brief, I think you'll find AE to be a more versatile tool. I just received my 6.0 Pro upgrade today and it's still shrink-wrapped. But I believe that it now includes a motion-tracking tool, a feature that Commotion long had in distinction.

It will take you some time to get the hang of AE. It has grown to become a very rich tool, which leads to a certain degree of complexity. But with your grounding in the layer-based models of FCP and (especially) Photoshop I don't think it will take you long to at least master the basics.

In addition to Nicholi's Total Training dvd's, I highly recommend Trish and Chris Meyers' excellent books on AE. They are arguably some of the leading authorities on AE instruction and application. The books are a little $ largely because they're completely 4-color. But they feature some excellent guidance with good examples.

Overally, I think AE has an immensely larger following and base of support than Commotion. This means that you will find far more resources for AE. Note also that FCP supports AE plug-ins.

Dive right in!
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Old November 18th, 2003, 08:08 AM   #4
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Ken,

Thanks for the reply.....I did in fact get a book with a cd-rom by Trish and Chris Meyers....I find the book excellent....I also got the Classroom In A Book of AE6 by Adobe (but have yet to open it).

Nicholi..thanks for the recommendation- I will go to the site and check out their offerings.

Looking forward to learning AE 6......hopefully I'll get the hang of it,

Again, thanks all.
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Old November 18th, 2003, 12:32 PM   #5
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If you need some more instruction, I have about two years worth of tutorials covering AE (and other applications like FCP) on my site.
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Old November 18th, 2003, 05:23 PM   #6
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Thanks Stephen- I'm gonna check out your site right now.

I have a basic question about AE......can it paint over time like Commotion?

Also, I've been self teaching myself with a cd-rom and book called "Creating Motion Graphics with AE- Vol 1: The Essentials" by Trish & Chris Meyer.....curious thing, it appears as though everything I've read thusfar seems quite possible inside FCP w/o AE (keyframes, modified transfer modes etc)......so where's the big benefit- workflow, RAM preview....or am I prematurely underestimating the capabilities of AE because of the limited exposure?

I made a short clip using AE- this is my 1st rendered composite and I have to say I do like AE but hope it goes beyond what FCP can do "effects wise".....and I'm definitely looking for the paint over time capabilities.

Here's a short 3 mb clip showing a redtail hawk capturing a bird with a "peep sight" type graphic following the captured prey.......pretty basic and def doable in FCP but this is my 1st attempt at AE compositing.
------> http://stevenunez.com/video/rtaeclip.mov

(Is "Shake" the FCP/Apple version of AE??)
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Old November 18th, 2003, 06:41 PM   #7
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Yes, you can paint on frames in AE. Basically you do so on a paint "layer". Note the brush, clone, etc. tools in the toolbox.
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Old November 18th, 2003, 07:45 PM   #8
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Stephen, your site tutorials are great. I especially like that you have downloadable project files that can be used for a better understanding of how you accomplished each project. Excellent work.
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Old November 19th, 2003, 07:47 AM   #9
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Yes you can paint directly on a layer with the Paint Tool.

Funny thing about FCP, Avid, Vegas, etc. - they are all adding advanced compositing features with each new release many of which are found in After Effects. Each is trying to be an all in one package. Unfortunately, FCP has a long long long way to go before it matches the ease of use and power of AE. For example, masks, 3D layers, much better text creation, motion tracking, better key controls, and let's not forget all the wonderful effects...

I say take the time and learn AE, it will help you tremendously.
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Old November 19th, 2003, 08:13 AM   #10
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Stephen,

your tutorials are great. Such a shame about the book deal- I hope someone publishes your book- if it's as nicely written as your tutorials, it should sell well.

Thanks for taking the time out and putting all that info up on your site- people like me appreciate it and do use the information....so don't think your efforts go unnoticed...great work!
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Old November 19th, 2003, 08:20 AM   #11
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Thanks for your comments, it is always gives a warm fuzzy when I know people are getting things out of my tutorials.

:)

I doubt the book will be published for two reasons:
1. The company that would want to publish has to buy the rights back from Pearson
2. I'm so bummed from this experience, that I don't want to go back and rewrite the book for AE6.0.

That being said, I would happily write a new book (with a new and better direction than the last) covering the topic.

Also, anyone is free to email me with suggestions or ideas for tutorials or topics they would like covered.

This week I'm probably going to cover two keying programs/plugs - though not for AE, and next week going to work some more with Particle Illusion.
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