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Old December 13th, 2010, 09:25 AM   #1
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Next step up from After Effects?

I'm very new to vfx design. In the beginning stages of teaching myself AE. I'm curious, what is the next step up from After Effects? Cinema 4D, Nuke? something else? I know there are a lot of professionals on this site, so I just thought I would pose the question. I'm not really teaching myself AE, for any reason other then its something I've wanted to learn. Buts since I've started lurking here, reading post, and soaking in information, I've seen mention of other programs. So as I asked above, wanted to know what was the next stage in the progression?

I've looked at website for Nuke, am I correct that I'm seeing its $4500 for the software?

Thanks for the comments,
Jeff
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Old December 13th, 2010, 05:51 PM   #2
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Hi Jeff. It really depends on what you want to do and where you want to go. If you want a full set of tools in your arsenal my opinion would be to learn a 3D program. After Effects is 2.5D which is nothing like the same - it can sort of 'cheat' 3D effects but to create anything half believable is a huge amount of work and expertise and many things it simply cannot do. I am reasonably proficient in AE but have moved onto learning Cinema 4D precisely because of this - and it's a joy to be able to do something in a couple of clicks that would have taken hours in AE with masses of layers and precomps and still not have come even vaugely close to the quality. I'm not decrying AE as it's great at what it is good at - graphics, video manipulation and compositing but quality 3D is not its area. Well, that's my 2 cents worth.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 09:55 PM   #3
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Quote:
I've looked at website for Nuke, am I correct that I'm seeing its $4500 for the software?
That's right. Eyeon Fusion is in the same ballpark. If you've visited the videocopilot tutorials by Andrew Kramer you will know that after effects is capable of almost anything, except composite in true 3D space. Nuke, Shake, Fusion, etc incorporate 3D compositing.

If money is an issue, and you have to learn a 3D program, go for Maya 2011. It includes a compositing program called Maya Composite (previously called Toxik) which is node based and is powerful enough for 3D work. You can use after effects for basic 2D stuff and motion graphics, and also finishing and grading.
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Last edited by Sareesh Sudhakaran; December 13th, 2010 at 09:56 PM. Reason: typo
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Old December 14th, 2010, 03:34 PM   #4
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If money is an issue, and you have to learn a 3D program, go for Blender. It's free and has composite nodes. Actually, go for Blender even if money isn't an issue.
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Old December 14th, 2010, 05:41 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Rainer Listing View Post
If money is an issue, and you have to learn a 3D program, go for Blender. It's free and has composite nodes. Actually, go for Blender even if money isn't an issue.
I wouldn't say "I have to learn 3D", but I do want too. I will look into blender.
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Old December 14th, 2010, 11:35 PM   #6
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Another vote for Cinema 4D - but be aware that the learning curve for all these packages is a straight line pointed up - ie not easy, regardless of what the advertising would have you believe.

C4D is really excellent as is Maya. Personally I think I'd probably give Maya the edge for animation but maybe C4D for modeling. Lightwave is a lot more economical (if you can consider $895 economical) but it has a lot of functionality for the $$$. It was really popular a few years back, but I think it's kind of fading while Cinema 4D has really increased its market share in the last couple of years. Blender is really quite capable as has been mentioned.

Of course, if you want Fluid effects there's always RealFlow - if you want to lighten your wallet by $3k or so. And you pretty much need something like C4D or Maya or Lightwave to make use of it.

Blender is probably sounding better by the minute!
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Old December 23rd, 2010, 03:26 AM   #7
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The next step up could be Autodesk's Flame, which will set you back roughly $200,000 :p

For 3D, part of the reason C4D is so popular with AE users is due to their integration. For example, lights and object buffers can be created in C4D and then directly imported with the render into AE. I don't think any other 3D program has this level of integration with AE. Plus, C4D is designed to do simpler tasks quicker than other 3D apps so it lacks a little in the heavy rigging whereas Maya is the opposite. C4D is heavily used in broadcast because of its 'quickness'.

Furthermore, to be a marketable freelance AE artist, it is becoming the norm to be well-versed in C4D.

Once you are ready to learn C4D, check out FXPHD.com where you can use it for free as part of their program. They have the best AE & C4D courses that I have seen in addition to other great classes.
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Old December 23rd, 2010, 10:02 AM   #8
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Absolutely agree with the recommendation for FXPHD.

As Steve pointed out, once you are enrolled you can use a LOT of software using their VPN license server. You download and install the software and licenses are checked over the VPN

You can even get Massive, which is used for lots of crowd scenes like the football stadiums full of people in the beer ads! And which costs almost $20k per seat.

Check out their website - programs like PFTrack matchmoving, C4D, Maya. They even offer access to the educational version of Realflow which you can get from NextLimit for a VERY reasonable price.

Only restriction is that you can't use the software for commercial work but for learning it is one great deal.

Edit: Another resource for C4D is Cineversity.com. Maxon has a guy pretty much full time responding to questions - also lots of tutorials. Some free and some with a fee based membership which I think is pretty reasonably priced.

And the courses themselves are excellent! I've been a member for several years.

Last edited by Jim Andrada; December 23rd, 2010 at 10:41 AM.
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