After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Rendering a 4:3 Center Cut Movie from a 16:9 Composition an update on what's next for the Apprentice series.
Chris and Trish Meyer
By Chris and Trish Meyer 05.21.12

As we mentioned what now seems like ages ago, we spent a year and a half creating an extensive, multi-course video training series based on our popular beginner's book After Effects Apprentice. The introduction plus one or more additional videos from each course are available for free preview; we re-posted here on PVC the videos that contain tips and instruction you might find useful. Well, the series is done, and we're off writing the next edition of the book. But before we go, we had one last video to share with you, which may be of interest to any After Effects user who still has to create both 16:9 and 4:3 versions of their compositions.

In this wide-ranging course recorded in After Effects CS5.5 and applicable to all recent versions including CS6, you will pull together skills you've learned in the previous Apprentice lessons, including using masks, effects, shape layers, text, layered Illustrator files, blending modes, track mattes, collapsed transformations, nested compositions, motion blur, expressions, animation presets, audio, a 3D camera and light, and more. Along the way, we share the mental process we go through as we design a video project, plus important tricks and shortcuts.

We spent an entire "chapter" of the video course discussing efficient render strategies, including how to create output in multiple formats during the course of a single render. In the movie above, we demonstrate how to take a 16:9 square pixel composition, resize it for non-square pixels, and then crop off the left and right sides to create a center-cut version - all inside the Output Module, without the need to create an additional composition to render.:


This entire course - as well as all 15 courses in the series - are available to subscribers of Also, for those who prefer to pay once for online access rather than buy a monthly subscription, our publisher Focal Press and their partner Class On Demand has repackaged these courses as three sets of five courses each (as well as a bundle including all 15 courses), aimed at various levels of After Effects user from absolute beginner to those wishing to take on more advanced tasks.

As for us, we're in the thick of writing the third edition of After Effects Apprentice, updating it to include new features introduced in CS5, CS5.5, and CS6. Once we finish later this summer, we will then create additional videos covering the new features and exercises, which will be inserted into the first 14 courses - as well create an all-new final project. So if we fall quiet for awhile, that's what we're up to!


FTC Disclosure: We make a bit of money whenever you purchase one of our courses from Class on Demand, or have a subscription and watch one of our courses. We do not make any money from either when you watch these free videos. We've worked with Adobe over the years, and they give us free access to their software in exchange for testing and consulting, but they did not subsidize the creation of these videos or the book they are derived from. We're just trying to pay the bills by sharing with you what we've learned from using After Effects since version 1.0.

The content contained in After Effects Apprentice - as well as the CMG Blogs and CMG Keyframes posts on ProVideoCoalition - are copyright Crish Design, except where otherwise attributed.