After Effects Apprentice: The Video(s)

Visual learning based on our popular entry-level book.

Many After Effects users know us for our books Creating Motion Graphics (CMG) and After Effects Apprentice (AEA). CMG is intended as a deep reference for After Effects, while AEA is structured as a series of lessons to help a beginner or part-time user get up to speed more quickly with the key features of the program in a real-world environment.

We're very excited to be taking the lessons in After Effects Apprentice and recording them as a video training series for lynda.com. Videos allow us to better explain what we're thinking when we choose a particular tool, effect, or parameter value – it's like being able to look over our shoulder and listen in on our brain as we work, and better conveys both the technical and creative process we go through. Not being restricted to the page count of a printed book also allows us to expand more into related features and techniques, and actually work through the Idea Corner and Quizzler challenges sprinkled throughout the book. We feel this additional background will make these videos useful both for people learning on their own, and for instructors who use AEA in their class.{C}

Rather than release the entire video series as one exhaustive course, we're recording each lesson as a self-contained video set. We hope this approach avoids the potential of a beginner feeling overwhelmed by the breadth of After Effects, and allows you to more easily focus on the areas of the program you're most interested in or need to learn for a particular job. To this end, we're also taking some of the lessons in the book that covered two disparate features – such as Painting and the Puppet Tool – and breaking them out into separate video courses. Although the most recent edition of AEA was written for After Effects CS4, we're recording the videos using CS5, and making project files for both CS4 and CS5 available to Premium Users (others can refer to the disc that comes with the current AEA book).

The first three courses were just released on lynda.com:

  • Pre-Roll, which goes over the user interface as well as how to import sources, manage compositions, and preview as well as render your work.
  • Basic Animation, which is a classic “first project” in After Effects where you build an animation from scratch – including numerous tips on arranging and keyframing layers.
  • Advanced Animation, where you will master (after a basic review of keyframes and interpolation types) the Anchor Point, Graph Editor, Motion Sketch (including the Smoother), Auto-Orientation, Roving Keyframes, Motion Blur, and Hold keyframes – all core tools that even some experienced users are not familiar with.

We'll be adding one or two courses a month. If you are not already a lynda.com subscriber, the introduction as well as a few individual movies from each course are offered free to all. And as a reward for making it all the way to the end of this post, click here to register for a free 7-day all-access pass to lynda.com. Enjoy!

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.



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Chris & Trish Meyer founded Crish Design (formerly known as CyberMotion) in the very earliest days of the desktop motion graphics industry. Their design and animation work has appeared on shows and promos for CBS,…

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