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Brian M. Stoppee
- Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Since 2005, when we heard of the forthcoming Adobe Master Collection, following the Adobe-Macromedia merger, we've been on a mission to master that collection. We admit to not really feeling as if we have gotten there, yet, and that's why we devote hours every week to learn more.
We've been enamored with After Effects (AE) since 1993 when it's founder, CoSA had it, before it went to Aldus and inevitably Adobe. The learning curve for AE is a bit steep. It's not because it's a difficult app to learn. It's not. If you're already working working in Premiere Pro (Pr) you have many of the basic skills. However, AE is something of the world's largest sweetest onion which has to be unpeeled one layer at a time and some days it feels as if we'll never make it to the center of the thing.
Our primary learning resource is the Classroom in a Book (CIB) series plus Learn by Video also known as Video to Brain or V2B. To that extent, since we have studied both of them for AE CS5, this CIB is a very disappointing book. This CS6 edition is pretty much the same thing as the one for CS5. A few chapters have minor revisions. The only significant difference is that the very valuable chapter on the Roto Brush Tool, which was new for CS5, has been replaced with the new CS6 feature on the 3D Camera Tracker. However, we count 24 other significant features since CS5. We cannot recommend someone spend $38 for a 22 page chapter. Therefore, we have to think of this as a beginner's book and not a source of continuing education for existing users. That's unfortunate.
Nevertheless, for a beginner, this is a great book. After Effects tends to intimidate people not familiar with it. The first chapter guides the newcomer into overcoming concerns about the user interface (UI), as the second one gets you started with a simple project. In around two hours your comfort level with AE should be raised.
The third chapter on animating text is very applicable to the use many people have for AE. Animated type is a popular use for you to get AE creations over to Premiere Pro (Pr).
To some degree, AE is a collection of effects which the user applies to graphics. The size of the effects library is what endears professional users to it. It's also is part of the previously mentioned intimidation factor. Historically, CIB excels in not only teaching Adobe apps, it provides some enjoyable and inspiring sample visuals. This does not disappoint in this one, and the fourth chapter is a good example of that. By the time you have created and adapted some of the lesson's visuals you can feel like you're on your way to not just learning AE but your mind ought to be in gear as to what you can create on your own.
A couple decades ago, whacky music videos had visuals which moved across the screen in bits and pieces. The lessons in chapter five remind us of that. Still, it achieves the goal of mastering more AE features including an audio track.
When you hear the AE term of "Layers" it's easy to think, "I know all of that from Photoshop." (or another Adobe app). Nothing could be further from the truth and chapter six dives even deeper. If you're not familiar with what are known as a "track matte" and "traveling mattes" you will complete this chapter feeling empowered.
Masking in any Adobe app tends to scare prospective users. If you're among them, consider the seventh chapter as the "Get Over It" lesson set. The CIB gently guides you through the masking modes and makes everything feel doable and tosses in a little bit of Roto Brush work.
If you've worked with the Puppet Tool in Photoshop (Ps), the eighth chapter will leave you right at home, as well it should. Ps pretty much adapted that feature set from AE. If the concept is a bit foreign to you, these lessons will dissolve any concerns you may have.
The ninth chapter's name of "Color Correction" only tells a portion of the story. We call it "Doing Photoshop Stuff." You'll recolor and replace a background as well as the expected corrections.
If you're not used to working in 3D with Photoshop and/or Illustrator, chapter ten is going to take a little extra study. Even if you're up to speed on those apps, you're walking down a new street with this one. You'll need to have mastered the tenth chapter before you move onto the eleventh or you're going to feel a bit lost. It's worth noting that the projects for these two chapters are not all that exciting unlike what we're used to in the CIB series. When there are more challenging lessons it's always nice if the project you create is something really cool.
The twelfth chapter, the new one, is about the new 3D Camera Tracker. That feature set is magic in itself. When a clip has motion and you're trying to add a 3D element which coordinates with all the camera elements, you need your creation match that motion. AE now gives you that power. That sounds difficult but this chapter makes it come together and feel very doable.
By the time you get to chapter 13, some of the finer and a bit more complex features are introduced. These are things like the warp stabilizer, moving and resizing track points, the particle simulator, or timewarp effect. We figure just reading that sentence makes you think, "Huh?" It's not all that difficult and the lessons walk you through them with ease.
If you're up to speed on video technologies or you've already exported projects in Premiere Pro or Adobe Media Encoder, you can breeze through the fourteenth chapter. However, if it's all new to you, you'll need to study this one carefully. It goes in a different direction than the rest of the book. However, it's essential.
For reasons we stated earlier in this review, this CIB is not our favorite. It doesn't seem as if as big an effort has been put into this one and we have come to expect excellence from every CIB. We can't say that this one's excellent. Even if we skip the fact that we see this as a must-miss if you follow each edition as new versions are released, we don't want to give it 5 stars but feel beginners might miss out on a much needed learning experience if we downgraded it to 4 stars or less. We give it a 4.5 but the amazon system forces us to rounded it up to 5 stars.