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When does one turn to Pro in AE?

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Katalin kotcsei
When does one turn to Pro in AE?
on Jun 16, 2018 at 10:11:02 pm

Hey Guys,

I have been using AE for a while now. There are many things, techniques that I know and I m confident about. Still, I find it there is a lot to learn, thus, when a Client asks which level I' m at I get intimidated and don't know what to say.

Is there a certain way to classify or "measure" your knowledge in After Effects?

Than you,
take care


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Kalleheikki Kannisto
Re: When does one turn to Pro in AE?
on Jun 17, 2018 at 6:38:50 am

Being "pro" can mean different things to different clients, so there's hardly a universal measuring stick for this. The level of skill should be judged first and foremost from the quality of work, i.e. the portfolio, showreel and prior completed projects. If someone is happy to hire you at your given rate based on your portfolio, you know that they consider you "pro enough" for that job.

The official Adobe Certified Expert certification is currently not available for After Effects, Adobe having switched the provider a couple of times in the recent years. I guess that would be closest to a standard test for (theoretical) proficiency in AE.

There are a couple of other places where I've come across basic tests for AE skills on Pluralsight, UpWork and MochaInterview. They are all very theory-oriented multiple-choice questionnaires. I guess those tests will give some idea of how firm a theory knowledge you have in AE. At least the first two give the results as a statistical percentage in relation to others who have taken the test. The last one has specifically been designed for company HR pre-interview screening of prospective employees, but it is rather expensive, and it should really be the hiring company that would pay for such screening, not you.

Kalleheikki Kannisto
Senior Graphic Designer

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Walter Soyka
Re: When does one turn to Pro in AE?
on Jun 19, 2018 at 10:52:12 am

[Katalin kotcsei] "There are many things, techniques that I know and I m confident about.... Is there a certain way to classify or "measure" your knowledge in After Effects?"

After Effects is used by a number of different disciplines, so even advanced Ae users may not really be proficient in all the uses of the application.

Rather than focus on "knowledge in After Effects," I'd suggest steering the conversation toward your skill set. If you're familiar with Ae's 3D space, camera and lighting, text layers and animators, shape layers and repeaters, and maybe a few plugins like Element 3D and Particular, I think those skills would be good to talk about in the broad terms of motion design.

Maybe draw a contrast with a different use case for After Effects. Perhaps as a motion designer, you're less comfortable and experienced with traditional compositing tasks like keying, tracking, and painting.

Obviously, I don't know you, and I'm only imaging your true skill set. I just think it's important to recognize and discuss where the tool ends and the designer or artist begins.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]

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Steve Bentley
Re: When does one turn to Pro in AE?
on Jun 19, 2018 at 6:27:11 pm

Keep in mind too that AE is just soooo flexible and there are sooo many ways of doing any particular task that not everyone will work the same way or use the same techniques. (just have a look at the differences in opinion over in the thread about the graph editor). As a 26 year vet of AE I'm sill learning things as I look over someone else's shoulder who has maybe only l or 2 years on the books. It's also the reason I'm active in the forums. I can't tell you how many times I've read a post and thought, "what a great solution to that particular problem".

When we are looking for new hires, the things that stand out are not how good they are with the software but how well they handle the concepts of animation, fx and motion graphics: things like understanding mattes and track mattes, easing and the natural dynamics of motion, lighting and depth, and on the FX side how well they look at the world so they can replicate something and make it look real.
I find the software mechanics are far easier to teach than all the other skills you get from a good artistic background.

The biggest difference between a Pro and a dabbler is the ability to deliver what you said you would in the time and budget agreed.

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Eric Santiago
Re: When does one turn to Pro in AE?
on Jun 19, 2018 at 7:14:29 pm

Same can be said about apps such as Maya.
It does get deep if need be.
I know folks that only work with text comps and they are considered Pro.
Basically, they make more money than me :P

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