ADOBE AFTER EFFECTS: Forum Expressions Tutorials Creative Cloud

Learning AE Task-Specifically

COW Forums : Adobe After Effects

<< PREVIOUS   •   FAQ   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Lori Savitch
Learning AE Task-Specifically
on Jan 6, 2011 at 12:29:35 am

Hi Everyone. I'm new here. I hope this question is in the right place.

I've been a broadcast professional for many years. I'm a good editor. I've always had a "graphics person" to provide whatever motion graphics/animation I needed. But now I'm in a position where I really must learn to do this myself. I'm excited -- and a little overwhelmed.

I am well aware that AE comes with a steep learning curve, and I must devote time to mastering the effects I need to do my job well. I just don't have the time to learn much beyond what I need to do my job.

So here's my question: How can I learn what I need to learn as efficiently as possible?

I plan to start with Photoshop: a 9-hour seminar supplemented with online tutorials. Then, I'll take a basic AE class. But after all that -- I really need to learn to do some specific effects. For instance:

* Animated Lower Thirds

* Cool-looking, animated "lists" to illustrate copy such as "the symptoms of the flu are chills, fever and body aches" using video and stills.

* A few green screen techniques

* Plug-ins. How to work with them -- where to find them -- do I even need them????

I do video production for a hospital marketing department. My projects are more "news" oriented (health stories for VNRs and the web) but I also do training videos and commercials.

Sooo ... what's your best advice?? Thank you all so much in advance for your feedback.


Return to posts index

Dave LaRonde
Re: Learning AE Task-Specifically
on Jan 6, 2011 at 4:33:27 pm

[Lori Savitch] "I am well aware that AE comes with a steep learning curve, and I must devote time to mastering the effects I need to do my job well. I just don't have the time to learn much beyond what I need to do my job."

Aw, for cryin' out loud! Do they expect a technician in the radiology department to to run an MRI machine by reading the manual? No, they get flippin' TRAINING!

"Oh, well, it's just video..." Never mind it's just as complicated to learn, which is the REAL issue.

It's good that you understand about the steep learning curve. Now let me draw an analogy about that "learning a few techniques to get along" part.

Let's say you've been using Final Cut Pro for a week. Would you jump into using the Media Manager to create a new project in a different editing codec? That's what you face in AE. The user interface already looks intimidating, and it hides a lot of its capabilities. So while you're trying to pick up a few tricks, I STRONGLY RECOMMEND you also get this:

http://www.peachpit.com/store/product.aspx?isbn=0321734866

The cost: about the same as a video game. Not bad for an all-in-one-place method for learning AE. This wouldn't hurt either:

http://blogs.adobe.com/toddkopriva/2010/01/getting-started-with-after-eff.h...

...but the first link is better. Now onto some of your specific points:
  • Animated Lower Thirds: I'll bet these babies also have semi-opaque backgrounds on them. You'll very likely find a tutorial or two on the topic at Videocopilot.net. Expect to be a bit confused -- I would be if I was confronted with the necessity to "Learn AE Right Now!"
  • Animated Lists: This is a toughie to define, since there are so many ways to skin this particular cat... and guess what? They all use different techniques in AE! The good news: AE text layers use many of the same controls, and in the same way, as Photoshop text.
  • Green Screens: Thank goodness you already know how to light and shoot for 'em! The go-to keyer in AE is called Keylight. I've learned that it likes chroma key backgrounds a little on the dark side; if you look at the shot on a waveform monitor, the highlights on the subject would be just below 100 IRE, and the background would be at 65-75 IRE. I personally would err on the side of the darker background.
  • Plugins: Forget about them for the time being; you'll have your hands full with AE as it is. But the best source for them is Red Giant Software, and they typically come with training videos. Most plugins use the same kinds of interfaces as the effects that come with AE -- so you need to learn those first.

Finally, if there's ANY WAY POSSIBLE you can limit your work for the next few months to mostly news-type VNR's, you'll be a lot happier. It's almost impossible to hit the ground running with AE. If you DO have to do a spot, KEEP THE STINKIN' THING SIMPLE!

I do not envy your task, ma'am. Know that we're here for you. And best of luck.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


Return to posts index

Michael Szalapski
Re: Learning AE Task-Specifically
on Jan 6, 2011 at 5:30:51 pm

I would agree with everything Dave said. Good luck!

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


Return to posts index


Dave LaRonde
Re: Learning AE Task-Specifically
on Jan 6, 2011 at 7:09:35 pm

Thanks to our friend Google, I viewed certain quicktimes from WVUH. If they're any indication of a typical workload, you'll be just fine in your quest to learn the ins & outs of AE.

My best advice to a broadcast pro: AE is a lot like a Swiss Army Knife for video.

If you were to undertake the construction of an ornate box using only the knife -- tricked out, of course -- you'd have to open & close the various tools all the time, puzzle over the attributes of various blades... in short, it would take a lot longer than using the job-specific tools found in a woodworking shop. Think of that workshop as you would a station's tape room & control room.

AE lets you do a lot, but in ways that aren't very intuitive. Learning to think in AE terms is probably your biggest hurdle. Since it's an elaborate piece of software and not hardware like a video switcher, it can do the things that a switcher does, but you have to to keep opening & closing those tools on the knife! But you'll be fine, I'm sure.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

On a different topic, I'm old enough to remember a certain female anchor who rose like a rocket through NBC News, but who met with a tragic and untimely end. I look at your family name and wonder.

You may recall a director from Pittsburgh by the name of Jack Ginay, now at WTTW in Chicago; he was once my roommate at Indiana University.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


Return to posts index

Lori Savitch
Re: Learning AE Task-Specifically
on Jan 6, 2011 at 10:38:25 pm

Thank you so much Dave (you too Michael!) for your thoughtful reply. How very kind of you. The how-to product from Peachpit looks perfect for me. And as much as I tried to hide it, I guess you picked up on my frustration over WANTING to learn this software, but not having the time to do it. The powers-that-be have been great about buying Production Premium, and offering to send me to classes. So, I'm grateful. (Hell, in this economy, I'm grateful to be working!)

Thank you for your wonderful advice and guidance. Creative Cow has been a savior many times as I've lurked around the forums!

Here's a link to my website and some of the work I have done for WVU Hospitals.

http://lorisavitch.com/Lori_Savitch/WVU_Hospitals.html

And Jessica was my sister.

Thanks again so much!

-Lori


Return to posts index

Dave LaRonde
Re: Learning AE Task-Specifically
on Jan 7, 2011 at 12:24:55 am

Ma'am, you are more than welcome.

I have a soft spot in my heart for people who understand how to tell stories visually with a camera and a mic, out on a story and on deadline. It's an art in itself. Given the choice between solid visual storytelling and gee-whiz effects, I'll take the visual storytelling any day.

I also have a soft spot for people who are determined to learn this stuff the right way. If WVUH lets you go to Photoshop & AE classes, that's just great: you'll learn so much more that way.

Many people who frequent this forum seem to use AE for things other than broadcast video. The medium poses its own challenges for the AE practitioner, and I'm not bad at the basics that make learning the more complex stuff less of a challenge.

If you need help, you look me up here. I'll be glad to help.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


Return to posts index


Lori Savitch
Re: Learning AE Task-Specifically
on Jan 7, 2011 at 1:32:29 am

Thanks again, Dave. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your offer for continued help and direction. I'll keep ya posted! Be well and happy out there in Iowa!


Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2017 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]