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Adobe After Effects 2021 Classroom in a Book

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Fri 19-Feb-21 11:28 AM
Adobe After Effects 2021 Classroom in a Book by Brie Gyncild et al

Video makers who use Premiere Pro for editing have access to lots of effects to make their videos better. However, every once in a while, a video needs something more, like animated titles or content aware fill. Recently I shot a video of a bird in a windstorm where branches and bird were going every which way, and I could not stabilize the shot in Premiere. In this case, another piece of software that easily integrates with Premiere Pro and is part of the Adobe Creative Suite came to the rescue. After Effects let me focus the stabilization on a tree trunk that didn't move and the shot was rescued.

After Effects has a complicated interface and a wide variety of tools. Even if you are familiar with, say, Photoshop and Premiere, there is little instinctive about the software. Most new users need extensive instruction, and this book is one of the best ways I found to learn After Effects. Each chapter consists of tutorials that explain a particular function. One downloads files from the publisher's website to complete these tutorials. (After Effects has to be leased directly from Adobe to do the exercises.) The exercises first allow you to see the finished clip, and then start out with some basic shots and go step by step to create a video like the finished clip.

Purchase of the book allows you to access its contents on line. The on-line material also includes videos that cover the same content as the book, as well as a few extra (but non-essential) tips and some quizzes. Rather than juggle the book, I found it easiest to open After Effects on my computer, launch the book on line, read the tutorial instructions and then switch to After Effects to follow the instruction.

If you view a video full screen, you will be returned to the top of the section rather than the video's location when you close it.

The on-line material is useful in other ways. With its crowded interface, it's often hard for a tyro to find the right tool or icon. A look at the video instruction will clarify this. Sometimes users complain that the instructions are incomplete or incorrect. That conclusion is usually due to user error, where an incorrect tool was selected or a step was overlooked. The video instruction makes it easier to find where the mistake occurred.

The book suggests a length of time to complete a chapter. I found these to be over-optimistic.

Unless you are a graphic artist who regularly uses After Effects, you are unlikely to remember everything you learn. In my case, I remember the capabilities and then review a chapter or section before resorting to the software.

Most of the 2021 update to After Effects improved speed and reliability, rather than providing new functions. If you've read an earlier version, you may not benefit from reading this edition. On the other hand if you never really learned After Effects this is as good an introduction as you will find.