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After Effects Course and Compendium by Ben Goldsmith

Obregon Obregon

Is from: Southold, US
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Obregon Moderator Donor Ribbon. Awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level of skill in several areas.  Charter Member
Sun 13-Nov-22 08:17 PM
After Effects is a rather specialized program for editing videos allowing one to control motion graphics and movies beyond that provided by most video editing software. For example, it’s possible to create a content aware fill, allowing the editor to remove unwanted objects from a video. It can be used to create very attractive moving titles and illustrations, and it often can be used to save less than perfect videos. But the software is not intuitive and learning to use it is difficult. I regularly find myself pulling related texts off the shelf to remind me how to perform a task.

This book consists of a set of practical exercise tutorials, using After Effects and assets downloaded from the publisher’s web site. That’s the course part. Then there is the compendium. That’s more like a manual, although I found it to be a less than complete, lacking even an index in the on-line version.

The problem is with the exercises. The best texts devote a lot of space to showing you where the various switches and buttons are located. Unfortunately, not only did Goldsmith not spend enough time with the interface, but, in the electronic version, some of the illustrations were too small to see and could not be enlarged. As a result, even where there was a simple instruction, it often took me many minutes to find the right button or menu. If I hadn’t already used After Effects, I might never have found those buttons. In a few instances, I had to refer to another publisher’s book to understand the author’s instructions. Sometimes I ran through the same exercise several times trying to figure out what the author wanted me to do.

I finally got to a place where the book told me to apply a certain preset to a project. I could find no explanation in the book of how to do that. After spending almost three hours trying to figure out how to apply this single step, I gave up in frustration.

That’s a long way of saying this is a poor book for a video editor to learn how to use After Effects.

G