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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Adobe Press; 1 edition (June 8 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321704495
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321704498
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 18.3 x 22.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 839 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #148,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ariane Colenbrander on Aug. 29 2010
Format: Paperback
This book won't explain the program in detail, however it WILL get you up to speed with 14 lessons encompassing the most widely-used features of After Effects. The included CD offers lesson files and examples of finished projects-a great way of viewing the result you're aiming for. Everything about the book is well organized and the chapters start off with the basics (such as animating text and shape layers), leading up to the Roto Brush tool and advanced editing techniques.

I went through several of the lessons in order to get a feel for the book's accuracy, learning curve, and program features. I did find a few areas in the book that could have benefitted from an additional diagram or two (e.g. Restore Frame Size from the Render Queue panel was never found, though the book described it, assuming that it was easy enough to find. Not so.)

As someone familiar with many Adobe products, I found that After Effects has a much higher learning curve. I ventured to the web on many occasions in order to search a particular term or file extension being described in the book in order to learn and not blindly follow along.

I would recommend a basic appendix at the end of the book in order to give beginners new to the program a head start. While the book's preface mentions that the book is not meant to replace program documentation, it wouldn't have been too difficult to have added a few pages of useful information.
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Format: Paperback
Not a very expensive way to star learning this software. I have always trusted Adobe books to learn to use their programs
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 32 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
After Effects Deconstructed Aug. 29 2010
By Ariane Colenbrander - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book won't explain the program in detail, however it WILL get you up to speed with 14 lessons encompassing the most widely-used features of After Effects. The included CD offers lesson files and examples of finished projects-a great way of viewing the result you're aiming for. Everything about the book is well organized and the chapters start off with the basics (such as animating text and shape layers), leading up to the Roto Brush tool and advanced editing techniques.

I went through several of the lessons in order to get a feel for the book's accuracy, learning curve, and program features. I did find a few areas in the book that could have benefitted from an additional diagram or two (e.g. Restore Frame Size from the Render Queue panel was never found, though the book described it, assuming that it was easy enough to find. Not so.)

As someone familiar with many Adobe products, I found that After Effects has a much higher learning curve. I ventured to the web on many occasions in order to search a particular term or file extension being described in the book in order to learn and not blindly follow along.

I would recommend a basic appendix at the end of the book in order to give beginners new to the program a head start. While the book's preface mentions that the book is not meant to replace program documentation, it wouldn't have been too difficult to have added a few pages of useful information.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
It Empowers You to say, "I CAN DO THIS!" Dec 28 2010
By Brian M. Stoppee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I've been enamored with After Effects since 1993 when it's founder, CoSA had it, before it went to Aldus and inevitably Adobe, over a very short period of time. I've studied it; I've even rubbed elbows with some of the planet's foremost After Effects experts but like Premier and Soundbooth, I've never mastered any of them as I have InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, and others. Now a deadline is breathing down our necks so we are in crash learning mode for all three apps. We go way back with Classroom in a Book (Photoshop 5, maybe)? As a book series, it has had a few bumps in the road, mostly at the turn of the century, but of late (Creative Suites and beyond), they've been terrific. I've reviewed five Classroom in a Book (CIB) volumes for CS5, so far, in our quest to master the Master Collection. They've all gotten five stars from me (or disallowed fractions there of). December 27, 2010, I published a lengthy review of Premier Pro CS5. It was my favorite, so far. I compose these things as I learn, so I wrote this first paragraph on After Effects (AE) CS5 as I crack it open, later in the same day.

First, now that I have a handle on Premier, the AE interface seems like I'm right at home. AE, like many other Adobe apps, is all about layers. I go back to Photoshop 2.0 and Illustrator before it. As much as I like the way AE has a similar user interface (UI) to Premier, learning about a layers panel, which differs from Adobe apps, which I'm familiar with, is a bit troubling (but that's not the fault of CIB, of course). I mention that with good reason: the first lesson of the book builds my confidence about my AE abilities. I'm on some familiar territory and in some new spaces but CIB makes it all feel doable.

This is one of those CIBs where plenty of consideration has been given to the readers' learning curve. In the second lesson, on basic animation, the learning environment has been optimized with the ample availability of digital assets. This allows the readers to concentrate on the learning tasks, at hand, which are most important. That said, some of the original CIBs inspired us with some great assets to work with. They were clever enough to make us go, "That's SOOO cool. I want to do more." The third lesson on animating text signals the return of those days as do other CS5 CIBs. This is exactly the kind of things we need to do for the projects in front of us, in 2011. So, I not only know how to do it, but the example gets me revved about what the learning experience has empowered me to create.

If you are reading this with some Illustrator and Photoshop know-how, in your back pocket, and wondering if you have the knowledge to master After Effects, lesson 4 makes you feel very much at home. What you already know about pucker, bloat, stars, and gradient fills falls right into place with AE tools.

Not to over-simplify this or go off on a thematic direction which I am discovering, but AE is filled with many principles of not just other Adobe apps, but animation, the AE-way, borrows from other media-rooted metaphors. By way of example, lesson 5 shows how you use AE to animate a multimedia presentation. This is a nice departure from the more broadcast oriented projects. A few weeks ago, we posted to the Online Learning section of our website a PDF on using InDesign to create a series of Flash animations for a multimedia presentation. It's a growing use of these apps. In this lesson, we are introduced to the parent-child relationships which we find in creating Dreamweaver website page hierarchies. If you've ever done big websites, you need not be told more, you know what this CIB volume is talking about. Though using the masking vector shapes also makes me feel at home, this portion of chapter 5 makes me feel like I'm back in some Phil Collins or Peter Gabriel early MTV video. The lesson is great; the sample is a little whacky.

The sixth chapter takes me back to the days of GoLive as it shows us how to duplicate animations with the Pick Whip. But, once again, CIB makes me feel more comfortable with AE as I go through each lesson.This one starts with layered Photoshop files and adds lighting. This is the lesson where we begin to get pretty serious about animation, but its all very doable, though at times I needed a little breathing space.

It's pretty much impossible to be even moderately adept in Fireworks, Flash, InDesign, Illustrator, or Photoshop without knowing how to use the pen tool. This volume of CIB teaches you how to use that tool to create a mask and drop in a news clip, add reflection, blend it, 3D light the thing, and vignette the overall image. These are all techniques I am familiar with for still imagery, which I now feel very comfortable to apply in AE.

For CS5, Photoshop borrowed AE's renown puppet tool. Before CS5 I would have struggled to figure this out in AE. Now lesson 8 is a breeze but not boring. In this case we need to animate what we do with this tool, so it makes the chapter very interesting.

I don't come into AE CS5 as a novice. The very first project we did in AE CS5 was for the Online Learning section of our website. Watching Adobe TV demonstrate the Roto Brush tool, a modern day version of Hollywood's tedious rotoscoping, revved our engines to try it. The lesson CIB offers is more challenging than anything we've done, which is exactly what we have come to expect from this series. It's a very full explanation of the possibilities and it brings together much of what we have learned in the previous eight chapters.

The tenth chapter goes into something we had no idea AE did: color correction to footage, plus the application of effects. Once I completed this lesson, I realized that many AE artists need to deliver finished projects. It's not something where they have the luxury of saying, "We'll fix that in Premier."

We have been building 3D objects with many apps, for at least twenty years. The approach AE takes differs from anything else we have worked with and since the end result is animation, we understand why. 3D is not an easy one to teach. CIB makes it seem second nature, even if this is not something with which you have a great deal of familiarity. This CIB author could have stopped with the basic principles but he/she took it a step further to integrate what you just created and taking it out to what could be a finished project. That provides the reader with all the more of a "can do" feeling of accomplishment. However, when we get to the next chapter, 12, CIB takes us further, with the same project, using many of AE's features to make this a truly polished end-result.

Lesson 13 has many pleasant surprises which I did not know AE could do. Some of it's magical: You'll stabilize shaky hand held shots. It takes you into tracking possibilities. There's something little-kid fun about sending the particles from an exploding super nova flying toward the screen. This is one of those CIB chapters where I had to take a break and come up for air. It took me a little while to wrap me head around what Timewarp even was. This isn't CIB's fault or Adobe's. Taking it slow, I eventually figured it out.

The final chapter is the least fun, but of great necessity to understand. It's logically organized, like everything else in the package. It takes you through some well-designed rendering templates for AE. The chapter takes you through a variety of output possibilities and even schools you in pixel aspect ratio correction. It makes me smile since we once had the first three Mac Quadra 700s shipped into Virginia. To render a 3D project which consumed a small portion of a 30 second television commercial would have to start when we closed up of the evening and was sometimes still in progress the next morning!

Tough I feel the book/DVD package could be made better by improving some of the samples to be a bit more inspirational to my creativity, I cannot downgrade it more than one or two tenths of a point. So, I say at worse, it's 4.8 stars, which has to round up to the whole number of 5.

Adobe After Effects CS5 Classroom in a Book is fun. It's educational. And, above all, left me feeling empowered to take on an app which I went into not 100% sure it was something I could master. Now that I've done these lessons, I can say, "I CAN DO THIS!"
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A clear and thorough introduction to the basics of After Effects CS5, including its newest features Aug. 1 2010
By Nathan Andersen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
While some software guides focused on a new product simply add a few new sections to reflect upgrades, this book has been thoroughly rewritten and could easily stand alone as a solid introduction to After Effects. As you would expect in a guide published by Adobe, this "official training workbook" has been revised completely to reflect what's new in Adobe After Effects CS5. It begins with the basics, but includes chapters on the new rotobrush, on color correction with the new Synthetic Aperture Color Finesse 3 plugin, on building 3d objects within After Effects, and on using mocha to track motion. So this would be a nice refresher for those who haven't used After Effects in a while, and a great introduction for those who are just starting out with After Effects now. For a more thorough introduction to some of the basic features of After Effects, it would be good to supplement this with After Effects Apprentice.

I like that the book opens up by having you complete some actual animations before it really gets into the technical details of how to set up a workspace and the like. They do a nice job throughout of balancing introductions to the magic of After Effects with delivery of the nitty gritty details you have to know to make it work properly. They also do a very good job introducing the reader to "best practices" - ways of doing things that keep your workspace clean and well organized, and make it easy to find what you need. Occasionally they leave out things that will be obvious to those who've worked with AE before but might confuse newcomers - for example when they first have the reader work on a motion path, they assume it will be visible, but don't mention that if it isn't by default you need to click on the button in the Comp panel to make it visible.

The approach the authors take in this book is mostly just to lead the reader through creating several ready-made projects (whose basic elements have already been created, and are available on the included dvd) that will introduce them to a range of possible tweaks and procedures and effects. There isn't always as much explanation as I'd have liked - and sometimes it feels like following a recipe, that simply says "do this, and then that" and doesn't always explain the whys of each step, or what would happen if things were done differently. The main advantage of this approach is that it allows a beginner to see quickly some of the many things that can be done with After Effects. The disadvantage is that after going through things this quickly, the reader would not be very well prepared to apply similar effects in different projects without guidance. (This was especially evident in the Puppet Warp chapter, where they had the reader animate a cartoon character using the Puppet Warp tool, but instead of leading readers through the qualitative process of figuring out how to animate the character they just gave numbers for the positions of each body part at different times - so it was really a matter of just typing in lots of numbers rather than learning how to make it work and look right.) I think it would be stronger if they gave more exercises designed to help the reader put what they've learned into practice on projects that had more flexibility; in that sense, this guide is not as strong as After Effects Apprentice.

At the same time, for someone new to After Effects with CS5, I think this would be a very good introduction, because it does lead the reader through not only the standard skills you need to work with After Effects effectively, but also through several of its newest features, something that you wouldn't get from, say, After Effects Apprentice. In fact, if it could be managed, I'd suggest that an ideal beginner's course in After Effects CS5 would begin with this book as a way of getting into the program, and getting exposure to the range of its features, and then following that up with After Effects Apprentice to get a more in depth and flexible, practical introduction to the basics. For those who already have some experience with After Effects and want a refresher course, or for those who are just getting started with After Effects CS5 and want a fast introduction to what is possible, this book alone might not be a bad way to go. There are several things I learned from working through this book even though I've had some experience working with After Effects, and have worked through a few other books and several tutorials. The new material that addresses After Effects CS5 comes in chapters 9 and beyond, addressing the Roto Brush, the advanced color correction possible with Synthetic Aperture Color Finesse 3, the latest 3d and advanced tracking possibilities.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
eBook Digital Lesson files - Calm down everyone! Jan. 26 2011
By Christopher J. Benz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This training book, to my mind, achieves exactly what it sets out to and does it well. It's an alternative for users who don't want to plow through a software manual and want to just start using the program. It's a 'learn by do' approach. For practically minded or creative people, this is a great way to get started with After Effects. The projects are really only B or C grade from an artistic point of view, but they're stimulating enough and it's really about the possibilities and seeing how you achieve things that your imagination can conjure. To make really cool stuff you need to visit the websites of advanced designers's tutorial [...]

This book is beautifully laid out, very clear and logical and fun to work through, even for those familiar with the program - a lot has been added in the last few editions.

So anyway, on to the eBook lesson file issue that is causing such controversy on Amazon. This solution is good for all Classroom in a Book editions of CS5 programs. I'm assured by the publisher PeachPit that ALL of the CS5 Classroom in a Book eBook editions ship with links to the lesson files which can be easily downloaded from the publisher website.

Here's how you do it.

Buy the eBook. Then, on your chosen reader, scroll to the END of the eBook and scroll back a few pages. Very close to the end you will find a section in caps titled WHERE ARE THE LESSON FILES?

Very clear instructions follow about how to go to the publishers website (PeachPit) and download the full files associated with that particular text.

Granted, it would've been clearer to list these instructions at the beginning of the book rather than the end. My guess is that given that the files are not to be given away freely until purchase, they are placed at the back of the eBook so that they are not included with the sample first pages that are given away freely as incentive to buy.

The good thing is that the digital lesson files are there and fully included with each Classroom in a Book eBook for CS5.

Enjoy.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Take your time with this Oct. 23 2010
By D. Sanders - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I agree with the other reviewers in general as to this being a decent book for learning AF and doing it by lessons. But each of us learns differently so for me the best way was to go very slowly and do exactly as described in each lesson plan. When I say exactly, I mean make sure your layout, panels, etc. as well as where each panel is docked look like in the lessons. By a few lessons into the book, the author instructs you to do something and he doesn't re-explain it over and over (it is assumed that you know what step to take and the author states this in the beginning of the book) otherwise it would take up book space and lesson time repeating something over and over. Expect 2-3 times depending on the steps, lesson.

It can be overwhelming if you skip something and thus it can be frustrating when you don't see the same results (of the lesson). Say if you use your own Text font for example instead of the Text font used in the lesson, then you may get off-track and thus not see the results as the lessons was designed. I used Text fonts as an example because you may not see the same applied Effect(s) as was used in the lesson. Also, I tried to step forward on some steps and thus got lost in the end (my fault).

The more I have been using AF, the more everything has come together and I can see how the steps I take results in the final desired outcome. To me, the book was a great way to learn AF. But it's not going to teach me everything; I use other tools (media, etc.) to learn much more.

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