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Newbie Here - General Question(s)

New Here ,
Apr 24, 2020

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Hi all! Just wanted to get a little insight on After Effects, as I have played around with other Adobe products over the last few years. My strength is Photoshop, which I learned mostly out of boredom but it's now become a hobby, and I'm fairly acquainted with Premiere Pro. However, I'm interested in learning After Effects to add to my "hobby" skills. 

 

That being said, I know it's taken me about 3-4 years of maybe 5-10 hours a week practice to get decent results in Photoshop, and I've dabbling around in Premiere Pro for about a year and a half, so I understand I'm not going to come close to being any cinematic great overnight. I will note that I downloaded the trial version of AE just to see what it's about, and am seriously considering adding it to my subscription.

 

My question(s) may sound stupid to those of you who are masters, but they stem from a project I'd like to undertake: a honeymoon video compilation as a gift for my wife to celebrate our second anniversary (occuring in September 2020). That gives me just about 4-5 months, which I know is not a lot of time to put together 30-40 minutes of video clips both in Premiere Pro and After Effects, but I'd like to put at least something together (and maybe refine the project for our third anniversary).

 

1) What is the relationship between PP and AE? Meaning, if I edit videos in PP, can I then plug them into the AE project and then export from AE? I've created a few projects stringing clips together in PP but want to know if I'm wasting my time as I'd need to use the storyline in AE. Or do I create animations, etc. in AE and then apply back to the PP video? I'm assuming just be the title of AE, that it occurs after all PP edits are made. My apologies if I'm not being clear, but I want to understand how the two programs work together.

 

2) I've seen a few templates that use a "story book" theme - one where the videos zoom in on and book, and the animations flip the pages to show text, pictures, and videos. Is there anyway to create just a basic one in AE? I'm not necessarily asking for step-by-step instructions, I just want to know if it's possible for a newbie like me to do it - again, not saying I'll get it done overnight. I'd like to use a storybook in my honeymoon project.

 

3) What are the best resources you've all used to learn AE? I don't come from a computer or graphics background, so a lot of the "tech speak" is still new to me, but I've always considered whatever I've learned in Adobe products to be my hobby, and that's how I see it forever (I won't make it into a full-time job for pay). Are there any specific websites or groups to join and follow? Any help you can provide and tidbits of knowledge are greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks in advance. I look forward to your help and guidance - I'm excited to see what AE holds.

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Newbie Here - General Question(s)

New Here ,
Apr 24, 2020

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Hi all! Just wanted to get a little insight on After Effects, as I have played around with other Adobe products over the last few years. My strength is Photoshop, which I learned mostly out of boredom but it's now become a hobby, and I'm fairly acquainted with Premiere Pro. However, I'm interested in learning After Effects to add to my "hobby" skills. 

 

That being said, I know it's taken me about 3-4 years of maybe 5-10 hours a week practice to get decent results in Photoshop, and I've dabbling around in Premiere Pro for about a year and a half, so I understand I'm not going to come close to being any cinematic great overnight. I will note that I downloaded the trial version of AE just to see what it's about, and am seriously considering adding it to my subscription.

 

My question(s) may sound stupid to those of you who are masters, but they stem from a project I'd like to undertake: a honeymoon video compilation as a gift for my wife to celebrate our second anniversary (occuring in September 2020). That gives me just about 4-5 months, which I know is not a lot of time to put together 30-40 minutes of video clips both in Premiere Pro and After Effects, but I'd like to put at least something together (and maybe refine the project for our third anniversary).

 

1) What is the relationship between PP and AE? Meaning, if I edit videos in PP, can I then plug them into the AE project and then export from AE? I've created a few projects stringing clips together in PP but want to know if I'm wasting my time as I'd need to use the storyline in AE. Or do I create animations, etc. in AE and then apply back to the PP video? I'm assuming just be the title of AE, that it occurs after all PP edits are made. My apologies if I'm not being clear, but I want to understand how the two programs work together.

 

2) I've seen a few templates that use a "story book" theme - one where the videos zoom in on and book, and the animations flip the pages to show text, pictures, and videos. Is there anyway to create just a basic one in AE? I'm not necessarily asking for step-by-step instructions, I just want to know if it's possible for a newbie like me to do it - again, not saying I'll get it done overnight. I'd like to use a storybook in my honeymoon project.

 

3) What are the best resources you've all used to learn AE? I don't come from a computer or graphics background, so a lot of the "tech speak" is still new to me, but I've always considered whatever I've learned in Adobe products to be my hobby, and that's how I see it forever (I won't make it into a full-time job for pay). Are there any specific websites or groups to join and follow? Any help you can provide and tidbits of knowledge are greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks in advance. I look forward to your help and guidance - I'm excited to see what AE holds.

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Apr 24, 2020 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Apr 24, 2020

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Re 1): AE essentially supports all video formats PP does. Other than using DynamicLink, a system of virtual containers that mutually initializes "headless" instances of the respective other program to dynamically render content. you still have to actualyl render clips and image sequences. what DynamicLink is and does is sufficiently covered in the respective online help sections. When it works it can be great, but it's very resource hungry and has technical limitations along with some ugly bugs, so depending on the situation it may not at all be that useful.

 

Re 2): Simply download or buy an inexpensive "storybook" project template. If you're spending so little time each week in the programs and need to split it across three different tools, you'll never get much done. You may still learn a lot by dissecting a premade template, but creating a potentially complex 3D composite on such limited time from scratch seems unrealistic, even more so since you may already be busy editing hundreds of photos to insert into the animation.

 

Re 3): Honest opinion: There's tons of of videos and commercial online courses, but as an old-timer I don't consider most of them particularly good. Many educators seem to know squat about teaching methodology and didactics and waste their time with explaining nonsense. Even Adobe's official resources leave a lot to be desired and God forbid you stumble upon some terrible YouTube tutorial that confuses you further. That being the case, don't set out to "learn AE" in one bold sweep. Start by reading the online help, but only the parts that are immediately relevant like the animation basics, project setup, general configuration, pre-compositions, effect usage and basic masking, shape and text layers, possibly DynamicLink. That's enough to keep you busy already. After that tackle things on an "as needed" basis and research them further or ask questions here. Everything else would be too inefficient. No point in talking your ear off on 3D layers for instance (which most of us could of course do easily) until you actually have worked with this stuff and need to solve a specific conundrum.

 

Mylenium

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Apr 24, 2020 0
New Here ,
Apr 25, 2020

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Thanks so much for this insight and help, I'm excited to jump into learning the basics, and have learned from my other dives into Adobe that I'm a much better learner by "doing" rather than reading or watching others do it. I seem to think that's the case with others, and I'll learn by making some mistakes but refining my skills through repetition and memory. You've helped me understand the program on a basic level, and I'm sure to have more questions as I poke around AE's capabilities.

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Apr 25, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 24, 2020

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Maybe this will help you visualize the difference between the two apps.

Screenshot_2019-10-27 17.35.56_hiEGSa.png

So could a Private Pilot with a little tailwheel time land the Space Shuttle? Probably, if all they had to do was line up with the runway, flare, and keep it straight until it stopped, but if they wanted to deploy the drag chute to get the thing stopped before they ran out of runway they probably would need a little extra training. I'm a pilot myself. I've been flying for more than 50 years, I have thousands of hours, and I'm very comfortable, but I still go up with an instructor once in a while to brush up on some things and make sure I understand the rule changes. 

 

After Effects is NOT a video editing app. You use it for creating shots and short sequences that you cannot create in an NLE like Premiere Pro. You don't open a sequence in After Effects to polish it up, you take one or two shots into AE and do things to the shots that you can't do in Premiere Pro. You would never want to put the whole movie in AE and render it. 

 

If you are looking for transitions then there are transition packs for Premiere Pro that will do amazing things in a couple of clicks and they are well worth the money, if you like that kind of thing.  I don't. I've been telling stories with moving pictures my whole life and I can't think of a single story I have ever told that was better because of an eye-candy cut or mind-blowing transition. Count the number of "transitions" in a feature film. Once in a great while you'll get a dissolve or a fade to black, but almost everything else is a straight cut.

 

If you want to create some kind of visual introduction to a part of the story you are telling then After Effects might be a way to create that introduction. Imagine that you get your friend to shoot a shot of you pulling your wedding album down from the shelf and then you cut to an over the shoulder shot of your in a chair opening it up. The camera moves to a close-up shot of your first dance. Your goal is to transition from that closeup shot to the footage from your wedding video. Here's the workflow for that.

 

Start a new sequence (timeline) in Premiere Pro and make a cut between the shot of you pulling the album from the shelf and you sitting in the chair. On a second video layer add the video footage of your first dance setting the in point of the layer to the first frame you want to see appear in the wedding album photo. Move the CTI (time indicator) to the first frame where you want to start seeing the video appear in the photo. Drag the trimmed wedding video over the top of the album shot so the in-point now lines up with the CTI. Now edit the wedding video as needed. for this part of your story. What you have is a nice sequence with an awkward cut. 

 

The next step would be to make a cut where the shot of the album and the wedding video overlap so you have just included the frames that you need to work on in After Effects. You don't take the whole shots, you just take the frames that need work and maybe just a few extras so you can visualize the timing a little better. Those two shots are selected and Dynamic Link is used to create a new After Effects Composition from the two edited shots. 

 

 

 

Inside After Effects, you may need to employ Rotoscope, Camera Tracking, Corner Pin Tracking, Masking, Track Mattes, Time Remapping, blend modes, and a host of other effects to change that simple comp into an effective transition to the wedding video into a 4 to 20 layer comp that really sells the effect and tells the story. 

 

 So how do you learn how to do all that? The best resources are not necessarily directly related to After Effects. To learn how to create really good animations you need to understand the 12 Principals of Animation covered very well in The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation by two of Walt Disney’s legendary Nine Old Men,  Frank Thomas, and Ollie Johnson. The User Guide will teach you how to make things move, but any 10 year old can do that. Understanding the principals explained in The Illusion of Life will start to teach you how to effectively tell a story using animated motion. Scott Squires produced a great tutorial series on Rotoscoping that will teach you more about that art than any After Effects Tutorial I have ever seen but he does not use After Effects to do the roto. The principals are sound but the tools are different. You need to learn about how light interacts with objects when you add them to a scene, how motion and composition work together to direct the viewer's eye, and how color and luminosity can change the mood in a shot. Very few of those considerations are part of any After Effects tutorial I have ever seen. Tutorials and the User Guide are a good way to get to know where the knobs and switches are and what they are supposed to do, but there are thousands of them and it is really easy to get lost. 

 

To find good training stick with professionals and the folks that actually supply the tools (3rd Party Effects and Scripts) that you use. Only about 1 out of 10 tutorials you find by searching YouTube are really good at explaining workflow and technique. Most are step by step recipes presented by enthusiasts that have stumbled upon. Some of the workflows are just plain wrong, and a lot of things that should be explained ae left out. 

 

The last part of my advice I give over and over again to all kinds of users. When you run into a problem start by soloing a layer and revealing all modified properties. Do that in the Timeline. Selecting one or more layers and pressing 'uu' will reveal everything that you changed on any effect or property on the layer. You start by turning off effects or changing values. If the problem goes away when you solo a layer then it is caused by another layer so start turning them on one at a time until you find the problem. If you then cannot figure out what is going wrong post a screenshot of the entire UI with as many things selected as you can so we can see what is going on in the comp. Include a detailed description of both the workflow and design goals along with a description of what is going on in any footage used in the project so we can help.  Make sure you post screenshots to the forum using the toolbar above so we can easily see what is going on.  There are lots of people with a lot of experience on this and other forums that are willing to help. There are also a lot of well-intentioned enthusiasts so make sure you vet your trainers. Make sure they know what they are talking about.

 

Think about these things, spend 20 or so hours learning the UI by going through as many of the User Guide tutorials as you can, and pay close attention to what is going on in each scene of films that really inspire you and you should do just fine.                                                                      

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Apr 24, 2020 0
CJ25INC LATEST
New Here ,
Apr 25, 2020

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Thank you for your input and reassurance that with some practice, my goals in AE are achievable. I was trying to understand the interface just by clicking different options and relating it to how PS and PP work, but realized it's a completely different function. You've helped answer my initial questions and concerns, so much so that I'm ready to start learning the program from the ground up.

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