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By Rob Garrott | Wednesday, April 11, 2012

After Effects Apprentice 15: Creating a 10-second promo video in After Effects

In After Effects Apprentice 15: Final Project (the fifteenth, and final, course in the After EffectsApprentice series based on the second edition of Trish and Chris Meyer’s book After Effects Apprentice) you will pull together skills you’ve learned in the previous After EffectsApprentice lessons to create a real-world video promo. In the first half of the course Trish leads you through building the artwork and components used in the final piece, and then Chris demonstrates how to assemble your precompositions into a 3D world, timed to music. Skills covered include how to use masks, effects, shape layers, text, layered Illustrator files, blending modes, track mattes, collapsed transformations, nested compositions, motion blur, expressions, animation presets, audio, a 3D camera and light, and more.

Throughout the course, Trish and Chris share with you their process and thoughts as they design component elements, work towards assembling a final composition, and deal with handling change requests from clients. Chapters 11 and 12, the final two chapters of the course, are essentially mini-courses in themselves. In chapter 11, Chris breaks down several strategies for efficient rendering, including how to create versions for archiving, non-linear editors, widescreen, center cut, and the web, and chapter 12 dives into the process of recreating a dial Illustrator logo using shape and text layers inside After Effects.

Although After Effects Apprentice 15: Final Project concludes the After Effects Apprentice series, this isn’t the last we’ll be seeing of Trish and Chris as they’ve already promised to update their After Effects Apprentice book based on the next version of After Effects, and afterward will release additional Apprentice videos covering the new features, plus a new final project.

By Rob Garrott | Friday, October 21, 2011

Altering 3D space in After Effects Apprentice

The After Effects Apprentice 11: 3D Space course from Chris and Trish Meyer has a split personality. Despite the Intermediate rating, most of the course is devoted to a very gentle introduction to using 3D layers, cameras, and lights in After Effects, and is suitable for those relatively new to the program or those who have never used 3D in After Effects before.

However, there are also a pair of higher-level chapters that demonstrate different ways to integrate After Effects and Photoshop to create 3D objects. These techniques include importing 3D models (including mapping a video file onto a surface of that model), using Adobe Repoussé to extrude text or other selections in Photoshop, and using Vanishing Point Exchange plus the ‘Kid Stays in the Picture’ technique to convert flat photographs into compositions you can move a 3D camera around. (Also remember that Chris Meyer has a separate course on lynda.com dedicated to integrating the popular 3D application Cinema 4D with After Effects.) A series of ‘sidebar’ movies at the end discuss rotation and scaling issues in 3D, OpenGL acceleration, and different axis modes for manipulating the position of 3D layers.

If you’ve been looking for a course to take your After Effects skills literally to the next dimension, this is it.

Watch the entire After Effects Apprentice 11: 3D Space course.

By Rob Garrott | Friday, October 21, 2011

Frame Blending in After Effects Apprentice 10: Time Games

Each of Chris and Trish Meyer‘s After Effects Apprentice courses are based on variations around a central theme. After Effects Apprentice 10: Time Games—released just a few weeks ago—is based around several different ways of manipulating time. At just under an hour in duration, it’s also the most standalone of the Apprentice courses, as users at different levels can jump straight in and learn some cool tricks without first having to work their way through the prior Apprentice courses.

In After Effects Apprentice 10: Time Games, Chris first covers Frame Blending to make slow motion look smoother. He compares and contrasts the two different algorithms After Effects supplies for blending—Frame Mix mode (crossfading) and Pixel Motion mode (optical flow)—discussing which works better on different types of source footage. He then demonstrates creating even slower frame rate stop-motion effects, as well as how to create freeze frames. This leads into Time Remapping, an advanced function in After Effects where you get to ‘keyframe time’. This course also includes a few application ideas, including how to re-use one element multiples times and make each instance appear different. This last idea is offered as a free movie to non-members, so everyone can get a taste for the After Effects Apprentice courses.

By George Maestri | Thursday, May 12, 2011

Animating text with After Effects Apprentice 06: Type and Music

After Effects has a very powerful text animation engine. The dark side of this power is that text animation in After Effects can be (to put it politely) difficult to master just by poking around. As a result, many artists only apply text animation presets, and have not yet learned how to modify these presets or create their own custom animations, settling for what Adobe provides.

Well, it’s time to change that. In the latest installment of the After Effects Apprentice series, Trish Meyer reveals the secret of mastering text animation in After Effects: understanding the purpose and use of a Range Selector inside a Text Animator. Once you master that, you will learn that most type animations are simply a combination of offsetting properties such as scale, color, or opacity of already set type, and then selecting (and animating) which characters get offset and by how much. Along the way, Trish teaches the two core type animation recipes (‘typing on’ and ‘cascading’), as well as how to refine, randomize, and customize these movements. She also shows how to place characters in 3D space, animate type along a path, work with Photoshop type in After Effects, and cycle lists of words. And yes, she covers text animation presets as well—including a good workflow for choosing candidates to present to a client, as well as improving them beyond their defaults.

Beyond text animation, Trish uses her background in print to demonstrate professional typesetting techniques many video people may be unaware of. Ignore them at your own risk, as knowing them can be the difference between a sophisticated- and amateurish-looking job. Her partner Chris also makes an appearance, talking about adding audio to your After Effects projects and how to time your animations to music. Chris also touches on subjects such as licensing concerns and how to best mix audio inside After Effects. These two sections will be of use to editors and animators of all stripes, regardless of what software you actually use. And for After Effects users, both Trish and Chris share numerous workflow tips and creative ideas throughout this course that you can put to use the next time you need to incorporate type or music in your work.

By George Maestri | Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chris and Trish Meyer’s After Effects Apprentice video training series at lynda.com

Authors Chris and Trish Meyer introduce us to their new series at lynda.com:

Many After Effects users know us for our books Creating Motion Graphics (CMG) and After Effects Apprentice (AEA). CMG is intended as a deep reference for After Effects, while AEA is structured as a series of lessons to help a beginner or part-time user get up to speed more quickly with the key features of the program in a real-world environment.

We’re very excited to be taking the lessons and projects in After Effects Apprentice and recording them as a video training series for lynda.com. Video allows us to better explain what we’re thinking when we choose a particular tool, effect, or parameter value—it’s like being able to look over our shoulder and listen in on our brain as we work, which better conveys both the technical and creative process we go through. Not being restricted to the page count of a printed book also allows us to expand more into related features and techniques, and actually work through the Idea Corner and Quizzler challenges sprinkled throughout the book. We feel this additional background will make these videos useful both for people learning on their own, and for instructors who use AEA in their classes as curriculum.

Rather than release the entire video series as one exhaustive course, we’re recording each lesson as a self-contained video set. We hope this approach avoids the potential of a beginner feeling overwhelmed by the breadth of After Effects, and allows you to more easily focus on the areas of the program you’re most interested in or need to learn for a particular job. To this end, we’re also taking some of the lessons in the book that covered two disparate features—such as Painting and the Puppet Tool—and breaking them out into separate video courses. This video series will be relevant for both CS4 and CS5 versions of After Effects.

Today, the first three of 19 total installments in the series are now available in the Online Training Library®:

After Effects Apprentice: #01 Pre-Roll

After Effects Apprentice: #02 Basic Animation

After Effects Apprentice: #03 Advanced Animation

We’ll be adding new installments each month until the series is complete. Happy learning!

Chris and Trish Meyer

By Megan O. Read | Wednesday, April 07, 2010

lynda.com authors at NAB in Las Vegas this week

This Saturday marks the start of the NAB conference in Las Vegas. The conference brings audio, video, and film professionals together for five days of inspiring keynote sessions, demos of the latest cutting edge equipment, and hundreds of vendors in the vast exhibit hall.

There are quite a few lynda.com authors who will be speaking at NAB this year, and it’s not too late to register for tickets.

lynda.com authors speaking at NAB include Robbie Carman, Mark Christiansen, Abba Shapiro, Rich Harrington, Larry Jordan, Scott Bourne, Jeff Greenberg, Trish Meyer, Chris Meyer, and Jeff Foster. Look for them on the NAB sessions calendar.

By Megan O. Read | Friday, February 26, 2010

Author interview: Chris and Trish Meyer

Trish and Chris Meyer

I sat down with lynda.com authors Chris and Trish Meyer, legends in the motion graphics industry, to talk about where they came from, who inspires them, and what the future holds. Here’s what they had to say.

 When did you get started in the motion graphics industry? What was the industry like then? What/who inspired you?

By Crystal McCullough | Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Vignetting with feathered mask shapes in After Effects

Vignetting is a classic photography technique involving darkening areas of an image in order to focus the viewers attention on a desired point of interest. In After Effects: Extended Vignette Techniques, Chris Meyer shows how vignettes can also be leveraged in video. He demonstrates how to frame a subject better, fix a poorly composed shot, give a vintage feel, create “quiet areas” to overlay text and other graphics, and how to blend an image over a new background. Vignettes can be created using masking, shape layers, and gradients. Be sure to check out the entire course for more insight and techniques.

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