The Best After Effects Training for Film Editors
As an editor the one program that I’ve historically lost work by not knowing is After Effects. Back in my FCP7 days I didn’t even own After Effects so it wasn’t that big a deal to me – plus I was know for my focused editing abilities. But now with the move for a lot of editors (myself included) to the Adobe Creative Cloud suite of applications and Premiere Pro CC specifically, the need to know how to get stuff done in After Effects feels all the more pressing.
There is a lot of free training for After Effects available online (and I’ll pull a post together of some of the best at some point soon!) but I wanted to point to some paid training first because if you want learn something properly, you need to be a bit more thorough, and committed, than ransacking Youtube.
For more training from Lynda.com check out this previous post covering a whole host of other topics from narrative scene editing and documentary editing to colour grading and more.
There are 137 results when you search for After Effects on Lynda.com, and even with the handy 10 day free trial, you won’t get through that much of it. Here is a quick run down of where you might want to start…
Learning After Effects as a Film Editor
Probably the best jumping off point for a complete beginner would be After Effects CC Essentials by Ian Robinson, this course is 11 hours long and covers everything from understanding the UI to creating animation, rotoscoping, tracking and even simple 3D work. If you have the time this would be excellent foundation for the next few courses.
Tracking and Stabilising Footage in After Effects – If David Fincher is happy to stabilise, polish and conform Gone Girl inside After Effects then it’s plenty good enough for me too. In this shorter After Effects Guru tutorial series from Richard Harrington you can learn how to track camera movement and then make use of it to add something else to the scene, or to smooth out the motion. Even though you can use Warp Stabiliser inside Premiere Pro using it in After Effects will give you a greater degree of control and precision.
Enhancing Production Value in Premiere Pro and After Effects – In this ‘bag of tricks’ course from Chris Meyer you’ll pick up more than a handful of useful tips on how to redeem terrible client footage into something more presentable. Whether that means simple colour correction, image repairs, adding artificial lights to a scene or creating a ‘filmic glow’ you’ll hopefully come away with something to keep up your sleeve. In the video above you get a 10 minute tour of all the blending modes in Premiere Pro and what effect they each have.
Motion Graphic Basics in After Effects
This is probably what you’ll be called upon most as an editor to know how to do. Motion graphics. Something completely different from the skills required for offline editing, and much more about composition, design, colour choice, text hierarchies and aesthetic abilities. If you have a design eye this will hopefully come more easily to you.
In this concise After Effects Guru course from Ian Robinson you can quickly grasp the basics of taking a client logo and creating an animated version of it from scratch in under 90 minutes. What’s great about this course is that it’s fast enough that you could watch it through in a (long) lunch break but detailed enough that you’ll learn how to recreate your client’s logo in Illustrator if aren’t supplied with the right assets, so you can still animate the separate elements later.
In a similar vein, and a more up-to-date release date (March 2014 vs November 2013) Richard Harrington delivers a very similar course called Motion Graphics for Video Editors which is over an hour longer than Ian’s but is all about helping video editor’s get motion graphics results done quickly and with a minimum of effort.
Lastly in this After Effects Guru course Ian Robinson demonstrates how to animate typography in a more detailed way. It takes things a bit deeper than you might want as an editor, but these skills could very well come in handy to add some sizzle to your title treatments in the edit suite.