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Ronald & Kathlyn and After Effects & The COW

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CreativeCOW presents Ronald & Kathlyn and After Effects & The COW -- Adobe After Effects Editorial


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Happy 20th birthday to the most inspiring bit of kit that we believe was ever handed to creatives to beat their imaginations against.


The original WWUG logo
We used to say for years that if you can imagine it, it can be done in After Effects. I don't think there are many who would bet money on that kind of unbridled enthusiasm anymore -- we've all come up against a few iron walls in the last 20 years -- but we still believe most anything you can imagine, can still be done in After Effects. Yes, a bit of a qualifier but just a bit. ;0)

Many of you know our story and how we bought a Media 100 and a box of CoSA After Effects in November of 1994. We loved the Media 100 but we adored After Effects. In fact, over the years we often referred to our Media 100 as our realtime playback device for our After Effects files.

In the beginning it was really tough to learn. We knew of only one place: a five hour drive from our home in Cambria (where we then lived), to a monthly face to face meeting in San Francisco. This was before Brian Maffitt's Total Traing series, the Meyer books or even the first AE forum we ever saw, which was at Postforum.

Creative COW West

After the explosive growth of Creative COW in its first year, Ronald & Kathlyn created Creative COW West 2003 in Los Angeles.

While it included the Linux Film Group Symposium, "Skills Beyond Tools: Pro Editing" sponsored by the Motion Pictures Editors Guild, and more, After Effects was unquestionably the heart of the show.

The After Effects track was curated by Brian Maffit, and sessions were standing room only. This is the perfect time to once again thank Adobe for serving as the event's Platinum Sponsor.

For a blast from the past, and to see why the show was such a smashing success, check out the (no longer properly formatted) landing page for the conference!


It was on the way home from one of those early meetings, we began to hatch the plan for what eventually grew from a seed into what became the internet's latest and most active After Effects community.

No, it wasn't the first and there are those who would argue that it isn't even the best. We never worried about things like that. You see, we always believed that one of the best things that the engineers did when they coded After Effects, was to build an architecture that allowed for people to push the program into solutions they never foresaw or imagined. I have seen newbies do techniques that baffled experienced users who had to concede the originality and brilliance.

As we grew this community over the last 17 years since its gestation with our efforts at the WWUG and then into the incredible growth that came with two million cows wandering these pastures monthly, we've always felt the strength of the community was found in the community. It outgrew Kathlyn and me long ago. It outgrew any individual leaders not long after. It became what Kathlyn and I call "the cow herd."

After Effects is an ecosystem in the truest sense of the word. No other program I can point to has as passionate a base or as intense a community behind it -- users, plug-in developers, trainers, etc. etc. (Sorry FCP users but AE wins in this horse race. Don't agree? This is our write-up, we'll leave some room for your reply.). :@)

After Effects has solved more design problems, built more careers and brought checks to more creatives than any other tool we know of. Few tools make it to their 20th birthday. After Effects is one of them, and deservedly so. It truly is the tool that changed the course of design, the market, and our lives, as well.

We have always felt After Effects is the backbone of our community and holds an incredibly important place in our personal history. So our deepest gratitude and respect go out to the After Effects team for giving us all an amazingly creative tool that like Creative COW and our own efforts here at the COW, is not without its own limits or blemishes -- but in the end, does an amazing job of getting the job done.









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