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Mike Gondek reviews Creating Motion Graphics Volume 2: Advanced Techniques

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Mike Gondek reviews Creating Motion Graphics Volume 2: Advanced Techniques
A Creative COW "Real World" Book Review


Mike Gondek reviews Creating Motion Graphics Volume 2: Advanced Techniques

Mike Gondek Mike Gondek
www.mikegondek.com
Orland Park, Illinois, USA

© 2003 Mike Gondek and CreativeCOW.net. All rights are reserved.


Article Focus:
Mike Gondek takes a look at Creating Motion Graphics Volume 2: Advanced Techniques by Chris & Trish Meyer. ~ This book is 403 pages of Full color with PC/Mac CD and is published by CMP Books. Read on to find out what this book has in store for you...

Click here to orderChris & Trish Meyer have done it again, giving us another fantastic book! This one is for the advanced users and unlocks the mysteries and gives us new methods to solve issues we encounter. It is a loaded arsenal of technical information.

The book is in full color, the CD is packed with examples, and the many pictures and icons help you to get through the advanced issues covered here.

Is this book for me?
If you are new to After Effects then volume 1 might be better for you, but you cannot go wrong with a Meyer’s Book. The topics are exceptionally well organized so you can skip to alpha channels, which applies to everyone -- or save a chapter for future reference such as widescreen.

Content
Yes, you might not want to read every chapter, but if even 3 of them from the Table of Contents (Click here to download a PDF of the Table of Contents) are of interest, then buy this book. Learn what is NOT in the Adobe manual. Yes, you heard me right, Adobe does not cover in their manuals much of what AE can do. Luckily we have the Meyers.

RealWorld issues are covered like using the Adobe Illustrator release to layers command always put your type in reverse order. There is a reverse command that is very useful to run afterwards. Other less obvious things such as to create motion trails you should precompose your animation and then apply effect >> time >> echo.

The beginning of the book does many precompose solutions. Two exceptionally great chapters on expressions and vector paint. The back half of the book goes into issues of 3:2 pulldown, PAL, working with 3D apps, interlacing and making video look like film. So the first half of the book covers common advanced issues and the back end has a couple of chapters you might want to skip but some that can be very important to you.

You also get bonus PDFs that cover additional topics not in the books, and loads of fantastic 320x240 res animations from Art Beats.

Constructive Criticisms
Very little to say here. Page 152 on the Color Difference Key does not explain the difference between A & B partial. Would also like to have seen a better explanation of the Channel Mixer. Great that they used bold to let us know to open up an example, making it additionally red would separate it a little better.


Book Layout

Click on the graphic above to download the sample chapter pdf.

As you can see from this sample page on expressions, there are many illustrations and screenshots. Icons for tips, factoids, Gotchas and sidebars help break apart and organize ideas. The Connects are really not that useful as I prefer to just go to the index. The PB icon is very useful in that it lets you know that the Production Bundle version of AE is needed.

Authors
Why is this book so much better, and what makes authors such as Meyers, Kelby and Maffitt write such great material.

The Meyers are professional trainers so they understand which issues are important to us. They have experience answering issues from many different viewpoints. Some authors can write a book from years experience and reading all the material on a topic. Unless you have done some time in the classroom teaching you cannot write a book of this quality. In a typical class you answer many questions and all from different people with different ideas.

They do not just teach, but use AE creatively and this can be seen from the plentiful wonderful samples in the book and CD.

More information on classes and the Meyer’s tour schedule can be found at Accelerated Learning Group.


Conclusion
There is a lot of information in this book and you will get you moneys worth. The CD alone is worth the price as you can see all the work they have put into naming and organizing and creating numerous, relevant topics. This book covers what Adobe misses in the PB manual and is a 5 Cow book.



Don't worry about the book being written for AE5.5, I did it in AE6 and had no problems (it only took 2 secs to convert the 5.5 files to 6). The material is timeless, relevant and will most likely be valuable in AE 7 and so on.

It is an advanced book so will take some time to read and understand every detail. This book will push you to be better and think differently in using AE.


--Mike Gondek

###


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