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Total Trainings Whats New in After Effects 5

COW Library : Adobe After Effects : Mike Gondek : Total Trainings Whats New in After Effects 5
Mike Gondek reviewsTotal Training's What's New in After Effects 5
A Creative COW "Real World" Product Review



Mike Gondek examines Total Training's After Effects 5.5
Mike Gondek
Mike Gondek support@mikegondek.com
www.mikegondek.com
Orland Park, Illinois, USA

©2003 Mike Gondek and Creativecow.net. All rights reserved.


Article Focus:
CreativeCOW leader, Mike Gondek examines a training series called Total Training After Effects 5.5 by Brian Maffitt & Steve Holmes.


Brian Maffitt and Steve Holmes have teamed up to deliver the Swiss Army Knife on After Effects! Maffitt obviously has been a technical trainer for many years, and presents in a visual, clear, concise and easy to understand style. Maffitt is the boss holding the interest of both the novice to advanced user in his presentation. Holmes presents some amazing beautiful samples for adding to your AE bag of tricks.

What You Get
This set of 11 DVDs, brings you 35 plus hours of training. There is a lot of material, but it is organized so you can reference material easily in the future. Additionally there are 5 CDs of project files you get, which advanced users can skip and just watch along. There is some great stuff from Artbeats at half res, and you can animate your own Maffitt puppet. The samples are great! We can all relate to the content and even laugh at Brian playing King Kong.

The presentations are spotless, you will feel like you got more than 35+ hours of private instruction from 2 masters of AE, without the render time. Be prepared to learn lots of keyboard shortcuts and take notes. Many shortcuts are on the quick reference card in AE, but some are from Maffitt/Holmes arsenal. The Über U key was my favorite, but I have added many more new shortcuts from this, and I am a trainer myself.

The quality of production is superb, the type is crisp and the panning between zooms is perfect.

The Sets
I wanted to skip the first introductory lesson and go straight to expressions or some advanced material. Set one was presented so well, that I decided to not chance missing anything. It is best to do them in order, since some material gets occasionally referenced. Maffitt and Holmes make expressions look easy, and unlock mysteries, that have been aggravating me such as shatter exploding in 3D space.

SET 1
The Fundamentals
SET 3
3D & Expression

DVD 1
Part 1

1 - Grand Tour
2 - Introducing the Interface
  2A - The Project Window
  2B - Clip Window & Palettes
  2C - The Comp Window
  2D - The Timeline
3 - Keyframes
DVD 1
3D
1A - Understanding 3D Space
1B - Cameras
1C - Objects, Lights & Materials
2 - 3D Channel Filters

DVD 2
Part 2

4 - Motion
5 - Composition
6 - Input, Output, & Preferences Import;
Dealing with video standards;
Output; Preferences;
DVD 2
Expressions
1 - Introducing Expressions
2 - Wiggle
3 - My Favorite Expressions
4 - Tips & Recipes for 3D & Expressions

SET 2
Design, Automation & Special Effects
SET 4
Composing & Advanced Effects

DVD 1
Animation

1 - Basic Parenting
2 - Character Animation
3 - Masks
4 - Mattes

DVD 1
Procedural Matte Creation

1 - Keying
2 - Rotoscoping

DVD 2
Effects

1 - Introduction to Effects
2 - Basic Effects
3 - Intermediate Effects
4 - Background Effects

DVD 2
Keyframe Assistants & Color

1 - Motion Tracking
2 - Plug-in Palettes
3 - Color Adjustment

DVD 3
Effects

5 - Shatter
6 - Card Wipe
7 - Card Dance
8 - Colorama
9 - Radio Waves
10 - Wave World/Caustics
11 - Foam

DVD 3
Production Bundle Effects

1 - Distortion
2 - Audio Filters
3 - Fractal Noise
DVD 4
Design
1 - Animating Lines
2 - Animating Typography
3 - Distorting Your Designs
   


You can purchase any of the 4 sets individually, or get a great deal by purchasing all 4. There is also an additional AE Invigorator set with Zax available separately.

What could be better?
Some people might watch this on a smaller screen or a laptop, and prefer a larger cursor that is bolder/bigger/red. I do that in classes I teach, and it really helps students follow.

The level of sound in audio effects Set4DVD3 could have been a few decibels louder to the same level as Steve’s voice. The first 5 minutes of the audio filters on the last DVD was not as informational, but that mostly comes from AE not having great audio filters. Steve comes back with a great ending, showing a technique to better motion math animate type by splitting bass from treble. God why did I never do that before and I was so close.

I was hoping to see particle effects and was disappointed that was skipped. I really hope the next AE series will cover that, and it might turn out better since we should have even faster processors out by AE6.

Content
Set2DVD3 might seem familiar to Maffitt material in the past, but those are my favorite AE filters, next to Trapcode's shine. Maffitt is the master of the original Atomic Power effects, but he does not exactly repeat his previous material from other Total Training series. Maffitt even makes perlin noise sound cool. Steve does an amazing job with animating lines on Set2DVD4, and don't underestimate this by just the title.

I can really get to the training quickly by hitting the menu button on your remote and choosing a topic, bypassing stuff that some DVDs make you watch. Before every section, you get a little intro by Maffitt or Holmes keyed out and talking over a graphical background. On the 9th DVD Brian talks about keying and they show you that he is indeed on a blue screen, with cables and other things you would never have guessed were there.

Maffitt & Holmes don’t just sing it, but bring it, that makes this better than other training materials out there. Their content is also original and not just straight from the book like a certain Boris FX tapes I seen.

I never thought of using radio waves to create realistic smoke, and I finally got Caustics mastered.

Final Summary
Steve & Brian will come into your living room, poke fun at themselves, and teach you a lot of AE. You can even pick up a gentlemanly British accent from Steve. Thanks Steve, I now say pussterize, cuntrasst, laughtness and you even have Brian saying Heerah. Seriously though, this DVD series will change how you use AE if you are a beginner or expert.

They present training in both Mac & PC platforms, which is great. Being platform agnostic and working on PC & Mac is the sign of experienced trainers and true professionals. Hopefully many watching this series will see both sides and share this love and craftsmanship for AE on both platforms.




These 4 sets were originally to be a “What’s new in AE 5.5”, but the crew at Total Training pulled together the bible on AE version 5.5. In my opinion this is the finest work pushing the boundaries in technical training. I give my first ever 5 cows to Maffitt & Holmes for this latest Total Training for After Effects.




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