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Mike Gondek takes a look at Total Training's AE 6

COW Library : Adobe After Effects : Mike Gondek : Mike Gondek takes a look at Total Training's AE 6
Mike Gondek takes a look at Total Training's AE 6
A Creative COW "Real World" Product Review

Mike Gondek takes a look at Total Training's AE 6
Mike Gondek Mike Gondek
Orland Park, Illinois USA

©2003 by Mike Gondek and All rights are reserved.

Article Focus:
Adobe is creating quite a stir on the COW releasing their new video collection. One of the most exciting upgrades is Adobe After Effects 6. Total Training (T3) is shipping over 40 hours of After Effects training on DVD and updated for 6. In fact, T3 beat Adobe and started shipping their product before the actual AE6 shipped. Are you interested in the most comprehensive After Effects training course, read Mike Gondek's review and he will tell you about it..

How does T3AE6 differ from T3AE 5.5?

The majority of content in the T36AE series is the exact same material as on the T3AE5.5 series. Don’t worry though, if you read my previous review, that content is excellent and is still invaluable information, every AE user should want to learn and utilize for decades to come.

In teaching After Effects I found it is one of the best interfaces and loved by students and professionals alike. Version 6 added great new features, which are covered very well in the new T3 series.

Total Training is a great company that produces some of the best product and they genuinely care about the consumer. When you get the package, there is a printed outline of all the chapters. T3 has made the chapters red that are new to After Effects 6. Below is a condensed version of the outline and the items in red are either entirely new or been updated for AE6.

SET 1: The Fundamentals
SET 3: 3D, Expressions, Text & Design
Disc 1: Introducing the After Effects Interface
Lesson 1: The Grand Tour
Lesson 2: Introducing the Interface
Lesson 2a: The Project Window
Lesson 2b: The Clip Window & Palettes
Lesson 2c: The Comp Window
Lesson 2d: The Timeline

Lesson 3: Keyframes
Disc 1: 3D
Lesson 1: 3D
Lesson 1a: Understanding 3D Space
Open GL

Lesson 1b: Cameras
Lesson 1c: Objects, Lights & Materials
Lesson 2: 3D Channel Filters
Disc 2: Up to Speed
Lesson 4: Motion
Lesson 5: Compositions
Lesson 6: Input, Output & Preferences
Lesson 6a: Import
New Photoshop Tips
New Illustrator Tips

Lesson 6b: Video Standards
Lesson 6c:Output
Lesson 6d:Preferences
Disc 2: Expressions
Lesson 1: Introducing Expressions
Lesson 2: Wiggle
Lesson 3: My Favorite Expressions
Lesson 4: Tips & Recipes for 3D & Expressions
Disc 3: Text
Lesson 1: Adding & Formatting Text
Lesson 2: Basic Text Animation
Lesson 3: Advanced Text Animation
SET 2: Animation & Special Effects Disc 4: Design
Lesson 1: Animating Lines
Lesson 2: Paint
Lesson 3: Distorting Your Designs
Disc 1: Animation
Lesson 1: Basic Parenting
Lesson 2: Character Animation
Lesson 3: Masks & Autotrace
Lesson 4: Mattes
SET 4: Compositing & Advanced Effects
Disc 2: Effects Part 1
Lesson 1: Intro to Effects
Lesson 2: Basic Effects
Lesson 3: Intermediate Effects
Lesson 4: Background Effects
Disc 1: Keying & Rotoscoping
Lesson 1: Keying
Lesson 2: Rotoscoping
Disc 3: Effects Part 2
Lesson 5:  Shatter
Lesson 6:  Card Wipe
Lesson 7:  Card Dance
Lesson 8:  Colorama
Lesson 9:  Radio Waves
Lesson 10: Wave World & Caustics
Lesson 11: Foam

Disc 2: Compositing & Professional Tools
Lesson 1: Motion Tracking
Lesson 2: Plug-in Palettes & 3D Assistants

Lesson 3: Color Adjustment
Disc 4: Effects Part 3
Lesson 12: 3D Filters • New in AE6
Lesson 13: Shape Effects • New in AE6
Lesson 14: Noise Filters • New in AE6
Lesson 15: Color Filters • New in AE6
Lesson 16: Distort Filters • New in AE6
Lesson 17: Channel Filters • New in AE6
Disc 3: Production Bundle Effects
Lesson 1: Distortion
Lesson 2: Audio Filters
Lesson 3: Fractal Noise
Red text indicates new material

Is this for Me?

T3AE6 like an encyclopedia about AE, and benefits Beginning to Advanced users alike.

The first set is called the Fundamentals and is most interesting to beginning AE users, but also includes a few tricks for advanced users. Set 3 has Expressions and it is explained in such an easy, clear presentation that new AE users will be able to pick this up. Advanced users will learn the causes of problems, which Maffitt and Holmes have conquered for us. It is really nice to see that we were not alone in experiencing these problems and we also get the solution.

If you owned the T3AE5.5 series, than $549 might be a lot to spend, as you already own about 65% of the material. Unfortunately there is not a what’s new in After Effects 6 package or an upgrade price. If you can justify the cost, it is worth it as the new material is even better if that is possible. OK the new material assumes you already know the fundamentals so the pace is a little faster and they don’t make you do tedious tasks such as creating compositions.

Beginning users will be able to follow along with the provided projects files. Advanced users can learn the topics by just watching the DVDs. Intermediate users will probably open up a few of the project files.

Content and the Authors

You get 2 great presenters Brian Maffitt and Steve Holmes, of which I equally enjoy both their presentations and content. They both have a great sense of humor and many of the projects content are videos keying or manipulating themselves, but the topics are all professional issues.

Brian (aka “the Brain”) has a presentation style that is very clear, down to earth, and he really knows his stuff. He takes a topic like keying and explains every detail and ends it off by going over a realworld problem such as green screen reflection in the subject’s glasses and how to properly get rid of it. Brian does not avoid any topic or problem and will cover an issue making it sound logical. He unlocks the mysteries that we all encounter at some time and shows you a new way to overcome any challenge.

They say Steve is a descendant of the fictional character Sherlock Holmes, or could he possibly be related to another famous Holmes from the movies? In any case, Steve motivates with his creative style, and after watching his lessons you will want to create something totally new in AE that noone has done before. Steve takes the new basic shape circle filter, and turns it into something more exciting and useful than what I imagined Adobe intended it for. Steve takes topics such as 3D assistants and makes you feel comfortable with them and he pushes you into new creative territories.


The only thing I don’t like about these guys is that they make me give up 5 cows yet again for providing the encyclopedia on AE. They seem to be only headed in the right direction with AE. The AE Fundamentals are so solid on these DVDs, I only see more Advanced AE topics in the future from these guys. This gets me excited about the future of T3 and hopefully even our great AE Cow forum leaders will also be motivated by their new timely content.

I only ask one thing from them and that is to allow the skipping of the introductory chapter. It is nice but skipping would be better than fast forwarding 13 DVDs.

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