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Adobe After Effects 7.0: Classroom in a Book

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Adobe After Effects 7.0: Classroom in a Book
A Creative COW After Effects Book Review


Creativecow.net Leader Aanarav Sareen reviews Adobe After Effects 7: Classroom in a Book
Aanarav Sareen Aanarav Sareen
New Jersey, USA

©2006 Aanarav Sareen and Creativecow.net. All rights reserved.
Article Focus:
In this article, Creative Cow Leader Aanarav Sareen takes a look at Adobe After Effects 7: Classroom in a Book and reports that he was pleasantly surprised.


As someone who has learned most of After Effects by reading the excellent 'Creating Motion Graphics' series by Chris and Trish Meyer, I was anxious to explore what other books would help me enhance my After Effects skills. So, I picked up a copy of After Effects 7.0: Classroom in a Book and to say the least, I was surprised.

Many software users often consider the Classroom in a Book series books to be alternative manuals. However, when I first picked up the book, I knew that this wasn't the case. The first thing that you notice is that the book is considerably thinner than the After Effects manual, which spans over 600 pages. The second thing that caught my eye was that the entire book was in color: the tips, the screenshots and a variety of different elements used throughout the book.

With the exception of a few books, many training materials go into too much depth of how the software works or how the software should work. Fortunately, this isn't the case with this particular book. The book doesn't deal with the extreme technical details; rather it focuses on project-based tutorials.

The initial tutorials help a new user get accustomed to the After Effects interface and explores a few of the basic concepts, such as keyframing, the various tools and such similar items. However, instead of describing the tools and the techniques independently, the book combines all of these techniques and uses them in project-based workflow. By using a project-based work flow, the user gets a chance to implement these techniques in a simulated production environment, rather than just in a theoretical environment.

Another thing that I liked about the initial chapters was that it didn't repeat anything. Instead of repeating various techniques, the book demonstrates the various ways of utilizing these techniques. By presenting users with different work flow examples over the course of the book, it permits the user to create their own work flow, rather than selecting the author's preferred technique.

However, once a user starts exploring the book in more detail, one will notice that initially the text animations are primarily generated via text presets that ship with After Effects 7.0. While this is certainly a good starting point for most users, initial chapters of the book, do not explain how to modify the animations to a great extent.

Apart from project-based tutorials, the book spends a good amount of time using these projects in different scenarios, ranging from text animations to multimedia presentations. The book also spends a good amount of time covering the new features included in After Effects 7.0.

CONCLUSION: Overall, this book is great for users that are looking to get into After Effects, as it uses very limited technical jargon and does not force you to use a specific method. The book can also be useful for users looking to refresh their memory of long-forgotten After Effects techniques. However, if the book spent some more time with the powerful text animation engine and spent a little more time with the initial interface tour, it would certainly benefit many new users.

COW RATING: 4.5 Cows


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