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Training Material advice

Apr 12, 2012 3:56 AM



Has anyone purchased any of the following four After Effects study materials found at:


I would like to purchase one for now, and am bouncing between the "Learn by Video" and the "Classroom in a book" courses. The other two look good, but for now, I think I need to get more of the basics down. My concern is, that the two look very similar. Has anyone used either of them before? Can anyone advise if it is worth purchasing both?


Thanks guys,



  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 12, 2012 8:52 AM   in reply to Pierre Devereux

    I personally would get both.  I have used both.  Each takes a different approach to covering similar material.


    I'd describe Learn By Video this way: "We're going to show you how to use AE, we'll break it up into various aspects of the software, and we'll provide files so you can do the same things we're doing on the screen." 

    Expect to stop, rewind, and re-watch various sections a lot. The presenters, Todd Kopriva and Angie Taylor, are virtually peerless in their knowledge in the After Effects community.


    I'd describe Classroom In A Book this way: "We're going to teach you how to use AE, and we're going to assign you various projects that encompass using the software.  As you read along, we'll guide you step-by-step, using the same files you see in the book.  At the end of each project you'll have a completed animation."

    The Adobe creative team -- the folks who wrote the software -- have produced one of these books for each major version for as long as I have been using the application. For example, I finally learned how to effectively use Time Remapping with it.


    I think you get a better chance to experiment with Classroom In a Book.  I think you get more personal insight about the application with Learn By Video.  If I had to pick one over the other, it would be an extremely tough call.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 12, 2012 9:11 AM   in reply to Dave LaRonde

    Dave gives a very accurate description of the differences between the two books. Of the two, I prefer the Classroom in a Book series. I like having the "assignments." I bought the CiaB books for CS4. They were great resources (they're still mostly relevant) but when CS5 came out I bought a subscription to for the same prices as 5 of the CiaB books (Ai, Ps, Ae, Id, Fl). It's $250 for an annual subscription or $30/month-by-month to access ALL their courses. For a little bit more, you can get the project files too.

    Don't get me wrong, books are nice too. Sometimes I wish I had the course in book form so I could work offline, read on the train/bus, etc.


    But, depending on your needs, having's vast library of software courses at your disposal is invaluable! Clients will ask for X and I'll think, "Oh, man—I need to go refresh that software, or skill set, or whatever." I'll find the appropriate course, scan the table of contents, find the tool/technique I'm looking for, watch it at 2x speed, and then get to work.

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  • Sterling Ledet
    28 posts
    Apr 23, 2001
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 15, 2012 3:37 PM   in reply to Pierre Devereux

    I'd also recommend the books by Trish and Chris Meyer at

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 16, 2012 11:18 AM   in reply to Sterling Ledet

    FYI: Chris and Trish Meyer are also the authors/instructors of the AE courses. They make references to their books, and if you had their books and went through their courses... you'd have all your bases covered!

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 2, 2012 8:57 AM   in reply to Pierre Devereux

    Opening After Effects and getting past the basics of compositing and keyframing is not difficult. The hard part is learning how to be an animaotr, an artist, an editor. Then you need to learn how to manipulate the audience. Then you need to start learning how to control the more subtle filters and simulations so you achieve your purpose instead of hitting the limits of your knowledge or patience.


    While investing in these books was a good idea, what I think you need to do SOON is figure out what your project's specific needs are. Then concentrate on getting the experience with those filters and effects. For instance, if you're doing a lot of chromakeying, you must spend many hours understanding not only how Keylight works but how to precompose your footage, apply extreme color correction, apply the Keylight to the precomp, and extract the alpha to apply that to your original, non-filtered fopotage. And how to use masks to control the presence of inept costume elements like a green necktie.


    If you're going to be doing motion tracking then, umm, you study that stuff extensively.


    A few more things:

    1. Nail down your shooting format and your editing format. These are never the same. Your AE production formats will not include either of those formats because you'll be using Animation or ProRes4444 for your alpha movies. Be sure your graphics peopel understand that "video is not print." The colro space is different, the pixels are different, the sizes are different.

    2. Decide on a logical workflow:

    2a. How will footage come to you?

    2b. How will you deliver low rez roughs?

    2c. How will you deliver higher rez roughs?

    2d. How will you receive editing feedback and make your required changes?

    2e. How will you deliver your working rez movies?


    3a. I cannot stress this too much. Every production company and every idiot shooter and beginner director poohpoohs the need for organization, like this stuff takes care of itself, It does not. Project tracking, version tracking, file naming, and the policing and enforcing of these practices is hard work and every hour you spend on it will save you ten or more hours kixing avoidable screwups based on miscommunication and laziness. You must have a sound, logical, and easy to follow way to make sure everyone is dealing with the same material at the same time.

    3b. You must not use the words "final, last, or new" when naming your files. Stick with incrementing numbers and letters.

    4. Know what yoru editing format is going to be so you can create your rendering and output modules. 

    5. Know what your delivery video and audio formats are going to be and know who will be creating the delivery media. Be sure you know what they need from you.

    6. Have a backup system.


    Message was edited by: bogiesan, stoopid typos.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 3, 2012 8:32 PM   in reply to Pierre Devereux

    Be sure to be especially critical of my material. As someone with access to the source code, I have no excuse for getting anything wrong. ;-)

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