Sure, the Meyer books are still the ultimate reference. Those older editions may not contain any info on things like text layers, shape layers, rotobrush, warp stabilizer etc., but they stil lteach you enough about the basic principles on which AE runs. also check the Pro Video Coalition website. There are sevaral extracts from the books and updated chapters available for free, many of them even linked from the AE online help.
Do yourself a favor: bite the bullet and forego other expenditures. Get the version of the Meyers' book that matches your version of AE. Don't fool around.
I also started out recently. I have done MANY online tutorials that show good basics, and some advanced techniques, but without the basic understanding of how the affects are achieved, the tutorials only show you a specific task. Try going to the following site:
and search the AE Basics videos, there are around 45 of them now I believe. Chris Devis does a Brilliant job at explaining some great basics. Also, check out Lynda.com and VideoCopilot - http://www.videocopilot.net/tutorials/
and play....lots....and all the time. Try new things, try the effects and figure out what does what! :-)
hope that helps?
Hey Fellas am going be receiving the After Effects apprentice and Creating Motion Graphics by Trish & Chris Meyer soon!!!
Also a book by Angie Taylor, so its gonna be a lot of practice practice soon!!.
You made two wise choices. If they come with CDs or DVSs, make sure you get them. They're essential.
In your opinion, would it be helpfull to get as many books as possible, or would the overlap in lessons between the books make it unnecessary? The reason I ask, is that I bought three books recently and have completed them (CS5 Learn by Video, CS5 classroom in a book and Chad Perkins - How to cheat in After Effects) over the last few weeks. They most definately each offer a little something that the other does not, but I am a bit weary of investing a lot of money and getting pretty much the same information.
I am looking at the books mentioned by Jamaine, and if you comment that they are essential.... well, after joining the forum 3 months ago, and keeping up to date daily, I am inclined to trust your and Myleniums opinions very highly (and of course Todd's too! :-) )
The bulk of my work, is compositing pewter characters and vehicles into space style settings as well as real world environments. Green and Blue screens feature heavily, and all effects will be done through After Effects - a world of Lasers and Space scenes has opened before me, I feel like a kid again - its great!
Anyway, sorry, I got off topic there - but any advice will be appreciated as usual (or, as usual, appreciated <-- whichever way sounds better!)