This is my first post on here and I did some searching on the forums/google before asking most of these but I'm not the most knowledgeable person when it comes to terminology of use within After Effects. This will be a big wall of text but I'll try to make it simple and to the point. My specs are below.
OS Windows 7
MOBO -MSI Z77A G41
CPU INTEL I5 3570 @ 3.4GHZ
GPU 2047 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 (MSI)
RAM - G SKILL 12GBS DDR3 @ 666MHZ
SSD Samsung 250GB Pro
External HD for storage is a 2TB G-Drive.
I'm a CSUN graduate for TV Arts and was only into video editing off Premiere. In school they always taught us how on a set you're doing one job specifically but I guess its a bit different if you're doing lower budget work. After moving into the real world of freelancing, I quickly realized that video editing and color correction can only take you so far and you really need to add as many tools to your arsenal. I'll just list the questions here and hope to get as much as possible. Please be honest as possible. More info the better!
1. I've been doing Andrew Kramers tutorials (finished 40/150 that he offers) and have got some basics/hotkeys down. Occasionally I'll lag with my previews and was curious as to how I can improve it (exporting times doesn't matter to me). Budget is $800 to $1000. I have my settings in AE optimized already (cache, ram, multiprocessing). What should I be upgrading in my system?
2. I was taught in school to always edit off an external hard drive for Premiere, FC7, and Davinci Resolve. Does that apply to AE as well? I run the program off my SSD and have the footage on my G Drive.
3. Besides videocopilot and lynda.com, are there other websites/tutorials that could help me with basics and just drilling concepts in to my head? With my experience using AK tutorials, I personally have problems with expressions the most.
4. Would I benefit more from upgrading my CPU/RAM or my GPU? I basically want something that fits my budget and best bang for the buck. Is DDR4 ram worth the upgrade or should I get more DDR3? Is it better to go for a low end "workstation card" (QUADROS) or high end "gaming card" (GEFORCE) do the job? This was an interesting article when I was searching up a GPU to use but now I'm more confused - http://motionworks.net/after-effects-3d-future/
5. Based on your experience of learning AE, should I be going about learning AE differently? Are Andrew Kramers tutorials a solid way to be learning the program?
6. Lastly, I'm really just looking to improve my skill set and be a more well-rounded person for editing. Are there any other programs that are essential to learn along with AE and Premiere? I think I've had a few problems in tutorials because I had no knowledge of Photoshop and Cinema 4D. I also hear and have seen some amazing work with 3DS MAX and Element 3D.
I hope someone can lead me in the right direction as to what I can do to improve my specs. With technology constantly improving, I obviously can't get anything too future proof with a 1k budget but I primarily just want the program to run smooth as possible. Please be blunt with your answers. I won't take it personal and I'll just soak in the information like a sponge. Thanks in advance!