I want to apply Motion Graphic graduate program in Fall 2017, I need to make 1 showreel, 3 motion video, 1 introduction video, but I have only left 2 months to prepare all of these stuff.
what are their guidelines for portfolio? get as much information from this program to see what they expect to see. do they even expect you to be more than a basic user in Ae?
What is the correct way to learn AE?
you start in exhausting everything that's in Adobe's tutorial page After Effects CC tutorials | Learn how to use After Effects CC and then I would recommend you take a comprehensive course on Lynda.com. not just Ae. Photoshop and Illustrator too. if you are into visual effects and compositing then get a camera and start shooting, or use someone else's camera, or even use some interesting footage and manipulate it in interesting ways. and practice all the time. get a job at doing even basic stuff in Ae if you can. always try to get better and faster. when you get to a point that you can start help others then do so and get even better.
specifically your situation:
you have 2 months to know Ae and create a killer showreel? don't exhaust yourself. this is not a software you learn in this amount of time. stay focused on the basics. transformations: position,rotation,scale - get to know those very well. learn how to use the graph editor. if it's movement and motion graphics then keep it basic. learn to use shapes to create interesting transitions. also consider creating a video that has motion graphics without a computer! (yes!). you don't have much time, I would recommend ecabrams tutorials: ECAbrams - YouTube - he is quick, funny and motion graphics oriented. he recently finished a 3 part series hosted by adobelive focusing on motion graphics. Motion Design Live Stream - DAY 3 - YouTube
I am thinking to use a lot of templates, and then revise them to my own works. Is this a bad way to learn AE?
I can tell you what you definitely should not do - don't use templates. don't use recipes for creating text out of fire/smoke/ice or anything like that. they know it all and they would know you are just following some recipe. I would stay away from heavy plugins and scripts that will only mask your true talent from the admission committee. focus on movement and organic motion, not effects and presets. I would dismiss anything that resembles something from videocopilot.net. BE ORIGINAL AND CREATIVE. if it's anything like visual communication programs we have here, then don't even use a computer! get saul bass kung fu on their A@@ and this is from a guy who is a visual communitcation graduate, who came in last in the scores when he first applied exactly because he was trying to impress by showing what he really does not know!, and is now teaching Ae at two of these major institutes for design in the country. one that he graduated in, and another that did not even accept him!!!
I took a couple of days to learn through ECAbrams, and it was really helpful.
Actually, I don't like to use template neither.
Now I have done some practice works, and I will keep learning through ECAbrams.
However, I find a platform called "lynda.com", I wonder to know is this website worth to pay it? Is it useful for learning motion graphic?
Lynda is great. I seeI already wrote about it in my first response. It will give you the basics and much more. The courses are comprehensive and that's why I recommended ecabrams first. If you find that you can learn more and have more time then definetly subscribe. I have been for years. stay focused though. you can't learn everything in such a short time. You have a week free trial I believe so no worries. I recommend after effects apprentice by chrish and trish meyer to learn all about shape layers.