5 Replies Latest reply on Mar 21, 2017 7:27 PM by Rick Gerard

    Suggestions for Showing AE to Young Students?

    mksalva Level 1

      I have an hour to show AE to a group of middle & high school students on Monday. Can anyone suggest some things I can show them that take very little time, but still get their attention?


      I've been working with AE since '99, so I don't even know how to start with kids who have never seen it before.


      I want to make it look at "cool" as possible to the kids. (This is the first class of the day on a Monday morning, right after spring break, so imagine what their attention spans will be like.)



        • 1. Re: Suggestions for Showing AE to Young Students?
          Kyle Hamrick Adobe Community Professional

          I've been teaching AE for 5-6 years now to college/adults, and have presented to younger audiences a handful of times.


          My approach for a short one-shot like this has been...


          1. Show them some cool stuff so they can say "oooh, ahhhh" and demonstrate that you know what you're talking about.
          2. (If they're total newbies) Talk about how keyframes work, basics of how computer animation works, etc.

          3. Open up a project so they can see/appreciate the complexity of the software, a "real" project, etc.
          4. Re-show your earlier examples, ideally your brief lesson above has helped pull back the curtain on a few spots. Point these out.
          5. Q&A

          • 2. Re: Suggestions for Showing AE to Young Students?
            mksalva Level 1

            Thanks for your reply.


            When you say "show them some cool stuff," do you mean samples of my work, or some particular effects that can make kids go "oooh and ahhh"?

            • 3. Re: Suggestions for Showing AE to Young Students?
              Dave LaRonde Level 6

                   Yeah, if you have some nice samples, that's good.

              I was also thinking about this: if you've got the time -- and a big room -- shoot yourself on a locked-down camera in several locations.  Then put yourself in simultaneously in all of them by masking the layers.  If the lighting's consistent, it's pretty easy to pull off as an example AE project.  And shoot the empty room as a clean plate just in case.

              • 4. Re: Suggestions for Showing AE to Young Students?
                Kyle Hamrick Adobe Community Professional

                Sorry, I meant samples of your work, though this probably depends on your audience, of course.


                I've done samples of my own stuff when talking to, say, a video production class. They'll be impressed by real-world examples that you actually made, and will be excited about getting to see the hundreds of layers involved if you show them the actual AE project.


                If talking to people with ZERO experience or knowledge, I've kind of used some more general samples of what motion graphics even IS. "Cartoon" animation vs VFX vs motion graphics", etc. If helpful, here are some slides I created for explaining some of those distinctions to the general public.

                • 5. Re: Suggestions for Showing AE to Young Students?
                  Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  Every time I do something like that I demonstrate the theory of compositing and visual effects instead of focusing on the software. I show layers and how the different elements in a vex scene are arranged. How light works and how you use it to sell an illusion. This part of the presentation takes up about half of the allotted time and is demonstrated with projects that I already have in my bag of goodies.


                  Then I spend a little bit of time demonstrating the animation features like motion graphics and text. This usually takes about 15 minutes.


                  The last part of the presentation talks about the importance of pre production planning, scripting and quality camera work so you pull off your ideas in an efficient way. I explain that After Effects, like other compositing apps is intended to be used to create shots and animations that you cannot produce in an editing app. I demonstrate the importance of sound and editing using some pre-cut examples and encourage them to learn more.


                  These Introductions to composition and motion graphics are not intended to show them techniques specific to the tools (AE) but rather to show them how to think and analyze to solve problems. That's the most important part of learning how to make films. The tools are secondary.


                  I usually end the presentation with a big dose of reality by explaining that this technology has given incredible creative tools to anyone with the cost of a few trips to Starbucks a month. That's great but it makes earning a living using this amazing technology a real challenge. Just being a technician is not enough to make a good living, you have to learn a whole lot more than how to find the right effect and apply it to a clip. Only the really dedicated and hard working have a chance at making a good living and supporting a family making movies. Only the very talented and very lucky get rich and famous.


                  I hope this helps. Just opening up AE and showing how you set keyframes is a waste your time and theirs. You have to show them the possibilities that have been opened up to them and encourage them to use their creative minds to come up with good stories, because in reality that is all that we that have worked in the movie and tv business our whole lives are doing... telling stories.

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