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Generally speaking, I'd suggest that understanding the functions of AE should come before a strong knowledge of expressions. After all, expressions are merely another means of controlling parameters and effects. If you don't understand those parameters and effects, you won't know what you're controlling with your expressions.
That said, it's not necessarily a one-or-the-other learning curve. Simple expressions like Wiggle and Loop are great to know, even in your early days. The best way to learn something as broad as AE is to learn the absolute basics, then address tools as you need them.
> Just a few questions with no fluff :) Also I am a beginner with After Effects but know enough to navigate my way around the application. AE 7.0
> 1. As a beginner should I focus on learning expressions/expression scripting in After Effects or should I wait till I've learned all the effects.
> 2. Is knowledge of more than just basic geometry and trigonometry required to learn expressions?
> I know I can copy and paste alot of the expressions into my layers but I would like to learn how to at the least write a few of my own...just not sure if I should do that know as the program itself becomes easier but harder the more I learn.
I might also add some other areas aside from effects. Getting a good
handle on workflow - (Keyboard short cuts, Precomps, stuff like that).
Getting practice with Transfer Modes and Track Mattes, Camera's and 3D
layers and other switches in the Timeline area.
The program is so complex and if your like me and don't use it on a
daily basis, you will slide back down the learning curve on effects and
procedures you don't use a lot. So, rather than quantity, I decided to
focus on a core group of items that I seemed to use alot and try and
learn as much about those as possible. Then, in order to expand, I would
try to keep adding something new on each new project or tutorial.
Eventually, you will have a growing toolbox of tasks you are competent
enough with to get to the point of knowing what will happen before you
do it, as opposed to saying - 'what happens if I do this?
The bigger mistake many of us make is thinking we can ignore expressions or get along without learning how to drive them.
Thank you guys. I will continue down the path to learning After Effects and incorporate expressions into my workflow as possible.
Thank you guys. I will incorporate After Effects expression into my workflow as much as possible but I'm glad to know that I can hold off just a bit as I play in my new "particle playground" lol pun intended.
Even though you're using After Effects 7.0, I recommend checking out the After Effects CS4 Help sections on the Web about expressions. Expressions haven't changed much between these versions, but the documentation has been cleaned up, expanded, and enhanced. The biggest change is the inclusion of links to various online resources that do an excellent job of teaching expressions---for example, Dan Ebberts's Motionscript website.
See "Expression basics" to start.