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> And how is the best way to learn AE.
My preference is http://www.lynda.com
As far as basic functionality and compositing/software philosophy are cocerned, CS3 & CS4 are pretty much the same. There will be some minor interface and functonality difference, but nothing that is severe enough to warrant any concern.
If you're coming from the land of Avid, you'll need to adopt the comopositing, animation and FX mindset as opposed to the editing I/O mindset.
There's a wealth of online resources from which to learn (as mentioned above), first and foremost of which are the toiled-over online help files, and Community Search features linkable at the top of this forum. You will undoubtedly be able to find most of the answers to your initial questions therein.
The availble printed materials are also, erm...volumous. :)
I would strongly recommend the "Creating Motion Graphics" series by the Meyers.
Being as how you're learning AE on the job, if you find training, be it digital or physical, that costs $$, it may be worth prodding your employer to pick up the tab.
Best of luck, and buckle in. There's (always) a lot to learn
Make sure you check the AE Resources sub-forum for info on training resources, tutorials and books:
Check out the items under the "Getting started" heading on the After Effects Community Help and Support page. That'll give you an introductory set of free video tutorials (many from Lynda.com) and a brief overview of the general After Effects workflow.
Once you've worked through those items, go to the bottom and sidebar of the After Effects Community Help and Support page and familiarize yourself with the resources available to you there.
I post a lot of links to additional resources on my blog, too.
After Effects Help on the Web is your friend. As is this forum.
You can find these links in the banner at the top of this forum, too.
[Edit: I just checked, and I don't like the order in which the videos are presented on the Adobe TV website. I recommend following the order that I outline in the "Video tutorials" section of After Effects Help. They're the same tutorials, but my order is more... uh... orderly.]
thank you for all the info. it's very helpful.