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Yes indeed, get After Effects and pick up the Classroom in a Book for it.
That book will get you started because it's a pretty step by step book (at least was when I used it, version 5.5 I think). It will make you learn the basic stuff you need I would think (being kind of a technician myself).
PS! The formats you are going to deliver will be another learning curve to face.
thanks Dag. I know with powerpoint I can insert movies, but the animations I've been doing are gifs and they just insert as pictures. The adobe person I spoke to said I would save as pdf- does pdf do motion?
You can also use Flash animation in your powerpoint projects if you get Adobe Presenter. You can make great animations in AE and then you'll need a Flash license to convert..
This is what I've been debating over, flash or AE- but we don't want web based or interactive, just something the MD can turn on in his office and let the patient view it. He makes part of the presentation in powerpoint and it works well to just insert my animation. Is the flash licence within AE or is that another program to purchase?
PowerPoint will become a bad memory once you start developing your animations in After Effects. We now deliver in Flash, using the Flash player, but someone else does the Flash crap for me. I just deliver the animation and motion graphics.
The topic of video format options available as renders from AE is supremely complicated, Mary, and I don't mean to suggest you can't handle it. But you need a solid grounding in video formats before you can start redesigning your production and delivery options.
And your animation techniques will change dramatically. Your illustrations will require alphas and your color space will change. Your design workflow will change as much as your animation concepts.
There are many After Effects users in the medical and engineering fields. I'm not sure how you find them, though.
I'm very experienced using photoshop for illustration & photograpy. And as mentioned have been using imageready- to animate. All I do with powerpoint is insert the gif file so the MD can add to his presentation.
When you say video formats, do you mean saving as mpegs?
Flash isn't necessarily used just for the web. We're using it on at least 2 shows currently in production (for broadcast tv).
The paint tools in AE seem to be more for patch work. You wouldn't draw/paint all the stuff for your project in AE... It will become to slow and unmanagable.
thanks. I'm really trying to determine which is the best program for me to take on. Does flash have similar animation capability as AE? Is flash more similar to the imageready/photoshop interface than AE? Still waiting on our IT people to allow me to just download trials so I'm blindly searching..
They're similar, but I think AE might be closer to Photoshop.. I don't know Flash; I decided to learn 3D instead of Flash. Many concepts will translate over to AE. After you get a layer on your timeline, you have different transform controls, similar to the free transform tool in PS. Position, Scale, Rot, Opacity, and Anchor Point - and all can be animated over time.
thank you David, that helps a lot. Which 3D program are you learning? I'm also wondering about that.
GIFs $uck... always did. Your options are much greater with After Effects. I use AE all the time and compress the Uncompressed renders in Cleaner for PP presentations using an MPEG-1 preset. FLASH? No thanks.
That said...in the medical field that's pretty much all I see are FLASH animations... especially online.
This is what I wanna know. I completely agree about gifs, I am embarrassed by them, they're so choppy. The drawing starts out good but then I feel I'm limited and wonder "can't I do this better??"
So are you familiar then with exporting into powerpoint from AE? You compress/convert into mpegs?
AE CS3 is definitely a better choice for animation than Flash CS3. It integrates well with Photoshop, Illustrator, etc., and is even actually easier to use (IMHO) than Flash, while being much more powerful at the same time. Maybe in a future release Flash will be more "Adobe-ized" and easier to work with. Also, AE exports Flash format. The kind of animation you describe sounds like a good candidate for the new Puppet tools in AE.
Hmm. I have done this very type of work recently, and chose to do it in Flash. Most of the artwork I was given was in Photoshop or Illustrator format and it came out great. If I were personally doing this project, I guess I would just need to hear EXACTLY what needs to be shown and how it will be displayed to determine what software to use.
My personal hunch is that After Effects is overkill for this, but again, I don't have the details of what exactly you are showing.