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> It needs to be from the ground up as I've really only been poking around in it
Go to your local bookseller and purchase Classroom in a Book for Premiere and After Effects. You might also want the CIB for Flash and Illustrator. Buy any two or three of the many dozens of Digital Video for Dummies-style books.
These will take you about six weeks to wade through and then all you'll know is what's in the books.
Creating video that's worth watching takes a lot of experience.
How many hours did you invest in Grand Theft before you got to level 57?
Otherwise, just start dropping stuff into your AE project window. That's what I do.
Man, I was hoping you wouldn't say CIB. I have the Flash one and while it's a little informative, I can't say I'm impressed with it. However, it may give me the foundation I'm looking for here.
I'm already fairly well versed in Illy; will just need to learn how to take that knowledge and apply it to video resolutions (this aspect ratio thing of 0.9 and 1.2 has got me spinning when I can't figure out how to properly view a finished product as it will be seen on something other than a computer screen).
Six weeks may be a bit too long. What I need first is basically something a tad better than a decent Powerpoint presentation for DV. I don't need to produce something right off the bat that we'll use for TV commercials; I just need to show the higher-ups that the money they invested in this software (that we were on schedule to buy last September instead purchased last month) was worth it.
I have no doubt that experience is a major factor here. But I'm barely treading water here. If I don't find a surfboard soon, I'll drown. However, based on what's been done for us by "professionals" in the past, the bar isn't set very high for me.
I haven't bothered with any of the GTA games. They don't make that for PCs, do they? I'm not a gaming console guy.
Dropping stuff in the project window I have down no problem; it's knowing what needs to be done beforehand to the files I'll drop there and how to accurately preview them that's raising my blood pressure.
Knowing I won't knock anything out of the park any time soon, I've started small: a 2.5 second "signature" to be placed at the end of a commercial or segment. Black screen, PS-treated background element with a minor scaling effect, and logo with a short wave file. I thought I had that relatively simple thing figured out, but I can't seem to find a way to view it as it would appear on a widescreen TV. It's just stretched and I can't tell if it just looks like that on my computer screen because of how that displays aspect ratio and it will look fine on our widescreens in the stores or not.
If I can figure out that 2.5 spot, I may just have a chance at figuring out how to create the rest of it.
Thanks for the good luck... I know I'll need it.
"I haven't bothered with any of the GTA games. They don't make that for PCs, do they? I'm not a gaming console guy."
GTA started out on PCS... All GTA games (including 1 & 2, which I don't think are available for consoles) are available for windows, except GTA4, but that will be coming later.
I recommend the Chris/Trish Meyer books - they are very good and should help explain some of the technical video stuff.
You can use the PAR correction button (bottom of comp window) to display your comp as square pixels.
I've never tried them, but you might like www.lynda.com - offers training with lots of programs for a very modest price.
Chris and Trish Meyer's "After Effects Apprentice" book is probably exactly what you need.
David and Andrew, I think you nailed it for me. 'Apprentice' and the companion book (the "better together" on the Amazon page) are probably the best single tools/tutorials I need. I've gone through most of the Lynda tutorials that came with Master Collection, but I'm gathering that they pretty much assume a basic working knowledge of the software... that basic working knowledge is what I'm hoping to acquire.
There just may be light at the end of the tunnel... and it isn't a train!
Thank you guys!
As for the GTA stuff, my home computer is over 4 years old and AGP; I've pretty much upgraded it as much as possible/reasonable. It's still pretty good as I designed it for longevity (I have the CS2 Design Premium on it), but many of the games released today are a bit beyond its abilities to run as intended.
> Man, I was hoping you wouldn't say CIB. I have the Flash one and while it's a little informative, I can't say I'm impressed with it. However, it may give me the foundation I'm looking for here. I'm already fairly well versed in Illy; will just need to learn how to take that knowledge and apply it to video resolutions (this aspect ratio thing of 0.9 and 1.2 has got me spinning when I can't figure out how to properly view a finished product as it will be seen on something other than a computer screen).
This would have helped in your original post. The OP implies you're a total newbie expecting to hit it big in the biz after watching a three minute video.
CIBs teach you how to use the applications in an interesting context. Trish and Chris Meyer's books teach you how to use After Effects in the real world, for which you did not appear ready. Not in the slightest. I'd also strongly recommend Angie Taylor's "Creative After Effects 7" which teaches you how to use AE but have fun learning.
> The OP implies you're a total newbie...
With video, yes.
> ...expecting to hit it big in the biz after watching a three minute video.
Um, no. A former employee spent a lot of money on a prosumer camera that's only going to find use making internal training videos (at best). I need to make produced video as opposed to filmed video because our camera is glorified crap with regard to its originally stated intended use.
Consider Photoshop and Illy as an automatic transmission car and After Effects and Premiere a standard transmission car. I have the gas and brake pedals down, now I need to learn how to take my knowledge of the gas and brake pedals and use them effectively with this thingy called the clutch. In short, I need to know how to drive the stick (I drive a stick, but that's the analogy I'm going with).
Do I expect to master it after watching Formula 1? No. I expect/hope to get out of the driveway before too long without knocking over the neighbor's mailbox (or my own).
I've been working with still images (creating, shooting, editing) for over 10 years and now I need to put those still images, correctly, in video sequences. I need the basics; I'll learn the finer points in time but not before learning the basics.
> I need to find a tutorial of some kind that will teach me how to produce video using still images and vector art among other non-video things.
Re-reading the thread again, forget the books. Import an Illy file and just see what happens. The online help system for AE is superb on the topic of Illustrator artwork. There are some gotchas but they're all clearly explained in the help system even if they are not easy to find. Vector art remains resolution independent until the final rendering is performed and then it will be rasterized.
> Import an Illy file and just see what happens.
Already did that. Various settings in AE resulted in either a squished or stretched image (horizontally) even in the preview.
And the signature I'm working on contains both an Illy file (the logo) and a PSD.
You need to make sure your footage is interpolated correctly. You've probably created your AI file with a square PAR (Pixel Aspect Ratio).
When you place it inside a comp with rectangle pixels (.9PAR or 1.2PAR as you mentioned earlier), it will appear squished or stretched. Have you tried hitting the PAR correction icon, like I mentioned earlier? That should make your image appear non-squished/stretched.
I did both with and without setting the doc to square pixels and the DV widescreen preset. But I've been around all this so many times I was losing track of what files were set at what resolution and size that I decided to start over completely. Whatever it was I was doing wasn't working so I figured I should just scrap it and go again with a clean slate.
I'll admit now that I'm even confused as to when to use the PAR correction and when not, but I was using it, yes. It did make it look like it was supposed to (I guess), but when I saved that comp and placed it in Premiere, it got stretched again. Exported to various DV wide formats from Premiere and they all looked like the stretched preview in Premiere. Was that because I was viewing it on my computer using square pixels and not on a widescreen TV?
What's confusing now is that I may actually have done it right without realizing it. I doubt it but I got so lost before I decided to just start over that I could swear I could hear Sawyer and Hurley in a shouting match (and I don't even like that show).
"Was that because I was viewing it on my computer using square pixels and not on a widescreen TV? "
Yes. Computer monitors use square pixels. TVs use rectangle pixels. What looks squished/stretched on your computer monitor will probably look correct on TV. If possible, try it and test it out!
PAR correction is just a preview tool. It doesn't render. So when you rendered your movie and imported it into Premiere, it should look squished/stretched on your computer monitor. Play it back from premiere onto a TV, and it should look correct.
You should always test your stuff on TV. There's a lot of other unforseen things that can arise when you view your stuff on TV screen.
Rather than working on your project, and restarting, and restarting, and redoing, I suggest starting simpler.
Create a circle. In a .9PAR comp, it will look like an elipse on your computer monitor. When played on TV it will be a circle. Hit the PAR correction icon to test that it is infact a circle.(I guess use whatever PAR the preset is. I work in std NTSC, so that's why I use .9)
> "Was that because I was viewing it on my computer using square pixels and not on a widescreen TV? "
> Yes. Computer monitors use square pixels. TVs use rectangle pixels. What looks squished/stretched on your computer monitor will probably look correct on TV. If possible, try it and test it out!
I don't know whether to be happy or sad about that since I no longer have that file. I should be able to recreate it, though. It wasn't very complex (which is why I started with that).
As for testing it out, I tried to export it from Premiere to Encore to burn it to a dvd but Encore blipped and said nothing was there or something like that. This was a little after this time yesterday (less than an hour left in the day) and to keep from embarrassing myself by throwing a hissy fit, I just stopped and walked around a bit to cool my heels.
I'll try to recreate it, burn it to a dvd somehow, and test it out in the store on one of our widescreens. If that works, I'll be thrilled, but I'll also have another issue: how to prepare a preview for the folks who can fire me who will very likely be viewing it on their computer screens (I'll also need to do that for other in-store displays down the road).
Well, I managed to recreate the file and burn it to a dvd. Took it out to the store and played it in one of our display model dvd players and it was stretched just like it appeared in Premiere (and AE with the aspect ratio toggle off [or on... I can't tell what that means really]).
So now I'm off to try again using different settings. I'll try first keeping the AE settings the same and use different settings on the files I import.