I am not a fan of books -- video/in-person training works for me.
The only training that I can think of that's more extensive than online offerings, yet cheaper than formal offerings, is DVD training. I say this based on
3D Buzz's Maya training, which is very affordable, and offers training that would cost thousands in class. I'm hoping to find something like THAT for After Effects.
Enhance my AE skills within the next 3 mos. They're above basic, but I want to handle more advanced tasks with greater ease and speed.
AE at NYU in the early 2000s
I can search online, but I'd prefer guidance from the experts here who may be familiar with the reputable offerings.
Thanks in advance!
I like the Total Training series for an overall course.
For some specific purposes, there are good specific DVDs. For example, Pete O'Connell has some excellent courses about motion tracking and rotoscoping.
The Making It Look Great series is quite strong for more intermediate and advanced users.
Only a few years ago, Brian Maffitt and company's total Training was the only competent DVD-based material for tons of applications. they have many competitiros these days and most are excellent.
For my money, I'd get the Total Training package and then supplement it with specific items as Todd has mentioned. There are resources for specialized AE functions like tracking, particles, Mocha, text animations, 3D design and 3D integration with external packages.
I still find the books from Trish and Chris Meyer to be the gold standard. Angie Taylor's books are exuberant and playful in a way no other AE training materials attempt to achieve.
If you do not need the latest installments in these resources, search eBay and oterh sites for used versions of the AE6, 7, and 8 materials. the basics do not change much between versions.