I'm looking for some advice on the best way to learn After Effects CS4 for a beginner (as if using it for the first time). I want to learn not just how to use itbut how everything works so that I have a better understanding of how everything fits together. I have access to lynda.com and it's tutorials however this just explain a few of the features, they do not go into detail about workflow, filetypes, optimisation, best hardware and so forth. one problem I have found is that information is scattered across many websites and forms, can anyone recommend websites or books that have a lot of consolidated, useful information or tutorials.
Forums like this are amazing for having questions answered by experienced users, they aren't quite as good at giving an overview of the program. All advice is appreciated, thanks!
Take a look in the After Effects Resources subforum:
I disagree about AETUTS being a good place to get started. There are some interesting intermediate tutorials there, but it's a bad starting point for a beginner.
Andrew linked to this, which is certainly what I recommend: