I have been an After Effects user for 10 years. As a high school student in suburban Detroit I had become a serious computer animation hobbyist. Motivated by access to a prosumer miniDV camera I decided to try my hand at making an action adventure short film. I wanted to do things that I could not achieve in camera like flying aircraft, explosions, muzzle flashes and traveling to non-existent locations. 3D computer graphics was an answer to some of those problems but I quickly realized I would need to learn how to do visual effects. Specifically, blue screen keying. This was before the era of Video Copilot. Through an Internet search I arrived at a video tutorial demonstrating how to use the Color Difference Key effect in After Effects. From there I began to explore the online After Effects community. The information I found allowed me to learn the basics of compositing using After Effects and complete all of the visual effects shots in my short film.
After college I relocated to Los Angeles in pursuit of a career in visual effects. My first job in the industry was working as a production assistant for Stargate Studios in South Pasadena. Stargate creates high end television visual effects composited with After Effects. Naturally, I used After Effects to create my first professional demo reel. After Effects was used not only to create the visual effects shots themselves but also for editorial and final output.
As an artist I worked on television shows such as NCIS: Los Angeles and Scrubs. I quickly migrated to feature film compositing at Pixel Magic, another After Effects centric studio. Pixel Magic entered the field of stereoscopic conversion and I converted several films including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. The motion graphics capabilities of After Effects proved very effective in the conversion process. I also did native stereoscopic compositing at Pixel Magic on Fright Night. Later, I used After Effects as a compositor on Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome.
Most recently I used After Effects to create animation and visual effects for Cartoon Network’s new show The High Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange. This project was interesting because we used Adobe CS6 Production Premium to produce the entire show. Story for scripts, Photoshop for asset generation, Bridge for asset management, After Effects for animation and visual effects and Premiere Pro for offline and online edits. After Effects was the lynchpin holding the entire production together. Scripting was used to automate shot naming, transcoding, importing and renders. We beta tested CS6 and worked directly with Adobe to refine our production pipeline.
The accessibility and usability of the product combined with the large user community has made After Effects essential in my career. Without it there are many opportunities that would not have been available to me and many talented people that I would not have been able to meet.