We are the co-founders of Crish Design (formerly CyberMotion), an award-winning motion graphics studio. We have a long history of working on movie and broadcast opening titles, trade show graphics, and unusual displays such as the four-block long Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas. We’ve also written 12 books and produced well over 50 hours of video tutorials on After Effects.
We were lucky to be two of the original beta testers for After Effects 1.0, so we’ve been working with the software for more than 20 years now, including early testing. For the past two decades, we’ve based our business around After Effects. In a way, it has provided us two careers. The first 15 years we worked with many great clients on high-profile projects in the middle of bustling Los Angeles. Now, we’re enjoying a change of pace as authors and instructors living at the forested foothills of the Sandia Mountains in New Mexico!
After Effects has allowed us to make a good living over the years, but it’s more than just our business—it’s become intertwined with our identity and our lives. We’ve made some wonderful friends within the industry, and we also get great satisfaction knowing that our books and videos have helped other artists find more success in their own careers.
We’ve seen a lot of features come, and some go, from After Effects. As far as favorites go, the way everything is “live” throughout a chain of compositions in After Effects, without the need to pre-render at any stage and commit to decisions, is pretty amazing. It allows you the ultimate flexibility to go back and refine your ideas later (not to mention accommodate client changes) without losing your work or image quality.
There have been many significant milestones for the product over the years. Going from version 1 to 2, a major achievement was just being able to see your keyframes—they were hidden in version 1! Other major achievements that affected the way we worked and the look of our motion designs included frame blending, blending modes, 3D space, text and shape layers, and now all of the amazing semi-automated visual effects features such as Roto Brush, Warp Stabilizer, and the 3D Camera Tracker.
We joke that Trish’s first job was using After Effects 1 to create graphics for a 360-degree Circlevision animation—and it’s been downhill ever since! Seriously though, rendering full-resolution film titles from a desktop computer in our living room back in the early ’90s when conventional wisdom said that it couldn’t be done without a million-dollar post house was pretty amazing, and it’s only gotten better from there.
Without After Effects, we’d likely have gone in different directions with our careers. We actually stumbled across a demo of After Effects in November 1992 at a multimedia show, where we were looking at options for branching out from the music technology and desktop publishing industries. At that time, 3D animation, video editing, and website design were also in their embryonic states, so more than likely we would have found one of those areas to specialize in. Chris was also an expert on MIDI at the time so he could have continued his career designing digital audio recorders and musical instruments; he even had a job lined up as a Foley artist before After Effects lured him away!
More recently, the trend toward interactivity in eBooks and apps would be a natural fit for Trish, as she has a background in print design. So we’d probably have gone through several other careers by now, perhaps even as fine artists, although we like to think we would have found ways to work together on various projects as our interests do tend to converge! But we doubt that anything would have worked out as well as being After Effects artists. We heard that you get eight lucky breaks a year; if that’s true, then finding After Effects was the lucky break of our lives.