How do you become a Pluginologist? For me, it’s been a journey that started in 1995 when I went to work at Postworks as a motion graphics artist. For 10 years I learned After Effects on the job. I used it daily and I just loved it. I had a website called AE Freemart, which was about tricks I learned or gleaned from the AE-Listserv and elsewhere on the web. This was before YouTube, and Google wasn’t nearly as good as it is now, so it was not as easy to share information.
I was an affiliate of Toolfarm and doing okay selling plug-ins through links on AE Freemart, but it was a lot of work and I was ready to give it up. Toolfarm had just been taken over by the current owners and they were putting the company back together. They had approached me about buying AE Freemart and I jumped at it. They also asked if I would be willing to come on board as a web developer. I have now been with Toolfarm since 2005. I’ve been demoing plug-ins in After Effects at user groups, trade shows, and in Webinars over the past 8 years. Also, in 2011 I wrote the book “Plug-in to After Effects.”
What I like most about After Effects is more about ease of use than specific features. I like the fact that I can just jump in and do what I need to do. I love that After Effects is ever expandable with plug-ins. The Speed Graph is so useful and little things like separating dimensions have come in so handy. The addition of the lights and camera were huge for me. Also, Expressions. As much as I don’t understand how to write my own Expressions, what I do know has saved me vast amounts of time.
It blows my mind to think about how much the industry has changed since I got into it and After Effects has been a major part of it. Twenty years ago you really didn’t hear about people creating complicated effects in their basements. That kind of thing was limited to large VFX houses and post-production facilities. After Effects has revolutionized the video industry by making a powerful, flexible and affordable motion graphics and visual effects tool that’s easy to jump into.