Users and employees share their thoughts on how After Effects has impacted their career.
My focus since childhood was a desire to create unique imagery through filmmaking. After studying Film at USC and design at Art Center in Pasadena, I fostered my passion for visual effects. I started my career in small commercial houses and video game studios creating matte paintings for cinematics and marketing campaigns. I quickly latched on to the diverse tool set that Adobe After Effects offered as a compositing and editing tool in breathing life into my work. I would create complex shots using various 3D software packages and composite all of the layers together with After Effects.
I was first introduced to digital video editing my junior year of high school. I had enrolled in a video productions class where we used Adobe Premiere 6.0 to edit our spots for a weekly news show. For some reason, I picked up on it pretty quick. It was also during this time that I started teaching myself 3D animation with a program called Blender. My senior year, we used Premiere 6.5 and I started learning about chromakey. We had a “blue room” and I spent a lot of time filming different hollywood shots and compositing them in Premiere using it’s built in keyer. I tried flying, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, and even a Matrix spoof that was shot entirely on the bluescreen. By April my senior year, I realized that if I put a green or blue background behind my 3D animations, I could key them out too allowing me to use 3D with live action. Of course, all these effects looked terrible and amateurish by today’s standards, but I was learning how to work a shot backwards and accomplish it using the tools I had.
Not long out of college, with a contract position in a government broadcasting facility and a little bit of money in my pocket, I purchased a Mac Quadra 700 and a product called Digital Film from SuperMac. Digital Film claimed to be a complete TV studio on a card (it wasn’t) and bundled with it was a new software package called CoSA After Effects, version 1.
Like most 22-year olds, I finished college without a specific career in mind. I thought about pursuing interactive art, or maybe working as a video editor. Then, while working in the trenches of the nascent motion graphics industry, I realized Adobe After Effects meant I didn’t have to choose.
As a visual effects supervisor at Pixomondo, there’s never a dull moment. Working in visual effects is fast-paced, and we’re always pushing the limits of what can be done. Throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work on a number of really great projects. I started out mainly as a digital compositor and naturally evolved into visual effects, compositing, and computer graphics. It’s been really incredible to be a part of films like The Day After Tomorrow, Sin City, Spider-Man, Shutter Island, and Hugo. I can only hope that I can continue to work on more projects like these that push the limits of visual effects.
This story may be simple to you but for me it was a very big step and one of the million reasons that made me fall in love with After Effects. My university professor told the students to choose any product to make a TV commercial or animation. I choose a yogurt drink, called Tip-Top.
Since I did not have a high-performance computer and my fellow students were using 3DS Max to make their animation, I had to trick myself into believing that I still could do better than they did. I decided to make an animation with After Effects with a variety of images and vector graphics.
I sat in front of my computer at 6:30pm, eating dinner while I worked, and fifteen hours later, I realized I transformed myself into a zombie. I had lost my sense of time and didn’t event sleep until I had to render my animation.
When the project presentation came, all of my classmates showcased their work. They were good, and some not-so-good, and it’s my turn to present. Would my animation be seen as good since I didn’t have the expensive camera or high-performance computer? The answer was yes! My professor and classmates found my animation to be awesomely creative and they appreciated my ability to add color and sound to my animation. My animation was so popular that I now have the nickname “Tip-Top” and my animation was listed as one of the finalist by the judges.
I like to tell people that seeing Star Wars (the original) in the theater changed the course of my life. But the truth is that while seeing the film introduced me to visual effects – it didn’t actually allow me to create them. It would be a long time before I could, but from that point forward I had an intense curiosity about how special effects were realized.
For the next 2 decades it was like having a huge crush on someone out of my league – while I’d have loved to be able to truly experience creating VFX, I was only going to be able to admire the idea from afar. In fact, though I was majoring in psychology (something that prepared me for Hollywood more than I expected) my first paper in college was a short story about how I was working as the director of VFX. But it was just a fantasy – not something I ever thought I’d actually do.
Late in December of 2009, my brother in law asked me to send him any old photos that I had of my sister as she was turning 60 in early January of 2010. I emailed him all the pictures that I had of her. I then thought that it would be nice if I could put together a slide show of all the pics that I sent.
I turned to my computer and uploaded them into Windows Movie Maker and made a cute little slide show which I put on a DVD and sent it to her in a birthday card. Her response was enough to encourage me to look deeper into this new hobby that I enjoyed.
My very first editing software that I ever laid hands on was Final Cut Pro. I learned it at school. I never new anything about After Effects until I started watching videos on YouTube.
I was silly enough to think that I can do anything I wanted on Final Cut until my friend turned me towards Adobe software. I was instantly hooked and the amount of tutorials available on YouTube made my life easier.
I’m very happy to see my progress after a year and it’s great to see companies such as Video Copilot and Red Giant create awesome plugins that just make After Effects better. I’m grateful for Adobe and their great business and there is no turning back!
My video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5J604oVLBR0
Developing After Effects is one of the most rewarding things in my life. Coming straight out of college with a background in art, film, animation, and computer science, I was lucky enough to land a position as a computer scientist on the After Effects team.
Five years later and I’m loving the experience more than ever. Not only do I feel an immense sense of pride for the quality and breadth of the product, but I am also humbled by my exceptional coworkers who tirelessly devote themselves to pushing the limits on a tool that has the power to brighten the world through its creative outlets. I love After Effects because at the heart of everyone that uses it is an artist that is waiting to unleash their ideas and voice.