Users and employees share their thoughts on how After Effects has impacted their career.
The Adobe After Effects 20th Anniversary Scavenger Hunt Promotion
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I’m not even sure where to begin or how to put in words what After Effects has meant to me and my career. I’m working towards my 18th year with Adobe and for me After Effects has been such a huge part of the “cool factor” of my job.
I run a senior field team for the Americas dedicated to the pro video space and they are unlike any other team at Adobe. Each week we have a “fire side” chat about the week and the highlight usually involves what a customer or partner is doing with AfterEffects. Stories, range from being on set of a major motion picture like Avatar to being deep in a Department of Defense area that was using AE to show how much one of the twin towers moved on impact using the difference filter.
I’m the owner of HimAnI Productions, Inc., a studio that specializes in the creation of original visual effects for feature films, television projects, and home entertainment releases. In the past 30 years I’ve worked as an animator, visual effects supervisor, roto artist, digital compositor, 3D supervisor, and more. When I look back to where it all began, I remember seeing the COSA team at an expo and asking if the program could emulate a multi-plane animation stand. The answer, of course, was YES!
I was animating electricity and Neutrino wands on Ghostbusters 2 up at ILM and sneaking into The Abyss dailies to see what the computer with Adobe Photoshop was capable of doing. Based what I was seeing in The Abyss, I knew I had to get a computer as fast as possible. I grabbed a Mac Quadra 700, a flatbed scanner and a 1 GB hard drive for about $11,000 and proceeded to break down the need for large facilities, especially in TV work.
Well when I realized being an RAF Pilot really wasn’t my life choice (and more my Dad’s), I decided on looking into 2 things I truly loved: computers and art. Over the years, I developed my Photoshop skills, diving into multiple creative arts till I found somewhere I was comfortable in. Photography/ Digital Art/VFX/ and VJ’ing were what really stuck.
Due to family problems, University hasn’t really been an option for me. So working multiple jobs while I find countless hours of amazement on sites like Video Copilot and magazines like Advanced Photoshop, I’ve managed to teach myself all my creative arts knowledge from scratch and in the little time I had for myself.
My love affair with After Effects began in 1996. I worked as a designer for a large newspaper, and after four years in the print business, I sensed there was nowhere to advance to. I was looking for something that would create movement in my designs. It was an election year in Israel and got a chance to create propaganda broadcasts for one of the parties. After Effects was selected as the main tool, and within a week from the moment we were introduced, I felt quite confident to start working with it.
My career has developed parallel to the software development and I looked for more ways to become better in it. At an early stage I discovered the Total Training VHS package and I watched the whole thing in less than a week. I felt I had found a software that can express the way I think, and I decided to pass on the word to as many as can be.
17 years ago, I had become burnt out from my professional life as a touring musician and found myself exercising my newfound chops in multimedia design, creating interactive presentations for investment bankers at Smith Barney on Wall Street. I got REALLY good at creating animated bar charts . . . one banker even took to calling me the “Bob Ross of Excel.”
I got severely depressed.
In 1999 I installed a demo of After Effects and within two minutes of playing around, I had a huge rush of excitement when I realised I had found the tool by which I could show my imagination to people in a way more direct than I ever thought possible!
Tens of thousands of hours later and I am still playing around in After Effects and have produced work for Elton John, Batman and even projected onto Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s Jubilee.
I get nostalgic when I remember how excited I was at the introduction of tools like time-remapping, motion tracking, puppet pinning and the roto-brush!
So Happy Birthday, old friend, here’s to the next twenty!
I’ve worked in broadcast television graphics since the dawn of time. And I choose the word ‘dawn’ deliberately. I used to have to book overnight sessions at an Atlanta production house where I could laboriously create layered animation using video switchers, multiple rolling VTRs, a $140,000 Quantel Paintbox, and a lot of luck. I’d stagger out of the building at dawn, squinting mole-like, tapes clutched in my hand, dying for a little sleep.
When I encountered After Effects 1.1, I remember thinking “boy, this would be a great way of working—IF it could really handle full-resolution, full-frame-rate, interlaced broadcast NTSC digital video.” Turns out that with enough patience and caution on those early CPUs, it sure could.
I enrolled as an Illustration student at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena in the early 90s specifically to pursue a career as a computer graphics artist. My primary interest was 3D animation, so I took as many Alias classes in the SGI lab as I could. Since I had room in my schedule for a few other computer classes, I signed up for Interactive Media Design with Lynda Weinman.
Lynda was a fantastic teacher which led me to look and see what else she taught. “Motion Graphics” sounded interesting since the course description mentioned “animation,” so I figured I would give it a try. I had never heard of CoSA After Effects, but Lynda’s course gave me a firm foundational understanding of the program. I enjoyed the class but soon returned to focusing on 3D thinking I wouldn’t be using After Effects again.
Fast forward a couple of years, and I had just finished my first significant 3D visualization project for Walt Disney Imagineering following a year of creating 3D environments for Disney Interactive. As I was listening to a fellow Imagineer describe what he wanted out of me by the end of the next month, I thought, “there’s no way I can pull this off in 3D in the amount of time I have.”
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.”