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January 28, 2013 /Ae & Me /

Ae & Dean Velez

deanpic“ A hard beginning maketh a good ending.” ~John Heywood

Born in 1970 to a lower middle class family in the Bronx, my youth saw me succumb to the pressures of life in the inner city–alcohol, drugs, violence, truancy and eventually dropping out of school at 15.

All was not lost for I possessed a spark of talent and the dream of working in art. This drove me to get my GED at 17 and attend art school. In college I discovered the world of art isn’t easy. I was an average student at best, and barely graduated. I left college with a degree in Advertising Design… and a pregnant wife.

After graduation, I was making $150 per week and residing in a shady area of Broward County, Florida. We had to collect welfare to aid with the expenses of having a child. I had no idea when or if things would improve. Let’s face it, the future seemed bleak. However, December 30, 1994 was a significant day in turning me around and setting me on a better path: my son was born.

With a lot of hard work and ample amounts of luck, in 1996 I found myself working as Art Director for a CBS affiliate in St. Petersburg, Florida. This is where I was first introduced to After Effects by Hans Mathre, one of the television station’s high school interns who was way ahead of his time.

The moment I began working in the program, I knew After Effects would be a game changer for the broadcast industry… and my life. Here was an application that had no ceiling for creativity. It had the potential for daily use in on-air animations, full broadcast packages, commercials, even internal presentations.

Most importantly, it had the ability to keep me focused. It became my anchor. I dedicated all available time to learning this program. It built for me a brand new world to explore and became the tool needed to open the doors previously locked to me.

My love of After Effects and the knowledge gained from the program, has raised me up to positions I never thought possible:

  • Corporate Art Director for Gannett Broadcasting working with 22 television stations,
  • West Coast Applications Engineer for Adobe presenting in front of hundreds of people,
  • The creation of The ANVEL – Motion Graphics curriculum used by thousands,
  • Trainer and instructor for hundreds of people in the broadcast and production industries,
  • Senior Designer at Magick Lantern creating motion graphics for companies like McKesson, Hasbro, Verizon, Craftsman, Cartoon Network and CNN, and, the grandest to date,
  • My own training facility focusing on Real World Techniques for Motion Graphics, Compositing and Visual Effects using After Effects.

After all, what’s the point of having this much fun if you can’t share the knowledge with a whole new crop of AE folks!

Thank you Adobe…Thank you After Effects…without you none of this would have been possible.

Ae & Me