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January 23, 2013 /Ae & Me /

Ae & Rob Birnholz

Ae & Rob BirnholzWhen I first discovered After Effects, I was convinced it was a big secret that had somehow been kept from me. The year was 1993 and as a freelance editor I was just dipping my feet into digital graphics, combining Photoshop with a used video scan convertor to create a poor man’s paintbox.

This was great for still graphics, but I wanted more— every time I spied a flying toaster screen saver I knew there had to be a way I could animate graphics without resorting to some high end dedicated hardware.

While browsing at a local video show in Orlando in 1993, I noticed a small booth (a single folding table with some blue drape and a 13” video monitor). The reel playing showed examples of beautifully composited titles and video sequences that confirmed my hopes were real. There was a software program that would allow me to animate Photoshop graphics on my own! And on a Mac!

Of course the booth was for CoSA, and their Marketing Director Bob Barneshaw manned it.

To say this was a turning point in my life would be a huge understatement. If ever I was in the right place at the right time, this was it. After Effects become the core of my professional work, an invaluable tool that virtually every video project I worked on flowed through. Being able to deliver high end animation and compositing suddenly made me – a one man shop – competitive with the highest end video post houses. My clientele grew to include fortune 500 companies and international theme parks. All from a converted back room in my house!

The discovery of the Cosa Café on the old AOL introduced me to people I now consider lifelong friends, as well as respected colleagues.

To this day, I don’t look at my home, car or any of my material possessions without thinking “After Effects bought this”. For 20 years AE still remains that singular tool around which I’ve built a long term successful business, both financially and creatively. I am forever in debt to everyone who was ever part of the AE team and community. Thank you all.

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Ae & Me