things you had trouble finding last month
Every once in a while, I read through the results of the surveys that we have on various parts of the Community Help portions of the website. Though some of you say good things (and that can really turn a crap day into a good one), others point out problems. The most common problem is of the “I couldn’t find…” variety. I take that feedback into account when updating After Effects Help, of course.
Here is a partial list of things that some of you couldn’t find this month.
documentation for mocha for After Effects
Imagineer Systems provides documentation for mocha for After Effects. When you start mocha for After Effects, there’s a Guide item in the splash screen that opens the mocha for After Effects documentation. Choosing Help > Manual in mocha for After Effects does the same.
There are also lots of tutorials on the Imagineer website. The “Tracking and stabilizing motion” section of After Effects CS4 Help on the Web has links. Be sure to read the comments on that page; several folks have posted new links to additional resources.
Another area of confusion is about mocha for After Effects and the trial version of After Effects CS4. As described in the “Installation, activation, and registration” section of After Effects Help on the Web, the trial version doesn’t included several pieces of software that Adobe licenses from other companies. This includes mocha for After Effects.
Several of you said that you couldn’t find After Effects Help. Ouch. That’s not good. Please read my blog post about the new Help system for CS4. And, yes, we’re aware of the irony of having to explain how to use Help. We’re working on it. Please do try out the new Community Help search and let us know what you think.
the very basics
Some people said that they were looking for “the very basics”.
Check out the three items under the “Getting started” section on the After Effects Help and Support page. There are some introductory video tutorials there, plus a link to a very basic explanation of the After Effects workflow.
You can also take just a few minutes to follow the click-by-click instructions in the “Example workflow: Create a simple movie” section of After Effects Help on the Web.
Occasionally, someone says that they want all of the keyboard shortcuts listed in After Effects Help. Then I say that they are. Really. All of them. Then, after some more conversation, what we find is that the person just wasn’t using the same terminology as that used in the “Keyboard shortcuts” section of After Effects Help.
For example, a little piece of internal Adobe jargon, ‘nudge’, has crept into the lexicon of the After Effects power users. This is in part because that’s the word that’s used in one of the somewhat hidden preferences files that some people occasionally pry open. But, because most people don’t use the word ‘nudge’ but instead use more sensible, common words like ‘move’, we use the word ‘move’ in the documentation.
So, if you can’t find a keyboard shortcut, try searching using different, synonymous words. If you have trouble, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of a page of Help to let us know what you’re looking for. (Or you could do the same thing in the After Effects user-to-user forum.)
inspiration and example projects
We have some gallery items on the After Effects Help and Support page that are meant to inspire. But, really, if I want to be inspired and get new ideas for motion graphics, I tend to go to Motionographer.
For example projects, I’d check out the “Template projects and example projects” section of After Effects Help and some of the sites listed in the “Community sites” section in the right sidebar of the After Effects Help and Support page, such as Dean Velez’s Motion Graphics Lab.
general color correction information
details about all of the little new features