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March 2, 2009 /Region of Interest /

top contributors to After Effects Community Help

A few months ago, I posted on this blog about moderators for After Effects Community Help.

Since then, there have been a few changes to After Effects Community Help, many of them based on your feedback. For example, if you’ve installed the After Effects 9.0.1 update, pressing F1 now takes you directly to After Effects Help on the Web instead of to the more broad After Effects Community Help and Support page.

We’ve also seen a large increase in the number of people using our community features to engage with us, with each other, and with our instructional and reference resources. A lot of people are adding comments to the pages of After Effects Help on the Web to provide tips, additional information, and links to other resources, as well as to occasionally point out where we got something wrong.

Thank you all. Keep those comments coming,

Of course, comments on Help on the Web are not the best way to ask questions or to have threaded conversations. For that, we have the After Effects user-to-user forum. Several very helpful motion graphics and visual effects professionals assist people on that forum.

And so I thank all of the folks who help out on that forum.

Finally, there are several people who spend a lot of time and effort creating written tutorials, video tutorials, example projects, animation presets, scripts, expressions… all for free. Even many of the folks who make a living by selling materials like these also make excerpts available for free. Sure, they do this in part because it’s good business, but I know a lot of these folks, so I can tell you this: They also want to give back to the community that has helped them so much. Because we link to these materials from After Effects Help, I also consider these materials to be part of After Effects Community Help. (Of course, we can only link to things that we know about, which is why I plead with you to add comments to link to online materials that you think are good.)

All of this is why I am so glad to work on After Effects. People who use this software help each other out, and that makes us all better able to realize our creativity and feel more connected with our community, while we increase our productivity and gain practical skills.

Here, in no particular order are the people who I would most like to thank for their contributions to After Effects Community Help. My personal opinion (which is not necessarily the opinion of my employer, Adobe Systems Incorporated) is that you should buy whatever these people are selling, contribute to their online tip jars, give them jobs, and otherwise make use of their talents and ensure that they keep on sharing them with all of us. I have.

  • Sébastien Périer has done a tremendous amount of work to translate comments from English to French, as well as adding several of his own. I really like his demo reel, which showcases a lot of clever and artistic uses of After Effects scripting, as well as a lot of more “standard” motion graphics and compositing work.
  • Lutz Albrecht (Mylenium) is an all-around superstar contributor. He is an expert at answering people’s questions on the user-to-user forum, he moderates comments on After Effects Help, he adds many comments of his own, and his website is the best place on the Web (even better than the Adobe website) for figuring out what those cryptic error code messages mean. All of this more than makes up for the fact that he’s even more of a curmudgeon than me.
  • John Dickinson is another all-around star contributor. He creates free tutorials, design breakdowns, and other useful tidbits that he posts on his Motionworks website. He answers questions on forums. And he (together with many cohorts) creates the fantastic Making It Look Great series. He even sometimes remembers to add comments to After Effects Help to point people to these materials.
  • Jeff Foster has been a steady contributor of high-quality comments to After Effects Help and to the world of free online materials about After Effects. He also just released a very good DVD of video tutorials, Learning After Effects CS4; I learned a lot from it, especially about using layer styles. I also really like his book After Effects & Photoshop, which still has a lot of valuable information, even though it was written for a previous version of the software.
  • Trish and Chris Meyer have been at the forefront of creating materials for learning After Effects for longer than I’ve known about the existence of After Effects. They do it all, and they do it all well. I have bought, read, and watched everything of theirs that I can get my hands on. You can read all about their various resources on the ProVideo Coalition website. I link to their various resources from many places, including a recent post on this blog.
  • Rick Gerard focuses mainly on answering questions on the After Effects user-to-user forum. I am always so glad to see when Rick has answered a question, because I know that the answer is going to be correct, thorough, and based on real-world experience.
  • Jonas Hummelstrand is another strong contributor on the After Effects user-to-user forum. Beyond that, he has made some of the most effective and useful posts about After Effects and motion graphics and compositing in general on his General Specialist website. For example, his article about how to shoot footage for color keying work is one of the most valuable pieces of free information on the Web for After Effects users.
  • Alex Czetwertynski moderates comments on After Effects Help, and we appreciate that. But that contribution pales in comparison to the wonder that is AE Enhancers. The AE Enhancers forum is the place to go for discussion of scripts, expressions, and animation presets for After Effects. Yes, there are great websites maintained by Dan Ebberts, Jeff Almasol, Lloyd Alvarez, and others who provide scripts and expressions and resources for learning about them. But these folks all hang out on AE Enhancers, too.
  • Dan Ebberts answers questions about expressions and scripts on several forums, provides reference and tutorial information on his own site, and just generally does a terrific job of making the JavaScript-based parts of After Effects more accessible to everyone. He recently published a very good and very thorough tutorial about the XMP metadata features in CS4 Production Premium, which covers expressions, ExtendScript scripting in After Effects, and ActionScript scripting in Flash. Yep. If it’s based on JavaScript, Dan can create and explain it.
  • Lloyd Alvarez doesn’t do as much explaining as other folks, but he makes up for it by making freely available some of the most fantastically useful scripts for After Effects.

I know that I mentioned this at the top of the list, but I’d really like to remind you to make use of the tip jars on the websites of these folks. They’re giving things away that in some cases are better than things that other folks are selling for a lot of money.

Yes, there are a lot of other folks who make things that help After Effects users, but I can’t list them all here… and my point in this post was to especially thank the people who have been using the various community features that Adobe provides—like user-to-user forums and comments on pages of After Effects Help—to let us know about the good materials that are out there. There’s a more complete listing in the After Effects community resources page of After Effects Help.

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