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Best way to learn After Effects

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› Best way to learn After Effects
  • Published on July 23, 2016

Creative professionals working in fields ranging from video to presentation design are finding it essential to produce increasingly complex animations and special effects using Adobe After Effects. The best way to learn After Effects includes in-person classes, online courses, books, video training, and private lessons. Each individual’s preference for learning methods dictates whether they are better learning After Effects in the classroom or online, with an instructor, or at their own pace.

It is helpful to understand the role of After Effects along with how it is used to better understand the various After Effects training options. After Effects is used primarily by video designers and motion graphics professionals. The designs created using After Effects may be found in broadcast video, as part of titles or credits, and as part of online interactive video. Artwork created using After Effects is also found in animations, regardless of whether they are online or in traditional television or movie video. Examples of After Effects artwork being used in broadcast video range from graphics that are displayed at the start of a news broadcast or a live sporting event. After Effects is also the app used to create online explainer videos which are animated.

Most animated graphics used in After Effects projects starts its life in other Creative Cloud applications as static 2D or 3D artwork. After Effects brings this static artwork to life by adding motion, animation, and effects to the static artwork. After Effects can also be used to add special effects to video. For example, After Effects can add fire or smoke to a video, in either realistic or comic fashion, to enhance the mood and ambiance in scenes where these may be needed.

Learn After Effects Class in a Classroom with a live instructor

If you prefer to work with an instructor in the same classroom with you, then the best way to learn After Effects is a small class or workshop. Check to make sure that the instructor is in the same room as you, which is the way American Graphics Institute runs all their After Effects courses in NYC, Philadelphia, and Boston. Not all After Effects courses provide a live instructor in the same classroom, with many providers having the instructor remotely connected from a different location. There are organizations that offer After Effects classes and don’t tell you until the morning of the first class that you will not be in the same room as the instructor. Imagine the surprise to walk into an After Effects class thinking you will be learning with a teacher and others, only to find that you are alone in a room with a connection to an instructor in a different city. Another consideration when taking an After Effects course is whether the school provides access to both Mac and Windows computers so that you can learn on the system of your choice.

Taking a live online course to learn After Effects

For those living in areas where in-person classes aren’t an option, the best way to learn After Effects may be an After Effects class online. Online courses are also a good choice if you don’t want to commute to a classroom, even within your same city. Online classes are also good for those who find online learning meets their needs and are comfortable with the format. A live online class involves a teacher in a different location leading the Illustrator course in which you are able to get questions answered, ask for things to be repeated or explained. These live online courses are different from an online recorded training session, which is not live and thus does not support getting questions answered in real-time.

Online tutorials for Learning After Effects

For those looking for a free way to learn After Effects and who have a long timeframe available, then free After Effects tutorials are a good choice. for learning After Effects. These After Effects tutorials provide guidance and instruction around specific topics, and may lack the formal structure of a book or class. Yet if you are willing to work at your own pace or lack the budget for a book or class, then the tutorials are a viable option for learning After Effects.

Learn After Effects with training books

While it may seem unusual that books have made their way into a list of the best ways to learn After Effects, they are a fantastic option for those who want a self-paced way to learn this complex interactive design tool. Well-written After Effects books provide self-directed lessons along with context and explanation. Some of these books are designed to help you learn After Effects entirely on your own, while others are designed as curriculum that supplements a classroom experience. If learning After Effects on your own with a book, look for one that includes step-by-step instructions and lesson files.

Private training to learn After Effects

Private After Effects training is not reserved for the well-to-do. If you work with a group that needs to use After Effects, it may be more cost effective to deliver a private After Effects training session for the group rather than enrolling in classes individually. A private course is also helpful if you have a particular project on which you want to focus, or specialized curriculum you would like to follow. A private training session lets you focus on the After Effects capabilities that relate most to the work you perform.

While the best options for learning After Effects vary depending upon learning style, where you live, whether you are comfortable learning online, whether you are part of a group that also needs to learn, and if you have a specific project on which you want to work. There are options available to assist every type of After Effects learner available from American Graphics Institute, ranging from live classes to online courses, books to private training. With so many available options, there has never been a better time to learn After Effects.

About the author

is president of American Graphics Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the creator and editor of the Digital Classroom book series. At American Graphics Institute, he provides strategic technology consulting to marketing professionals, publishers and to large technology companies including Google, Apple, and Microsoft. He delivers workshops relating to digital marketing, web analytics, SEO, and SEM. He is also the author of more than 10 books on electronic publishing tools and technologies, including the Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies. Christopher did his undergraduate studies the at the University of Minnesota, and then worked for Quark, Inc. prior to joining American Graphics Institute where he has worked for 20 years.