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After Effects CS5 Digital Classroom Book with video training

Adobe After Effects CS5 Digital Classroom is like having a personal instructor guiding you through each lesson, while you work at your own pace. This After Effects book and DVD includes 10 self-paced lessons helping you learn essential skills and explore new features and capabilities of Adobe After Effects.

  • Full color lessons with easy to follow step-by-step instructions 
  • Video tutorials highlight key topics in each lesson 
  • Covers all essential After Effects skills
  • Gets you up-and-running quickly with included lesson files on DVD
  • Written by expert instructors who regularly teach After Effects training courses – it's like having your own personal tutor
  • Used by hundreds of schools and more than 100,000 readers

After Effects CS5 Digital Classroom Book with video training Sample Video

After Effects CS5 Digital Classroom Book with video training Contents

Starting Up

  • About Digital Classroom
  • Prerequisites
  • System requirements
  • Starting Adobe After Effects CS5
  • Fonts used in this book
  • Resetting Adobe After Effects CS5 preferences
  • Loading lesson files
  • Working with the video tutorials
  • Setting up for viewing the video tutorials
  • Viewing the video tutorials
  • Additional resources

Lesson 1: Understanding Motion Graphics

  • Starting up
  • Defining motion graphics
  • Digital video basics
  • Understanding video formats
  • Understanding frame rate and resolution
  • Understanding transparency
  • Self study
  • Review

Lesson 2: Understanding the After Effects Interface

  • Starting up 
    Understanding and working with menus
  • Opening an existing After Effects project
  • Understanding the After Effects panel system
  • After Effects panels
  • Primary panels
  • Understanding the workspace
  • Viewing and hiding panels
  • Docking and undocking panels
  • Resizing panels
  • Saving a custom workspace
  • Resetting the workspace
  • Setting After Effects Preferences
  • Changing the default undo levels
  • Enable Auto-Save
  • Self study
  • Review

Lesson 3: Media Management—Images, Video, and Audio

  • Starting up
  • What is Media Management?
  • Projects, compositions, and layers: an overview
  • Creating a new project
  • Importing media files
  • Organizing the Project panel

  • Modifying the column displays
  • Creating folders and subfolders
  • Previewing footage
  • Previewing stills and video
  • Previewing audio
  • Trimming a video clip
  • Importing multiple files
  • Importing Photoshop and Illustrator files
  • Importing image sequences
  • Importing After Effects compositions
  • Locating missing files
  • Using the Interpret Footage dialog box
  • Looping an audio or video file
  • Using Remember Interpretation
  • Using the Collect Files command to consolidate files
  • Self study

Lesson 4: Animation Workflow

  • Starting up
  • Understanding the animation workflow
  • Creating and working with compositions
  • Creating a new composition
  • Understanding composition settings
  • Importing compositions 
    from Photoshop and Illustrator
  • Working with layers
  • Understanding the layer switches
  • Understanding layer stacking order
  • Changing layer names
    Creating Kinestasis by animating the Anchor Point
  • Animating rotation
  • Using layer parenting to ease repetition
  • Animating position
  • Understanding motion paths
  • Using layer motion blur
  • Adjusting Motion Blur settings
  • Using blending modes
  • Applying layer styles
  • Understanding nested compositions 
    and precomposing
  • Adding nested styles
  • Pre-composing layers
  • Creating a fade-in by animating Opacity and Scale
  • Self study
  • Review

Lesson 5: Working with Masks, Track Mattes, and Keys

  • Starting up
  • Working with masks
  • Creating masks with the shape tools
  • Selecting and manipulating masks
  • Animating the position of masks
  • Creating freeform masks
  • Animating the shape of masks
  • Understanding track mattes
  • Creating track mattes
  • Creating mattes from animated Photoshop files
  • Creating a chroma key
  • Creating a garbage matte
  • Creating a chroma key
  • Refining the matte
  • Self study
  • Review

Lesson 6: Working with Text

  • Starting up
  • Creating text
  • Setting text properties globally
  • Formatting individual characters
  • Animating text properties
  • Saving an animator as a preset
  • Working with text animation presets
  • Modifying animation presets
  • Creating custom text animators
  • Creating a typewriter effect
  • Creating text on a path
  • Self study
  • Review

Lesson 7: Working with Audio

  • Starting up
  • Audio in After Effects
  • Previewing audio
  • Adding audio files to the Timeline
  • Viewing audio file metadata
  • Looping audio files
  • Animating audio levels
  • Working with audio effects
  • Using composition markers to set the beat
  • Naming composition markers
  • Refining the position of composition markers
  • Syncing animation to composition markers
  • Creating keyframes from audio files
  • Self study
  • Review

Lesson 8: Working with 3D in After Effects

  • Starting up
  • Previewing animation with RAM preview
  • Working the 3D capabilities of After Effects
  • Creating 3D layers
  • Using multiple viewports
  • Understanding 3D Transform properties
  • Understanding Material Options
  • Animating 3D layers
  • Creating and using lights
  • Understanding light options
  • Animating light properties
  • Creating and using cameras
  • Understanding camera options
  • Animating camera properties
  • Creating the depth-of-field effect
  • Creating a Rack Focus shot
  • Working with Live Photoshop 3D
  • Importing Live Photoshop 3D effects
  • Animating Photoshop 3D compositions
  • Adding a Glow and Lens Flare effect
  • Self study
  • Review

Lesson 9: Advanced Animation

  • Starting up
  • Animating with effects
  • Applying effects to layers
  • Animating effect properties
  • Saving animation presets
  • Applying and modifying effects presets
  • Time-reversing a layer
  • Using the Motion Sketch panel to capture motion
  • Controlling layer orientation
  • Using the Smoother panel to soften movement
  • Using the Wiggler panel to add frantic motion
  • Create acceleration and 
    deceleration using Easy Easing
  • Changing spatial interpolation
  • Adding easing to keyframes
  • Using squash and stretch to enhance the animation
  • Animating with the Graph Editor
  • Create a strobing effect using hold interpolation
  • Automating animation with expressions
  • Finding expressions
  • Adding expressions to properties
  • Using the LoopOut( ) expression
  • Using the Random( ) expression
  • Using the Time property with expressions
  • Using the Wiggle( ) expression
  • Working with scripts
  • Installing and running scripts
  • Creating scripts
  • Finding additional scripts
  • Using and applying scripts
  • Self study
  • Review

Lesson 10: Outputting After Effects Projects

  • Starting up
  • Rendering files for output
  • Understanding the Render Queue
  • Adding compositions to the Render Queue
  • Adjusting render settings
  • Duplicating jobs in the Render Queue
  • Creating render templates
  • Exporting a project file
  • Trimming and cropping compositions
  • Rendering an individual frame
  • Self study
  • Review


  • Appendix A 
    After Effects Secondary panels
  • Appendix B 
    Importable media formats 
    Still images and image sequences 
    Project formats
  • Appendix C 
    Understanding formats and codecs 
    Understanding bit rate 
    Understanding spatial and temporal compression
  • Appendix D 
    Understanding Video Displays 
    Understanding aspect ratio and pixel aspect ratio 
    Progressive display versus interlacing


These tutorials are created by and the team of expert instructors at American Graphics Institute.