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  • The next best thing to knowing something ….

    Posted on April 4th, 2009 dstipes No comments

    At times students contact me about how to do certain effects or procedures in After Effects. Since I can’t always be available, I wanted to remind you that:

    * You have an interactive “Help” menu at the top of your After Effects tool bar or you can hit “F1” 

    * Within the Help Menu, there is an “effects reference” help section that will cover most, if not all, the effects menu.

    cmg4* Also check the wonderful text book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects by Trish and Chris Meyer. 

    * It is a valuable reference and belongs in every animator’s, editor’s and VFX artist’s library.

    * Look up the topic in the back, in the index, and it will take you to the pages that cover the subject of interest.

    * You can also Google topics like “puppet tool in After Effects”  or “How to use the puppet tool in After Effects”

    * Get familiar with Creative Cow After Effects tutorial library:

    * Get familiar with Andrew Kramer’s Video Co-Pilot site and his After Effects tutorials:

     * Also look at and subscribe to AETUTS+  at:

    Eugene Pak, fellow AIPX  After Effects instructor, added:

    * “Develop a mentorship with someone more experienced than yourself. It’s a great way to pick up hints and tricks, as well as a critical voice.

    * Look at online support groups such as Creative Cow and AE Mailing List.”


    There are a lot of resources out there in print and on the internet.  Almost anything you want to know about After Effects is covered to one degree or another.  So, don’t get paralyzed in your creative process. Be assertive and search out what you want or need to know.

     No one can know everything but remember:  

     “The next best thing to knowing something … is knowing where to go to learn it!”


    5 responses to “The next best thing to knowing something ….”

    1. I think this is great not only for students in a formal education setting but for those wanting to continue their educations after graduation, as well as ones wanting to learn visual effects on their own. These references are quite helpful when you just don’t know where to start (Wow! Who’d have even thought to look in the index of a book?) 😉

    2. yay for help files!

    3. Hi Matthew!

      Yeah, you would think it was one of the world’s best kept secrets!

      Hmmm…maybe it is…


    4. My wifey tells me I am a “blue” personality. (In true form) I ask, What’s that, Honee? She tells me I am the type that needs any and all information on any given subject I am curious about, and on top of that, I’m pretty much curious about most everything, by nature of being.

      So yeah, The next best thing to knowing something …., I concur with eleventy billion %. And in this, The Information Age we now live in, it could not be a better epoch for a “blue,” eh.

      Peeps often ask me, how do you know so much about computers and the programs you use? And I reply, Well, I read the manuals, and I always use the on-board Help system(s) to ferret out an answer any Q I come up against.

      They look at me and ask, There’s a Help system on a computer?

      Yep. 🙂

      I dig AE, use it myself. 🙂


    5. I have had similar discussions with some students. I have found a few who actually do not know how to use an index in a text book…


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