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Review: - The After Effects Illusionist

April, 2009




The After Effects Illusionist
Written by Chad Perkins $49.00



Review by Steve Douglas

I'll start out by saying that this is not an Adobe After Effects book for beginners even though the back cover says that it is suitable for the novice to advanced user. It is clearly aimed at the editor who has been using After Effects for some time, is familiar with most of its uses, the appropriate terminology, applications, and parameter controls. It is for the editor who is ready to dig deeper into the myriad applications of its effects and their relation to themselves as editors, and who hope to further their own abilities and understanding of them.

A media disc is supplied with all the necessary material you will need for each chapter covered. Much of the media was supplied by Art Beats and is of excellent quality.

From my perspective, there is no beginning, middle and end to this book, nor is there a need to start on page one and continue to the end. This is one of those books that you use to fit your purpose, agenda and needs of the moment. The title, while quite catchy, implies that all kinds of special effects secrets and how to achieve them will be bestowed upon you. However, that is not the purpose of this book at all. Rather it is an extensive and in depth exploration of, and reference to, almost all the various filters and how each of parameters affect the image that produces the real value of this book. I found the tone of the book, while exhaustive, to be dry in manner, kind of like an old encyclopedia.

There is not much, if anything, that is not covered in this book regarding the many filters and presets that accompany Adobe After Effects though some of the effects collections like Keylight, Cycore and Color Finesse are not touched upon. It really is very comprehensive book for the After Effects literate designed to demonstrate just how much can be done with the native tools of AE without the many third party plug in collections that are often used to supplement AE users. Covered for the AE user are chapters regarding 3D Channel Effects, Audio and Blur & Sharpen Effects, Matter and Paint Effects, Perspective & Simulation Effects and even Obsolete Effects. Of course, this is only a partial listing of some of the subjects covered as there really is a great deal more.

I do believe that it would take an individual an incredible amount of time to literally work through this book from cover to cover. I certainly didn't make it through the entire thing before writing this review.

One of the best ways to learn is by doing and experimenting. I found that I could skip around and work on the sections that held my interest. If you are a frequent Adobe After Effects user, this book will, without a question, supplement your knowledge and skills.

Steve Douglas is a certified Apple Pro for Final Cut Pro 6 and underwater videographer. A winner of the 1999 Pacific Coast Underwater Film Competition, 2003 IVIE competition, 2004 Los Angeles Underwater Photographic competition, and the prestigious 2005 International Beneath the Sea Film Competition, where he also won the Stan Waterman Award for Excellence in Underwater Videography and 'Diver of the Year', Steve was a safety diver on the feature film "The Deep Blue Sea", contributed footage to the Seaworld Park's Atlantis production, and productions for National Geographic and the History channels. Steve is also feature writer for Asian Diver Magazine and is one of the founding organizers of the San Diego UnderSea Film Exhibition. He is available for both private and group seminars for Final Cut Pro and leads both underwater filming expeditions and African safaris with upcoming excursions to Micronesia for the Manta Fest in 9/09, the Red Sea and Egypt for Nov.2009, Truk Lagoon and Yap in Micronesia for July, 2010. Feel free to contact him if you are interested in joining Steve on any of these exciting trips.


copyright © Steve Douglas 2009

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