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Adobe After Effects CS4 Classroom in a Book (Classroom in a Book (Adobe)) Paperback – 23 Dec 2008
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From the Back Cover
Visual effects and motion graphics pros of all stripes - from broadcast professionals to VFX supervisors to Web designers who need to produce occasional video segments - will welcome the dramatically accelerated features provided in the brand-new After Effects CS4. This best-selling book has been revised to cover all that's new in this upgrade: the ability to import 3D layers from Photoshop; the Cartoon effect that converts live-action footage into stylized imagery; Adobe Device Central CS4, which lets you preview and test animations for mobile devices, and more. Designed around a single complex project that’s broken down into manageable lessons, this book-and-DVD package mimics a real-world workflow - but one that readers tackle at their own pace. The DVD contains all the lesson files and footage readers need to complete the lessons.
About the Author
The Adobe Creative Team of designers, writers, and editors has extensive, real-world knowledge of Adobe products. They work closely with the Adobe product development teams and Adobe's Instructional Communications team to come up with creative, challenging, and visually appealing projects to help both new and experienced users get up to speed quickly on Adobe software products.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
One thing that does concern me a bit: while following lesson instructions you are asked to do some routine things that will make sense to someone used to working in Flash or a 3D animation program, and only a cursory explanation is given as to why you would do this. Mostly workflow and best practices kinds of stuff. While I did not have a problem with it due to related experience, I think someone just starting out cold might. That said, it is rare for me to be able to work through the entirety of a book of this type. It's nice to have different projects for each lesson; many books of this sort seem to create a movie project replete with every feature the program has to offer that you follow from beginning to end. This usually makes me lose interest -- especially if the project is incredibly lame. These projects are all pretty lame (visually lame - they are informative and useful) but you only have to deal with a particular project for a few hours and then it's off to new footage and assets.
I haven't had any problems with any of the lessons or files, except:
one JPG that was corrupted on Lesson 5 (there are more to choose from , not a show stopper).
In lesson 8, Creating a Walk Cycle: One of the X positions on the graph on page 222 is incorrect -- it needs a "-" sign before the coordinate. I think it was for the torso at 1:00, but I can't recall for certain.
In lesson 11, Positioning 3D Elements: the initial composition should be set to "square pixels" instead of the stated "D1/DV NTSC" in order for the steps provided for correct 3d positioning to work accurately on your monitor.
Not huge errors for a book of this type, but I would have expected Adobe to hand this to a neophyte for testing -- these should have been caught easily by someone following the instructions.
I have not had any crashes or hardware related problems. This is a demanding program, however. I'm using my work machine (Mac Pro tower, 8 cores, 6GB RAM, OS X Leopard), which is a behemoth. I don't know how my home machine would handle it, or the stability of the Vista or XP versions.
It doesn't get into anything two advanced but if you are a first time After Effects user this is definitely a helpful purchase to understand the scope of the program.