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on 21 September 2006
My colleagues and I run a little animation studio - Renga Media - down in Brighton, UK, and we use Adobe's venerable compositing app After Effects on a daily basis as part of our production workflow. Freelance visual artist Angie Taylor's books are essential reading for anyone - experienced or otherwise- planning on exploring what AE (After Effects...) has to offer the visual artist working with motion graphics, special effects and animation. Angie Taylor has been writing about After Effects for some years now, and this book - updated to coincide with the summer 2006 release of Version 7 of AE - makes the whole process of learning about and working with motion graphics so very much simpler...

Case in point: we recently hired a computer artist to do some digital matte work for us, and after a while she expressed interest in adding moving elements to her shots; in this case, she wanted to add dramatic CG-generated clouds to a shot of a futuristic city. Not having time to go through the whole of After Effects with her personally, I lent her our well-thumbed office copy of this book, and, within two days she'd learned enough of the basic processes to not only put her shot together, but move straight on to more complex set-ups. She's now one of our rising-star compositors.

The main reason behind the book's accessibilty is that Ms. Taylor's writing is not in the least bit dull - in fact, it's rather relaxed and entertaining, making the step-by-step procedure of learning AE's capabilities an absolute breeze... a traditional dusty reference textbook, this ain't. The individual chapters, which cover very basic animation through to the more complex processes of mattes and keying, are well laid out with nice, clear visual references. There's a good dose of quirky humour running through the whole thing as well; any "How To..." tome that includes a pic of the author in full goth-punk regalia from her 1980s student days has to be something rather special...

Long-time readers of Angie Taylor's reference works will know that she always includes really good resources on a free data disk - here, we have a trial version of AE7 (Mac and Windows), free plug-ins, and a batch of movie clips to play around with in conjunction with the tutorials. These include the infamous-but-hysterical clip of the author in cowboy hat dancing around in front of a bluescreen to demonstrate the Keying lesson... Ms. Taylor's been using this clip available in her reference books for a few years now, and we're delighted to see it retained in this updated edition (!).

Buy this book whether you're a beginner or seasoned professional - it's written in plain, chatty English and the Lessons are comprehensively illustrated. For the beginner, this is a dream manual - much quicker than ploughing through the official Adobe text if you're itching to just get started on producing footage - and for the pro, there are always tips and workflows that can come in incredibly useful. Having had this book open on the desk pretty much every day since we got hold of it, we can honestly, genuinely say that this is money well-spent; it's endorsed by Adobe, as well.

Shameless Plug Dept.: oh, yeah, and if you want to take a look at what one small band of renegade animators has been doing with After Effects and Ms. Taylor's books, go take a look-see at [...] - enjoy!
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on 13 May 2013
An exceptional book from an exceptional graphic artist. Well-defined graphics and text throughout. A great way to establish a genuine Adobe AE workflow, simply. The book is obviously focused on the Mac user, but PC users are also accommodated. Be it in a little, but confusing way.

Considering that "used" AE 7.0 (or otherwise) is so cheap now, this is well worth the purchase and Highly recommended.
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on 2 September 2007
This could have been the best AE self teaching book, but it has so many typographical errors that it gets so hard to follow, not to mention that some of the files allegedly included on the dvd are missing, so at some points you need to create your own files in order to being able to move forward to the lessons, I don't doubt for one second that the author is very proficient with this software, she really makes an effort trying to explain the reason behind any instruction she gives. But it's clear that she was the only one who really cared for the publishing of the book as is obvious no proof reader was hired to make it come flawless, quite the opposite, it is far from it.
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on 7 April 2007
[...], but this book is so filled with typographical errors as to make it a real chore to try to follow the lessons. Too bad a proofreader wasn't hired to check this manuscript before it was published. Otherwise it could have been an instructive manual for After Effects.
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