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Total Training Experts 'Cast Knowledge By Ko Maruyama
For more than a decade, Brian Maffitt has offered specific, yet easy to follow instruction for beginner, intermediate and advanced users of motion graphics software.  In their latest adventure, the experts have created GURU LOUNGE, a video podcast of arguably 'must-know' tips.

Since their successful educational series called 'Total AE' began, they've branched out, covering several Adobe products, including all of the major applications Adobe publishes for design and Apple's motion graphics and editorial tools.   Everyone in the professional desktop video world knows about Total Training.  As a secret weapon, used to unlock some of the hidden aspects of favored applications, Total Training instructions show that even obscure procedures aren't really difficult, just unknown.

The Guru Lounge podcast picks up at a tangent to the Total Training series, dipping in and out of some of the concepts explained on their premium videos, and assumes that you already know many of the basic steps of the featured application.  Each podcast focuses on a single feature or specific technique in an an application.

This slightly fast forward approach makes it an excellent resource for anyone who has already mastered navigating the tools palettes and understands the basics of the applications.

While the Total Training videos are an excellent guide for maneuvering around the various softwares, with specific explanations of each toggle, menu, and related switch, Guru Lounge moves deftly, quickly delivering content about new features and current styles tricks.

While it takes several days, weeks, or even months to create a compilation of videos that are as streamlined and in-depth as those found in the Total Training series, Podcasts, by comparison, are relatively easy.  Chock full of information, with much of the same kind of training that you'd get in the Total Training VHS or DVDs, the podcast videos focus on one application at a time.

Unlike the DVD format that Total Training comes in, at the time of this article, Guru Lounge has three premiere downloadable videos that are optionally available in High Definition.  Yes, the HD versions of the movie are quite large, but at 1280x720, the screen captures allow you to see all of the palettes and type, gradient values and individual pixels in context (rather than the blown-up "zoom" view).

So far the gurus have produced three videos.  The first was delivered by Photoshop guru Deke McClelland about special techniques to create artistic looks using photographic sources using Adobe Photoshop.  The second episode focused on Final Cut Pro and the use of a gradient map - presented in tag team mode by Deke and Brian.  The most recent episode is Brian's overview about After Effects 7's new ability to process in 32-bit mode, allowing for much more image control.

What's in store from the Guru Lounge for the next few episodes?  Guru Brian Maffitt, cloaked in incense smoke professes: "Expect future podcasts to focus on Adobe Production Studio products, Apple's Final Cut Studio products and Adobe's Creative Suite products."   To anyone in motion graphics, you know this means: 'just about everything'.

Not just a standard video-podcast, the multi-camera experience is engrossing.  Brian explains, "We want to create more of a 'TV-show' experience, in an effort to reach a wider, more casual audience.  Above all, we strive to make the episodes entertaining."

Brian's team has their work cut out for them, but the rest of us can sit back and enjoy the show.  Whether you are interested in the Adobe products (both pre- and post- Macromedia) or other computer graphic or computer editing software, you can find out how to get more out of your application with a single click.

Subscribe to the podcast

If you like to use your video ipod or small viewer window to watch the episodes, you can subscribe to the show through iTunes or your RSS Feeder by checking out the Guru Lounge official site at: http://www.totaltraining.com/gurulounge.  However, you can also find High Definition movies at the Guru Lounge site.  The weblink download sizes may be a little large (80MB+), but the quality of the video is far superior to any podcast tutorials you'll find out there.

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Ko Maruyama is a freelance animator in Los Angeles.  In addition to working on film and broadcast animations, Ko teaches at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design - focusing on motion design.  When working, writing or testing software allows, you can find him lending a hand in the After Effects board and lurking among the Cinema4D, Visual Effects and Photoshop posts within the DMNForums.
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