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Total Training: Adobe After Effects 5.5

DVD series reviewed By Stephen Schleicher
I spent the last week and a half watching every minute of the new Total Training DVD series that covers Adobe After Effects 5.5. Why a week and a half? It is over 40 hours of material! What are my thoughts on this new offering? Well, it depends on who you are.

My general overall impression of this series is a good one. Brian Maffitt and Steve Holmes have done a tremendous job in putting together a training series that explains the ins and outs of this complex piece of software. A great deal of time has obviously been spent in crafting the lessons to be learned and the results are impressive. That being said, Ive decided that for this review, I need to offer you a perspective on this four set series from the mindset of a beginner, intermediate, and advanced user. By looking at this series through those eyes, it will help you come to a better decision as to what set(s) you would like to purchase.

There are four sets instruction in this series that cover the range from just starting out on After Effects 5.5, to the more advanced features found in the Production Bundle of the software.

Set One: The Fundamentals of Adobe After Effects
The series begins with The Fundamentals of Adobe After Effects. This two DVD set does just as the name implies- covering the fundamentals necessary to function. From a tour of the entire interface, to the basic concepts of how keyframing works, how to import footage and do simple compositions, this set will have you up and running quickly. Brian and Steve do a great job of gently explaining the sometimes-daunting functions to users in a clear and simple way, often repeating key concepts so it sinks into your memory.

That being said, if you are brand new to After Effects 5.5, or have only "played around" with the application a few times, this is a definite must have set. Many of your questions are going to be answered within the first two hours and I believe by the end of the set, you should have enough information in your head to be able to complete a project from beginning to end.

If you are an intermediate user, you will still pick up some good tid bits of information, especially if you are not familiar with all of the keyboard shortcuts or do not understand the way After Effects ?thinks. I remember a few years ago, when I was working with 4.1 and then 5.0 that there were area of the interface that I never used, simply because I didnt know what they were for, or the potential behind them. This Total Training set, will put you more at ease by explaining some of those ?strange areas of the program.

If you are an advanced user, I would say you would gain little from the first set, as you probably already understand the concepts and ideas presented by the training duo. However, if you are someone who will be teaching others how to use After Effects, then you may want to purchase this set to get a feel for how Brian and Steve present the information. You can then translate their methods/procedures into your own style.

Set One comes on two DVDs and includes a CD-ROM of projects used throughout. The cost of Set One is $169.

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