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Introduction

Introduction

Why This Book?

In the beginning, there was After Effects—and it was good (so good that a graphics company from California bought it). Once inside the Adobe fold, After Effects grew immensely with new features and capabilities. The most important in our opinion has been integration.

Sure, there are lots of sexy features in After Effects, and we love them. But what truly helps us get the job done is that After Effects enables us to import graphics files, photos, illustrations, and footage, and create compelling animation. These features have existed for a long time (layered Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator support has been around for ages).

But Adobe hit upon a true need when it started bundling applications together. Although the logic has taken a while to seep into the pores of designers, there indeed is power in numbers when it comes to software. Being able to see After Effects as the center point in the Creative Suite empowers a designer to be more productive.

A few years back, Rich asked an Adobe exec why he had to use Photoshop to bring 3D models into After Effects (instead of direct support to just import models). The answer was eye opening. It turns out that designers, medical-imaging professionals, and 3D animators all need to use Photoshop. By condensing the support for 3D models and formats into one tool, the development could be more feature rich. You see, it’s easier to put money toward new features to benefit a bigger group of users.

This is why killer features like Dynamic Link exist, for the seamless exchange of media between After Effects and Adobe Premiere Pro. Photoshop features like Vanishing Point, 3D Layers, and Camera Raw can work effortlessly with After Effects. The Creative Suite has evolved into a true toolbox; one that has a coordinated approach to working seamlessly while getting the job done.

Unfortunately, most After Effects artists are afraid to venture outside their comfort zone. For us, a love of Photoshop motivated us to explore new ways of making these two applications work together. What we found encouraged us and eventually led us to Illustrator, Premiere Pro, and Encore. Newer additions like the Adobe Media Encoder and Flash also play an important role.

We’re not advocating for you to go back to school and learn every application at the same level that you know After Effects. Rather, we offer compelling reasons and practical techniques that let you get more from Creative Suite. Whether you use only a few applications or want to explore the entire suite, you’ll find time-saving and inspirational techniques that help you get more done.

Organization of This Book

Motion Graphics with Adobe Creative Suite 5 Studio Techniques is organized into three sections:

  • Section I, “Working Foundations,” discusses the approach to modern motion graphics projects. You’ll explore the tools contained within the Creative Suite as well as enabling technologies like Dynamic Link and the Open in Editor command. You’ll also learn how to organize your project for cross-application (and even multiplatform) workflows. Don’t skip these two chapters, because you’ll learn some core technology that will save you time and reduce your stress.

  • Section II, “Design Essentials,” explores the core tasks we face as motion graphics artists. You’ll learn how to use applications like Photoshop, Illustrator, and Adobe Premiere Pro to enhance After Effects projects. You’ll also learn about new After Effects tools and overlooked commands that are truly essential. The whole gamut of tasks is covered, from logos, type, and vectors to footage, audio, and 3D.

  • Section III, “Design Exploration,” examines real-world projects and techniques. We often pick up a camera and break into the world of production as well. Here you’ll investigate new ways to apply your motion graphics knowledge to produce creative output. You’ll find three chapters in this section and a bonus chapter on creating a broadcast package design for download at www.peachpit.com/mgcs5st.

What’s on the DVD?

To see the techniques in the pages come to life, we’ve included hands-on projects and source files. Although space limitations have meant some compression and trimming, you’ll still find completed shots and source materials so you can understand how we accomplished the results.

As you read this book, you’ll encounter specific advice and techniques. But if you lift the curtain and jump right into the project and source files, you’ll see the duct tape and bubble gum that holds everything together. We’re not calling our techniques flimsy; rather, we’re guiding you through real-world projects where nothing is ever perfect. Footage can be poorly shot, assets can be lacking, and the like, yet the job still gets done.

We’re results-oriented people. The assets and materials on the DVD will show you just how we completed the project. Be sure to copy the appropriate folder to your computer’s hard drive for each lesson. Due to speed issues and an inability to save your progress, you should not work directly off the disc.

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