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January 4, 2011 3:11 PM   Subscribe

Homing in: Books for learning After Effects or AE and Flash.

This is, for now, for the purposes of pure animation and video effects. I might try games or something at some point, but that's not what I'm asking for now.

I think I'll learn both, so where should I start? One or the other, or both at once?

What book(s) should I use to do this? If some internet tutorial is super-irreplaceably amazing, then fine I guess, but I'd really prefer to use a physical book.
posted by cmoj to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
Response by poster: Oh, CS5.
posted by cmoj at 3:18 PM on January 4, 2011

This is THE book for learning After Effects: Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects.

I'm a little dusty on Flash, but I learned from the "Classroom in a Book" series - which seems to not be very highly rated on Amazon. Be sure to pick up a book on ActionScript, too.
posted by plasticbugs at 4:23 PM on January 4, 2011

Oh, and you need to learn you a Photoshop before you even step foot inside After Effects. Seriously.

After Effects is basically Photoshop with a timeline.

For Photoshop, pick up the Classroom in a Book and also the Quickstart Book with the little rabbit on the cover.

I'd learn Flash second. In my experience it has a much steeper learning curve. Plus, Flash is becoming less and less relevant -- unless you're making banner ads or cartoons.
posted by plasticbugs at 4:28 PM on January 4, 2011

Flash and After Effects don't really have much in common past a time line and the fact that both are used for animation. After Effects is linear, non-interactive and prerendered - Flash is none of those things.
posted by jedrek at 4:47 PM on January 4, 2011

In my experience it has a much steeper learning curve.

It depends. Flash is two programs in one: a computer-programming application and a design/animation application. If you're only interested in the latter, you can learn it very quickly. When I used to teach Flash-animation classes, I was able to train people to use the entire program in a day. It took nine days to train people on AE, and even then the training was far from complete. However, if you want to be a Flash programmer, you need to learn a language called Actionscript. That's a big undertaking.

I second "Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects, 5th Edition, Fifth Edition: Essential and Advanced Techniques" as THE best book on AE. If you'd rather learn via video training, check out totaltraining.com's FANTASTIC video-training series. Lynda.com's videos are pretty good, but totaltraining.com is the gold-standard for AE. They have really good Photoshop videos, too.

I agree that you should learn Photoshop before learning AE.

Creativecow.net has the best AE forums online.

Warning: self link. I co-wrote a book about using AE and Flash together.
posted by grumblebee at 4:48 PM on January 4, 2011

After Effects is linear, non-interactive and prerendered - Flash is none of those things.

This is not true. Flash CAN be linear and non-interactive. In fact, for many people it is. It's even used on the Cartoon Network for making traditional animations. And though this is not its strength, it can render out Quicktime videos and animated GIFS. Even its non-rendered format (SWF) can be imported into many video-editing apps.

Flash confuses people, because it's a traditional-animation tool AND an interactive web-app tool. Its animation capabilities pale compared to AE, but that's also a strength. It's much easier to learn.
posted by grumblebee at 4:52 PM on January 4, 2011

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