Ladies and Gentlemen: New Edition!

After Effects CS4 Visual Effects and Compositing Studio Techniques

Cool it now, people, but soon After Effects CS4 Visual Effects and Compositing Studio Techniques will be on its way from the printer to warehouses and then out to the world. The title is certainly a mouthful: it went double-wide to make it easy for the casual searcher to find it when looking for an intermediate/advanced, practical book about compositing a realistic or fantastic shot. Admittedly designers have also benefited from this book; why, even Ron Brinkmann now includes “motion graphics” in his subtitle.

The main question among readers of this blog is likely, “What’s new?” Or more specifically, “I own version X of the book; do I really need to upgrade?” Version CS4, the fourth edition, brings:

• a brand new Expressions chapter written by the master of expressions himself, Dan Ebberts. This includes many new examples presented in an order which will make sense even to the expressions-phobic, but will also cater to veterans. Dan worked hard to pack a lot into a single chapter.
• a JavaScript for After Effects PDF guide (also from Dan) which fills in many gaps where Adobe’s own documentation advises you to use a third-party text (all of which are more focused on JavaScript for the web). Finally, a third-party JavaScript more info

guide tailored to After Effects.
• a Scripting PDF appendix (chapter really) by Jeff Almasol, master of all things scripting and member of the After Effects development team. Scripting is the gnarliest, most technical area of After Effects and yet Jeff is able to describe it in a clear and friendly manner, with examples which gradually increase from basic to more complex.
• exclusive scripts designed to do previously tricky setups described in the book, including light wrap and camera mapping, also courtesy Jeff Almasol.
• a radically revamped Section I, more clear and concise than in previous editions. This is an intermediate/advanced book, but I felt I was unnecessarily losing more novice readers with language and an approach that was not as approachable as it could be.
• new examples and refinements throughout, including clearer and more concise methodology for the fundamentals: keying, roto/paint, color, and most of all, tracking (now that MochaAE is included with After Effects)
• new outside contributions including a light saber scene and related info from Ryan vs. Dorkman, courtesy Michael Scott, a.k.a. Dorkman
• more HD examples on the disc

So while I agree with the assessment of many folks that version CS4 does not include many huge, game-changing features that render the information in a CS3 book obsolete, I took the opportunity to improve the book itself.

I certainly hope you like it.

11 December 2008 | after effects | Comments

8 Responses to “Ladies and Gentlemen: New Edition!”

  1. 1 Anthony Torres 16 December 2008 @ 6:05 pm

    Congratulations on the new edition! I placed my order via Barnes & Noble just now. They promise 3 day delivery, so we’ll see if it arrives on Friday or Monday.

    Will a PDF of the book become available? I found a copy of AEST7 as a CHM file on a file sharing site. Though I already owned the print edition, the digital copy is invaluable as a reference on my harddrive. The CHM file removes all the printer limitations. I can zoom into images and text, it hyperlinks, and well… I was impressed by it’s usefulness and disappointed that wasn’t available outside of piracy.

    For reference, Final Cut Pro 6 APTS has a peachpit.com online edition “free” with purchase. There’s an older edition of Deke McClelland (sp?) book on Illus or Photoshop that came with a PDF on the CDRom.

    Please share your thoughts, and consider making a digital copy available to folks who can verify print purchase.
    Sincerely, Anthony Torres

  2. 2 mc 16 December 2008 @ 11:17 pm

    Thanks Anthony! I believe a PDF version is available via Safari, the Peachpit online service. I agree – I like that it’s searchable. It’s not my choice, although there’s a deal where you can get both – expensive though!

  3. 3 Anthony Torres 1 January 2009 @ 11:48 am

    Happy New Year! I’m working through the first portion of the book. It arrived before xmas via B&N.
    I got hung up on the Templates idea from Chapt 1/Chap 4. I referred back to AEST6.5 and 7, and “got it,” but those were Orphanage AEP’s, not AETs. I missed the template how-to in CS4 so here’s for others (from adobe)
    “To save a copy of a project as a template project, choose File > Save A Copy, and then rename the copy with the filename extension .aet. To use, File>Open Proj. An untitled Project imports with all folders intact.”

    I’m still running CS3, which makes me an idiot because all the projects won’t open. Oh well. AEST7 is when you intro’d projects to follow along. I’ll use those.

    ALSO: The book allows free 45 day access to an online copy via Safari on the final page. You can download PDFs if you sign up for $22/month. It’s supposed to be unlimited books via web browser, but PDFs are on a point system.

    FINALLY, In reviewing AE6.5/7 editions and the current one, I see a glaring difference in the prose itself. The first 2 eds were conversational and humorous. In the newest you really applied the Strunk & White minimal word count for maximum technical info. Which is great. Alas, I see folks stop doing things that work because other’s do the same thing badly. It’s okay to have personality. Alas, you’ve been handed reduced page counts and something had to go. You dropped the magic stuff from the intro, as well as lines that are funny (Ch4: if you live alone, you’re free to not clean up…) Just wanted to say it didn’t seem like filler. It makes the books fun. Please consider that for future editions/revisions. Strunk & White is okay, but brevity is not always better. All the same, congratulations on the book and thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  4. 4 mc 1 January 2009 @ 11:31 pm

    Anthony – this has been food for thought today, and I will be forwarding your comments around to my Peachpit colleagues.

    Good catch on templates – do you use them?

    For the record, I’ve never read Strunk & White, perhaps because the only people I’ve known who recommended it are pedants. I faced the challenge of making a 15% shorter book without cutting whole sections/chapters and decided to copy edit the thing down, move from passive to active voice, etc. In this last edition the editors caught me going too far. You are voicing the clearest compare/contrast I’ve heard and I certainly appreciate your thoughtful read; you can bet this response will be in my head the next time I’m trying to write something to be “tight” and yet “readable” which is pretty much always the challenge.

  5. 5 Anthony Torres 4 January 2009 @ 6:26 pm

    I’m working through the book from the start, and jumping around per topics mentioned in the start.

    Templates seem awesome- anything to streamline set up before you import footage. I’ll be using them.

    Thanks for taking my comments constructively.
    I’ve read nearly every book on After Effects and find your editions to be the most engaging. No one tackled compositing in After Effects in a serious manner before your AE6.5-CS4.

  6. 6 Light Wrap エフェクト | AEP Project 9 May 2009 @ 7:58 am

    [...] <rd LightWrap:スクリプト> このスクリプトは、洋書「Adobe After Effects CS4: Studio Techniques 」に収録されています。 [...]

  7. 7 Cris McRae 25 September 2009 @ 8:25 am

    In your next addition of AE CS4 book PLEASE Acronym P.A.R.T.S or S.T.R.A.P instead of A.P.R.S.T

    When you’re just leaning or trying to remember all the different keyboard combos every little bit of something made easier helps.

    Thanks for the good book

  8. 8 lucia 11 November 2009 @ 8:58 pm

    I bought your Adobe After Effect CS3 Professional Studio Techniques last month, and learned a lot of skills from this book.

    Now, I am reading chapter 10 Expressions, there are some problems when I tried the example of reduce rain from the scene.

    Then I tried to open the companion DVD, but the DVD was broken.
    Could you mail the sample file to me?

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

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