Every page is in color and is filled with tips, notes, warnings, and screenshots. The format is clearly not boilerplate--there is no wasted space, yet the book manages to strike a balance between being information-packed, easy-to-read, and enjoyable to look at. The only downside of this book is that it doesn't have a spiral or lie-flat binding.
Nine sections break down the features of After Effects in a logical manner, starting with basic animation and key framing, and on to layers, masks, mattes, effects, and rendering. Part 6's four chapters explain using After Effects with its sister applications, Photoshop and Illustrator, and Part 7 covers audio--an important but rarely discussed aspect of any presentation. Part 9 features a wide array of technical discussions, including field rendering and interlacing, 3:2 pull-down, working at film-resolution and widescreen sizes, prerendering, and using proxy files.
The CD-ROM gives 22 tutorials and includes project files. These lessons range from the basic ("Getting Animated" for After Effects beginners) to what falls into the "Oh, wow, I would never have thought of that!" category (a Matrix title-sequence look-alike). The CD-ROM also includes all the projects and source files cited in each chapter, plus tech tips covering 12 difficult and common technical areas--including alpha channels, the aspect ratio, and the After Effects rendering pipeline.
An artisan at the top of his or her craft often takes on the task of teaching others. Those working in the fields of animation, effects, motion graphics, and digital media are lucky that authors Trish and Chris Meyer are living by this rule. --Mike Caputo
"I cant think of anyone more qualified to show you how to get the most out of After Effects than Trish and Chris Meyer." -- Steve Kilisky, Senior Product Manager, After Effects, Adobe Systems Inc.