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Adobe After Effects CS4 Visual Effects and Compositing Studio Techniques [Paperback]

by Mark Christiansen
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 20, 2008 0321592018 978-0321592019 1
This is the only book in the After Effects market to focus exclusively on the creation of visual effects, and is a one-stop resource for anyone who wants in-depth explanations that demystify the realm of visual effects and how they were created, thanks to veteran author Mark Christiansen's friendly and accessible style. A thoroughly packed, informative read, this masterful guide focuses on explaining the essential concepts, features, and techniques that are key to creating seamless movie-quality visual effects. Users who are comfortable with After Effects will find a helpful review of After Effects fundamentals—managing footage, viewing and editing layers, animating type, and more—so they can learn how to work smarter and more efficiently. Readers of all levels will learn core techniques for effects compositing including color matching, keying, rotoscoping, motion tracking, emulating the camera, and concluding with using expressions in After Effects, written by contributor and expert Dan Ebberts. The final section of the book delves into creative explorations, demonstrating professional effects that readers might want to re-create.

Readers will also find comprehensive coverage of all that's new and makes this version of Adobe’s effects program such a boon to video pros of all stripes: searchable timelines and projects, Photoshop 3D layers import, the Cartoon effect, Imagineer Systems’ Mocha for Adobe After Effects, improved workflow for mobile devices, and more.

Throughout the book, beautiful full-color examples demonstrate what's possible, while the companion DVD offers demos of After Effects CS4, sample footage, and software plug-ins.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mark Christiansen has created visual effects and animations for feature films, network television, computer games, and an array of high technology companies. Recent clients include Adobe Systems Inc., Evil Eye Pictures, The Orphanage, History Channel, and HBO as well as Seagate, Sun, Intel and Medtronic. Feature credits include The Day After Tomorrow, Pirates of the Caribbean 3, and films by Robert Rodriguez. He is the author of the previous editions of Adobe After Effects Professional Studio Techniques.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Adobe Press; 1 edition (December 20, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321592018
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321592019
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #570,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Like so many authors, I reached the point with the first edition of my book where I never, ever thought I would get it done... and I still thought so until about 2 days before I finally stopped working on it. Five editions later, I'm glad I stuck with it that first time - even re-writing a book is hard work, but it has never seemed quite so impossible as that first time.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Learning Tool and an Easy Read June 16, 2009
As a longtime digital artist relatively new to the After Effects arena and Compositing in general, I find this book to be an invaluable learning tool that I'm constantly referencing. It's very well written and manages to integrate both the artistic side and technical side of compositing and After Effects. It's not overly heavy on tutorials, which is nice, because those can be found anywhere online. Instead, the book explains by showing how and why using a certain tool or method is the optimal approach. There's often sidebars that explain the technical reasons as well.

Part of what I like most about the book is the tone of the author, Mark Christiansen. He's got a sharp wit, that's evident in his writing style and I caught myself laughing a few times which I can't say has ever happened to me while reading a book on software/design training. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking to beef up their After Effects skills and more specifically, those who want to learn compositing as an art form.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great intermediate level After Effects book! August 17, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am very very impressed by this book. I'm currently working on a video project for a course I am taking and I have to finish a number of shots with various motion graphics and effects. I'm familiar with After Effects, but certainly no master at it, so I wanted a book that focused on compositing and more advanced effects that the beginners training and books do not cover in sufficient depth. This book has come through for me big time! The thing I love about this book is that it talks about various topics and various approaches and tools within after effects you can use to solve those problems. It even talks about various suggestions for 3rd party plugins, in cases where the basic After Effects tools are lacking. It doesn't hold your hand, telling you what buttons to click, it assumes you know all that, or can figure it out. Topics in the book include keying, color correction, explosions, beam effects, smoke, fire, rotoscoping, and all kinds of other neat things. This one has definitely earned a permanent place on my bookshelf, and new status as my favorite After Effects books (and I have quite a few).
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! January 20, 2009
I also own the CS3 book by the same author.

Highly recommended. Lots of detailed information to be found, both for After Effects and VFX/Compositing in general.

I could probably be categorized as an intermediate user and the book seems to be at the perfect level for me. There are probably better books for an absolute beginner, but everyone else will find a reason to keep it around, even the seasoned pros.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Your must have VFX companion book for AE CS4 February 27, 2009
Mark does it again with his new book for CS4 packing a large amount of his great visual effects knowledge into this new edition. The forward by Stu Maschwitz alone is funny to " Who Brings the Sex" about explaining the " money shots " visual effects artists are expected to produce daily Backing this up the books has some scripting guru's like Jeff Amsol and Dan Ebberts to get your Java/Expression fix. This is definitely the book for the serious compositor using After Effects with real world examples and solutions from a real world visual effects artists/supervisor you can not go wrong with taking your time with this book.

The Chapters I found most helpful cover topics of 32bit HDR compositing and its complex underpinnings , the always tedious Rotoscoping and Paint and the section on Creative Explorations(Light,Climate and Pyro).

Mark also happens to be a professor at where you can get even more of his compositing teachings. A+++ must have for your bookshelf.
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