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Adobe After Effects CS5 Visual Effects and Compositing Studio Techniques Paperback – October 16, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0321719621 ISBN-10: 032171962X Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Studio Techniques
  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Adobe Press; 1 edition (October 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 032171962X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321719621
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #668,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mark Christiansen ( is a visual effects supervisor and creative director with a studio in San Francisco. He has worked with visual effects companies such as ILM, The Orphanage, and Evil Eye Pictures on Hollywood feature and independent films, and has served as a director, producer, designer, and compositor/animator on commercials, music videos, live events, and television documentary productions. His work has appeared in films such as Avatar, The Day After Tomorrow, Pirates of the Caribbean 3, and films by Robert Rodriguez. Mark has done work directly for the Adobe After Effects development and marketing teams, is a founder at, and has taught courses at and Academy of Art University. He has been a guest host of popular podcasts such as 'The VFX Show' and has written all editions of Adobe After Effects Visual Effects and Compositing Studio Techniques and coauthored After Effects 5.5 Magic.

Customer Reviews

The book has a lot of depth to it but is presented in an easy to read style.
This book is intended for those that have an understanding of AE and want to add an edge to their projects that will help them stand out of the pack.
How ultra useful this book is for anyone who wants to explore visual effects in AE!

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I first became interested in After Effects as a result of reading Stu Maschwitz's The DV Rebel's Guide. When I actually started learning the program, I became fascinated for a while with its abilities to create "cool" looking animations. Ultimately, though, I wanted to learn it in order to put finishing touches on video projects, to make them look as good as they possibly could. That's really what this guide is about - learning how to become an effective power user of After Effects for video postproduction work. It's no accident that Stu Maschwitz wrote the preface to this guide - and that he and Mark Christiansen worked together at the Orphanage visual effects studio. There's lots of advice on a wide range of subtle issues, many of which I'd never faced before and had to just catalogue as "things to be aware I might need to know when I face them" - but where I found the book to be most helpful for someone (like me) moving into an intermediate level of competence with AE is in his extremely helpful and detailed advice on masking, tracking and keying. Reading this book (and working along on the included illustrative video files) is not like reading an encyclopedic textbook - it's like getting sage advice on a range of related topics from a master in his field, an insider's look at what's possible with the versatile set of tools available in After Effects, and insight in how to tweak those tools to get from them everything they can give.

I think it's helpful to think of AE as having two major capabilities: it is a motion graphics generator, and a visual effects compositor.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Torres on November 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
If you're looking for a crash course in compositing within Adobe After Effects, thanks to the revisions, this book is now the best one stop solution for compositing.

Prior editions required a working knowledge of After Effects. This edition assumes you know little.

I bought this book despite owning prior editions. I have not upgraded After Effects from CS4. So why buy? For one, the author has taught for a few years, so he's more aware of what potential buyers DON'T know about After Effects and compositing.

That means there writing is less terse than the CS4 edition of this book. It's more inviting. More details and explanations. More illustrations for concepts. And revised chapters.

The author has rewritten and expanded on the green screen section, which is really why I bought this book.

The DVD comes with new video material. I only wish it came with a PDF copy of the text for portability.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 5, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am finding this book incredibly helpful in my journey to not only understanding the basics of After Effects CS5 but, more importantly understanding the underlying logic of After Effects -- all essential to making it After Effects work as a video art form.

While Mark mentions in the book's intro that this is not a book for beginners, I am a relative newcomer and I am finding the book helpful and in fact indispensable. First of all his initial Section does indeed cover the working foundations of After Effects in a way that both advanced and, newcomers such as myself, can easily understand. In addition sprinkled on almost every single pages are tips that beginners (and advanced users) will find essential and time saving, and thus creative enhancing.

Importantly, Mark's writing style is enjoyable and entertaining and is making my journey into the magic of After Effects something that I am looking forward to.

I was one of the first persons ordering this book from Amazon and am still digging through it. It's quite an adventure, and I recommend this book for those who want to know more than just the basics of the program.

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ralphyua on March 9, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading some of the other reviews on this site, I decided to purchase this book because I wanted a more in depth look and explanation of After Effects CS5 along with a guide to better techniques. The book does a good job going over some of the simpler effects and provides some solid methods in tackling different situations one might encounter. However, I found the actual descriptions of the procedures to be very lacking. A perfect example is in the section detailing the mocha 2 application that now comes with CS5. There is about six and a half pages which talk about it, but mocha really needs a chapter to truly show you the power of the program. I ended up having to go to the mocha website in order to achieve a thorough understanding of its tracking abilities. Time and time again I ran into the same problem going through this book. Complex techniques and methods are sometimes explained well but often glossed over leaving the reader scratching his or her head. I found myself constantly going to the After Effects Guide and other websites for better descriptions on the topics being talked about. I understand the gist of most of the subjects. However, I bought this book to learn the details on how to get certain results, and the author is not big on step by step procedures. To simply say that this book is not for beginners is no excuse for unclear and confusing text. I find it much more useful doing the tutorials from Creative Cow and Video Copilot which are free to the user and much easier to understand. I realize part of the limitations of a book is that it is harder to teach with than using a visual medium.Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews

More About the Author

These books reflect a passion for helping people create images and films that resonate emotionally by feeling real. I've worked on films, worked with filmmakers, taught artists and helped design and market software intended for filmmakers. After Effects has been a channel in which I've been comfortable thinking creatively and solving visual puzzles since I started with the software way back when.