Indispensable for the editor and compositor who uses After Effects
by Sam M. Tannenbaum “Sam”, September 29, 2011 (reviewed on Amazon.com)
Note: I’m a hobbyist who does video editing/production and compositing mostly for fun (very occasionally for work/profit), and this review is written from that angle.
I was REALLY excited when I heard about this book, and it doesn’t disappoint in the least. There are so many third-party plugins available for After Effects (AE) that it can be overwhelming for the hobbyist, for two reasons:
- A lot of them are really expensive, so there’s tension between the temptation to spend the money and the concern that the plugin might be difficult to use/master or might not satisfy the user’s needs
- Some of them have limited training/tutorial material available, or assume professional-level knowledge on the part of the user, so there’s concern for nonprofessionals and hobbyists that a particular plugin might not be easy to utilize or might not fit well into a workflow
What’s so great about this book is that it addresses both of these potential problems. The reader has an opportunity not only to ‘see’ how each featured product operates, but he/she can apply the training to demo/trial versions of many of the products featured (the book actually comes with demos for many of the products, which saves readers the trouble of tracking them all down individually online). I get to take products with available demos for an informed, guided ‘test drive’, which helps me make better purchasing decisions. This also helps me see which ones best meet my needs and best fit into my workflow.
Obviously, with so many third-party products on offer for AE, it’s impossible to either cover the full spectrum, or to comprehensively cover each one. Having said that, author Michele Yamazaki has not only managed to pack an impressive number of products in (basically all of the ‘major players’ in the AE plugin market- Boris, Red Giant, GenArts, SA, DigiEffects… I don’t think she missed any of the big names), but does a good job of giving the reader a really nice understanding of what they do and how they work. In other words, there’s a whole lot here.
The book is arranged according to the major tasks of compositing/editing (color correction, effects, generators, etc.), which is a logical and helpful way to do it. I got a LOT out of the section on color correction, which has always been the most challenging discipline for me to get proficient at. There are margin notes and ‘hot tips’ throughout, and the book is laid out attractively, with high-quality color screenshots in abundance. It’s also well-written and easy to read, and Yamazaki’s passion for the craft is evident.
In summary, this is an essential library addition for the editor/compositor who not only wants to be able to make informed decisions when buying software, but who wants to be able to jump right in to the software he/she buys. The book will help him/her do both, and I recommend it highly.
Plug In Answer Book!
by David “Foxboy” on September 15, 2011 (reviewed on Amazon.com)
If you are into After Effects this is the answer book for almost all it’s plugs. What an amazing way to find out about all the plug options that exist, how they work, and methods for their use. It made me aware of more plug-in’s that I did not even know existed. I will refer back to this manual often. What a great and wonderful tool for artists and users of AE. It couldn’t be better.
A thorough After-Effects plug-ins how to book that tackles various types of software…
by Dennis A. Amith (kndy) on September 5, 2011 (reviewed on Amazon.com)
There is a plethora of plug-ins for After Effects and by utilizing these plug-ins, you can accomplish awesome effects using these third party plug-ins.
But before one can use “Plug-Ins to After Effects” by Michele Yamazaki, its important to note that you MUST at least have the following third-party plug-ins:
- Boris Continuum Complete
- GenArts Sapphire and GenArts Monsters
- Noise Industries FxFactory Pro
- Trapcode Suite
- Red Giant Magic Bullet Suite
- Digieffects Delirium
- Re:Vision Effects Effections Bundle
- Tiffen DFx Digital Filter Suite
- CoreMelt Complete
- The Foundry’s Plug-Ins
- Adobe Pixel Bender Plug-Ins
Michele Yamazaki touches upon the following in each chapter:
CHAPTER 1 – Introduction to Plug-Ins
CHAPTER 2 – Color Correction and Color Effects (ie. using Boris Continuum complete, Red Giant Magic Bullet, Synthetic Aperture Color Finesse and more).
CHAPTER 3 – Effects (Blur, light effects, brushes, cartoon look, TV inspired effects and more)
CHAPTER 4 – Distortions, Warps, Tiling and Time Effects (Push Effect using GenArts Sapphire Distortion, Re:Vision Effects and more).
CHAPTER 5 – Creative Transitions: When a Simple Cut Just Isn’t Enough! (CoreMelt Complete Transitions, Noise Industries FxFactory Transitions, Pixelan Creativeeaste Tranditions, Boris Continuum Complete Wipes and more)
CHAPTER 6 – Generators – Lens Flares, Particle Systems, Backgrounds and Textures
CHAPTER 7 – Invisible and Natural Effects (generating water, rain, atmospheric effects, fire and fireballs)
CHAPTER 8 – Text and Graphic Elements – Text Elements, FxFactory Type plug-ins, lines and paths and more.
CHAPTER 9 – Generating 3D Elements in After Effects – Utilizing Zaxwerks 3D Invigorator, Boris Continuum, mountains, cables and more.
CHAPTER 10 – Working with the 3D Camera – Digieffects Camera Mapper, Trapcode Horizon, Digieffects Snowstorm, Stereoscopic 3D Viewmaster and more.
CHAPTER 11 – Automation and Keyframe Generators (Automated Motion, Keyframes from Audio, Boris Continuum, Dance Club Eye Candy and more).
CHAPTER 12 – Keying and Compositing Greenscreen Footage (Keyers and Tools, Compositing Tools, Matte Cleaners)
CHAPTER 13 – Tracking, Matchmoving, Motion Stabilization and Rotoscoping (Imagineer mocha AE, Boris Continuum and more)
CHAPTER 14 – Fixing Video Problems (Noise and Grain, Lens Distortion/Barrel Distortion, Rolling Shutter and more).
CHAPTER 15 – Reference and Workflow
CHAPTER 16 – More on Plug-Ins: The FAQ
The DVD included with the book comes with the project files, demo versions of the plug-ins, fonts and more.
“Plug-In to After Effects” is a fantastic how-to book with project files for one to learn how to utilize these third-party plug-ins with great efficacy. But of course, this book is not for everyone as it does require you to own the third party software and these plug-ins are quite expensive. The good news is that the included DVD does have demo versions of the plug-ins but the good thing that I enjoyed about the book is that it does give you an idea of what plug-ins can be utilized to accomplish certain effects.
There are so many plug-ins out there but it helps to read from a professional who is familiar with the plug-ins to give you a good idea of how to use them and in some cases, you can tell which plug-ins Yamazaki tends to favor as they are featured quite often throughout the book.
If you are a person who wonders how certain effects are created and want to learn from one of the best After Effect gurus out there, “Plug-Ins to After Effects” is a wonderful resource and reference worth buying!