A weekend with After Effects

16 Dec 2019 | Culture

A weekend with After Effects

By Eve Cowan

As a self-taught animator it is inevitable a few bad habits have been picked up along the way, so it’s safe to say taking it back to basics wasn’t the worst idea. A few weeks ago, I attended a beginners’ course at Media Training for After Effects. Firstly, the interior of the building was pretty impressive - I’m a sucker for a fairy light and feature wall. I have to say the buffet was also delightful, bottomless orange juice and an endless supply of custard creams – yes please.

Two words: mind blown. I was expecting to know a lot of what we would be taught already, but oh how I was wrong. There are many shortcuts within the program that I would have never discovered otherwise. A highlight was finding out there was a simple way of creating mouth movements to go in time with a voiceover, a couple of clicks and you’re done – whaaat?! Even small things such as keyboard shortcuts can save time in the long run.

Another benefit is learning the correct term to search when I need to work out how to make something move in the way I want it to. This has always been a struggle as, unfortunately, Google can’t read minds – yet.

Our tutor made a valid point that it was best to use what we had learnt over the weekend before embarking on a higher-level course, and that is just what I have done. It’s a good feeling to know it’s not a lack of ability but rather a lack of practical knowledge that creates a wall between what’s in my head and the final product.

As a recent graduate, it was a nice, familiar feeling to be in a Mac-filled room with people willing to learn without the pressure of being ‘any good’. I was in a small group of 8 people which meant there wasn’t a chance one of us would be left behind and made asking questions easy. A lovely atmosphere all around.

So, would I recommend a course such as this one? Yes, absolutely! There’s no shame in admitting you need a bit of help, plus, who wouldn’t want to get better at what they do?

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