Why After Effects?
A common question for those used to Premiere is why use After Effects? After all you can layer up to 99 video tracks in Premiere, do chromakey, lumakey etc.. Why learn a new program?
After Effects is intended to be used for special sequences - a title sequence or DVD intro for example. It is not an editing program - that is Premiere’s job. You can use Premiere to select the portions of clips that you want to mix in After Effects. Just make a rough cut in Premiere, then open the project in After Effects.
After Effects makes better quality effects than Premiere. The rendering of effects is simply better - titles roll smoothly up the screen no matter what the speed - the chromakey is better, does better edges, the slow motion is superior, and you have options for frame blending and motion blur.
You have much more control over your effects than with Premiere: you can set motion paths to accelerate and decelerate through each keyframe giving you much more realistic movement. With Premiere this kind of superior quality effect is only achievable using plug-ins like Boris or the Matrox RT effects.
Keyframing is easy and it is very simple to copy keyframes between clips. And everything can be keyframed.
For text you can keyframe the point size so that no matter how large the words are on screen the edge is always smooth. You can keyframe movement, rotation and transparency all very easily. With the Production pack you can even keyframe the speed of the clip making it speed up and slow down.
At first After Effects may look complicated. In fact, after you learn some of the basics it gets easy. You apply effects to clips and control them all in the same way.
Real Time Previews
The main preview window shows you all the changes you make as you make them. After Effects has a sophisticated RAM PREVIEW function. Essentially it makes up your composition in RAM, rather than to disk and plays it straight away on screen. If it can’t cope with the complexity of the effects it drops the quality so that it will always at the right speed. Not real time in the DV Storm or RT.X100 sense of the word but it does mean you can see ALL of the effects on offer without performing a proper render.
Normally in After Effects you do not have any output to TV - everything is on your PC screen. Some cards, like the Matrox and Canopus range, have a WYSISYG plug in - this effectively allows you to see the contents of the preview screen on the TV attached to the card.
Lots Of Effects
There are loads of filters and effects available and you may find that you never use some of them, or you may find so many options daunting. It is well worth investing not just in the software but a good training guide - aDVC After Effects Introduction Course or even simply a good manual - there is a very easy to follow book available,