Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Introducing: After Effects

April Arevalo
- ITA Tech Instructor -

After Effects is a complex program that has endless possibilities of what can be created. I tend to focus a lot on text, not just what the text means but also the aesthetic feel of the text. This session I wanted the students to become familiar with the navigation and some of the functions of After Effects. The plan for this session was to give the students a basic structure of how to do a space warping text. Once the structure was complete, the students had the freedom to enhance their animation with a variety of options.

Although I felt the structure was confusing at times the students had no trouble in asking for clarification and getting back on track. Because of the complexity of this software, I had to be pretty strict about exact values for many parts of the project. However, the students were clever and had their own interpretations. They successfully came up with different text paths, styles, and compositions. This picture is a sample of a movie title as it enters the time echo effect that causes it to look like it is warping.

Once the structured part of the lesson was complete and the students were introduced to backgrounds with masks and the particle world the creativity really began to flow. Approaching these two elements in more of a broad sense while still highlighting major components really played to a key aspect when using After Effects. Creating effects that are visually engaging in this program calls for experimenting or simply just playing around with the effects. The difficult part is that it requires a lot of computer processing power, so it can be a little slow going to experiment and see the results right away.

As the students dove into adding backgrounds and different particle elements it became clear that the structured part was needed and that this freedom would add another level of complexity to what the students had already made. This student made something simple look very cool and colorful.
Overall the students engagement, curiosity, patience, and creativity really made this session more than I had ever anticipated. Hopefully since this was the first session ever to use the program After Effects when other sessions are offered the students will be excited to learn and create what ever the focus of that session happens to be.

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