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Action Essentials 2
  • As a director, I'm sick on waiting months for some VFX artist to do my effects for my films; gunshots, explosions etc it would save time and money if I could learn how to do my own after effects. So I was looking around the Internet when I found this,

    http://www.videocopilot.net/products/action2/

    I watch some examples and have watched the tuts but I noticed its like 3 years old... So I have some questions,

    Is it easy I use for someone like me with no after effects experience ( but is willing to learn)

    Is it worth the $250?

    And is there anything that is more recent and is there a AE 3 I should wait for?

    Cheers Aaron

  • 10 Replies sorted by
  • I've got both 1+2 and most of the other videocopilot stuff. I think it's a great great resource, if you really need it. My advice and tip though, is not to think backwards, meaning that you should try not to master a specific vfx technique like a muzzle flash or a explosion for instance, and then try to stick it in a film just cause it looks cool or adds production value. If you have a script that really demands a specific shot that needs vfx and the story can't unfold properly without it, then by all means teach yourself and use tutorials to your advantage. The reason I'm quite precocious is cause the amount of times I've seen random short films where I'm like - haha- loser action essentials 2!, or I can even point to specific tutorial, is extremely worrying. Too many "Kramer Clones" out there that don't even take the time to differentiate even slightly or make it less obvious.
    Personally, I'm extremely extremely extremely grateful to Kramer because he first got me into AE with his enthusiasm and skill, and slowly over the months and years, I've managed to teach myself AE and advance certain methods that I can apply in different scenarios and not just to make copycat videos. But to be honest, it does take a big investment in time and determination as you will be dealing with frustration and anger a lot! But if you do persist, you will have another great skill in your bag.
  • Thanks for the advice!
  • @Azza_act
    I had the good fortune to sit down with a top Hollywood VFX guy. First off, consider Nuke over AE, that's where the excitement is right now. Main point, the VFX guy's key advice that he kept repeating, is "Don't use any VFX unless it's absolutely necessary". This is kinda what stefanos is saying as well. Don't get seduced by the powerful softwares out there. Yes they're sexy, but like a beautiful chick, she can ruin your movie before you know what happened.

  • Agreed less is more
    Think of it this way which film had a more beleivable world

    Empire strikes back
    or
    Attack of the clones

    ;-)
  • If you are the type of guy that never sleeps and if you don't have a family, go and do it all your self. Ae is an issential tool that is never to late to lern (atleast you than can tell why it has taken the vfx guy so long to come up with something). As for the videocopilot stuff, its verry good quality but kind a like Stefanos said, Kramer is the "world After effects tutor" and your vfx will look like The stuff kids are posting on Youtube every other hour ... Clients can't tell the difference though. Its rediculous how many ae freelacers have tutorial stuff in their reel. Some don't even care to change colors ...
  • Action Essentials is invaluable when you need to composite elements into your shots and don't have the time or budget to go out and shoot something specific. The clip elements, like the tutorials will look more familiar (and lame to those in the know) if you simply use them out of the box. However, if you think about them as elements to include in your shots, they won't draw a lot of notice. For example, I'm using several elements in various shots of my current series to fatten up things we shot practically. It just adds more realism to the effects and used this way won't scream VCP.

    I've recommended Video Co-Pilot to a number of people as one of the best (free) ways to learn After Effects. It can be a great foundation for learning the program as long as you don't just copy the tutorials out of the box. Other good resources are Aharon Rabinowitz on Creative Cow and Red Giant, and Harry Frank at Gray Machine.
  • A good rule of thumb that applies to most things: Just because you can doesn't always mean you should.
  • Thanks guys for the heads up.
  • Nuke is great if you're going to try to get a VFX job and have an extra $5000 to spend. If you're an indie filmmaker, look at AE ($995) or some of the cheaper apps. (If you're on Mac, look at Motion 5, which is only $50.)

    A good way to learn After Effects is to take the free "basics" course on VideoCoPilot.net. Take a glance at it before you buy, and see how you feel about the learning curve. Oh, and don't forget you can download a working 30-day Demo of AE for free.
  • Yeah, Nuke is overkill for someone just learning and doing their own titles and effects.