After Effects CS6 Visual Effects and Comps

After Effects CS6 Visual Effects and Comps
After Effects CS6 Visual Effects and Compositing Studio Techniques by Mark Christiansen is a great resource for the advanced After Effects user and those wishing to take their skills to the next level. Unlike most books, this one does not take a step-by-step approach but instead concentrates on the reasoning behind the use of the advanced techniques covered in the book, which has been updated for version CS6.

The author begins with a section about the foundations of After EffectsR including a discussion of the user interface and the new Global Performance Cache. The second section covers compositing essentials from color matching to expressions. The third section discusses creativity by exploring several working examples.

In the first few chapters, the author discusses the After Effects workflow and the Timeline panel, the mission control center for After Effects. You then begin to master selections and their use when working with layers and effects. Taking the workflow to the next level, the author discusses how to optimize your projects by using pre-compositions and multiple comps.

The next section covers ways to enhance your projects with color correction using levels, curves and hue/saturation to match the brightness and color of the many elements of the comp. Next are color keying techniques for blue/green screening, rotoscoping for variable mask feathering and how and when to use the Roto brush. The author discusses motion tracking including the new 3D camera tracking and warp stabilizer features in CS6. He also discusses how the camera is an element in the comp.

Now you are ready to learn about more advanced color techniques for mimicking color and light including high bit depth and 3D LUTs. You also learn how to emulate nature's climate and natural environments. Finally, you cover how to create interesting elements such as heat, fire and explosions.

This book includes a DVD containing extra chapters about scripting, JavaScript and special techniques. It also includes example files, HD footage for further study, as well as demos of third-party plugins.

Mark Christiansen has used After Effects since version 2.0 and has written four previous editions of this book. He also has created video training for and others. He has worked on several Hollywood feature and independent films. You can find him at

*Peachpit Press provided a copy to me for review purposes.

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