Before and After Effects

The design world seems big on video and animation these days. Gifs and little videos are everywhere. At design firms, I have noticed a push for designers to learn video editing. 

In my professional experience as a presentation designer, I have been a long-time user of animation and transition features in PowerPoint and Keynote. In design school I learned how to make animated gifs using Photoshop for, say, digital banner ads.

For presentation designers, the recent release of the morph feature and other 3D capabilities in PowerPoint is game changing. More and more I find that PowerPoint is a stable and robust video platform. Heather Ackmann and P-Spice both put on impressive exhibitions of some of the new capabilities at the Presentation Summit in September. Also at #PreSum17, Rick Altman also gave a demo of the more-advanced capabilities of the Camtasia video editing software and put in a good word for ProShow Producer as well. 

The movement toward video, animation, and 3D effects is really exciting, and I think the presentation design industry is still learning how to use the new technologies effectively and for good reason (as well as augmented reality). I can see immediate application in the CPG space and education. Alas, 3D probably won't make that financial statement look better, and too much movement can make an audience sea sick. The question should really always be whether the use of these technologies enhances the presentation's main message, whether to persuade or inform.

I wanted to get in on the fun too, so I recently challenged myself to animate a classic walk sequence using keyframe animation in After Effects with some vectors I made in Illustrator, and was able to come up with this sequence:

TJ_Katopis_Stormtrooper.gif

It’s far from perfect, but I was encouraged enough by these results, and so I took a next step deeper into After Effects with Noble Desktop’s self-taught step by step training course - check out this link for video samples of the projects in the course — including different kinds of TV commercials, promo spots, an opening credit sequence, and other clips that use some sophisticated 3D, lighting, and animation effects. Noble does a good job explaining a vast array of topics in a step-by-step way. It helps to already be comfortable in the Adobe Creative Suite or it might be a bit hard to get your hands around the interface. I was quite blown away by the vastness of the video editing and 3D capabilities, and the number of effects and presets. I would love to experiment more with After Effects, especially using vectors and type. 

 Screenshot of the AE interface for setting 3D lighting controls. The screen at the top middle represents an overhead view of a cone of light hitting the screen, shown at upper right. 

Screenshot of the AE interface for setting 3D lighting controls. The screen at the top middle represents an overhead view of a cone of light hitting the screen, shown at upper right.