Learning to Like After Effects

Adobe After Effects and I have had a bit of a love/hate relationship over the past couple years. I knew it was a program that I wanted to learn how to use to make myself more competitive, but the program didn’t come naturally to me and had a much bigger learning curve than what I had experienced with the other Adobe software products I had learned to use previously.

My first experience with After Effects came in 2020 when I took a class in the Department of Communications that was all about learning how to use the program. I thought it was going to be very similar to Adobe Premiere and that I wouldn’t have that hard of a time learning how to use it, and boy was I wrong. Granted I think part of this was due to the fact that I was learning on Zoom and having to constantly switch back and forth between watching my professor do something on zoom and doing it myself on After Effects all on one computer, so keeping up with him was difficult. Either way, the way that class was taught did not work well for me and I spent that semester struggling to make projects that fit the guidelines set by my professor. 

My computer also struggled with After Effects, and I will admit there were some late nights where I was crying out of frustration because I couldn’t understand why the program wasn’t doing what I wanted or my computer was on the verge of shutting down because it couldn’t handle the program. I left that class feeling like I had no grip on how to use the program and wanting to avoid After Effects at all costs in the future.

Fast forward to a year later when I discovered that the Journalism school also had a class dedicated to learning how to use After Effects. I was a bit apprehensive to give it another shot, but still in the back of my mind I really wanted to learn how to use it to strengthen my skill set. I decided to register for the motion graphics class, and it is a decision I’m very thankful I made. Not only do I feel like I actually am understanding how to use the program, I’m actually proud of what I’m making in this class. Huge shoutout to Terence Oliver for being a very supportive and understanding professor who has made this class such a positive experience for me.

There still are moments where things in After Effects don’t work how I expect them to, as I deal with from time to time with all Adobe software, but it’s much more manageable now and I feel much more comfortable navigating the program. Check out my most recent project that I created with my classmate Layna Hong below! The assignment was to create a new title sequence for a movie or show of our choice, and we chose to do Thor: Ragnarok! We’re both super proud of how this project turned out, and I am super excited to work on my next project in collaboration with the Town of Chapel Hill Communications.

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