Game Development Reference
BECOMING AN ILLUSIONIST
Welcome to the After Effects Illusionist! In this topic, we're
going to look at every single native effect in After Effects. But this
will not be a duplicate of the After Effects help documentation—
far from it. This topic is not meant to be comprehensive in the lit-
eral sense, meaning that we won't necessarily cover every single
property in every single effect. I think the help documentation
does a good enough job of that. We're instead going to focus on
the purpose of each effect, and also how to use it creatively. I'll
also let you know which effects are a waste of time, and if there
are any substitutes that work better.
In this chapter, we're going to get you the foundation you need
to understand this topic, no matter your skill level. There also
may be some tips and tricks in this chapter that can help you as
you begin to dig a little deeper into the world of effects.
Why This Topic?
I had the idea to create this topic after seeing many After Effects
users (with far more talent and skill in this arena than I have) doing
things manually that could be easily done with the effects that ship
with After Effects. Many times, users of After Effects will go back
to Photoshop, Illustrator, their video editing application, or their
dedicated 3D application to make small changes that could have
been done quickly and just as well with effects in After Effects.
The problem is that there are now 189 native effects. Many of
them are almost completely worthless. Others might seem worth-
less or abstract, leaving users to wonder—“When would I ever use
this?” This topic is my attempt to share with you what I've learned
in my studies of these effects. The exercise fi les on the disc that
accompanies this topic were specifi cally geared to helping you
discover how these effects might help you in your workfl ow.
How This Topic Is Laid Out
In this topic, we're going to examine (among other things)
every native effect in After Effects. We're not going to cover