Happy Birthday After EffectsI’d just like to celebrate a momentous occasion by saying Happy 20th Birthday After Effects. It may seem odd to wish a software application birthday greetings but After Effects is so much more than just an app. It’s the great team of people who build it, the strong user community that support it, the network of professionals who push it’s boundaries to new directions, the third-party community who provide extra functionality and take risks with user-demands and of course the company who bought it and nourished it, and allowed the original team enough freedom to develop it into the De Facto motion graphics application, bar none.

After Effects has a life of it’s own and she has her own personality. She is intelligent, good-looking, hard-working, courageous, funny, belligerent, stubborn, creative, inventive, reliable, naughty, reckless and smart – who could resist such a lethal combination? Not me, I was smitten as soon as I animated one of her properties! I’ve seldom looked back.

Before After Effects (BAE) I would go from job to job, sticking at them for a maximum of two years before getting bored and moving onto the next thing. I’ve been dishwasher, kitchen assistant, chef, prop-maker, model-maker, airbrush artist, cartoonist, deejay, sound engineer but none of them fulfilled me. After Effects did, it offered me so much creative flexibility I would never be bored again. In fact she still throws up endless ideas and new ways of working each time I delve into her timeline, it’s like After Effects has become an extension of my brain. I lose myself in her, and I love it.

To celebrate this occasion I’m giving away some of my latest animation presets in my newsletter. Check out the movie above to see them in action;

These are used in the image illustrating this article and are made with native After Effects features (no additional software required). I’ll also be sharing some tips and tricks so if you don’t want to lose out, please subscribe here.

I could go on but there are many people who I’d like to thank for my career and inspiration. I can’t name them all but special shout-outs go to the entire After Effects team past and present. In particular I’d like to thank these Adobe people; Dave Simons, Dan Wilk, Todd Kopriva, Steve Forde, Kevin Monahan, Jim Guerard, Michael Coleman, Steve Kilisky, Mansi Grover, Eve Hatton, Rory Duncan, Mark Harrison, Mitch Wood, David Trescot, Al Mooney, Bill Hensler, Bruce Bowmann, Bruce Bullis, Ton Fredricks, Karl Lee Soule, Jason Levine, Johan Jonker, Erica Schisler, Amacker Bullwinkle, Nina Ramos, Ellen Wixted, Michael O’Neil, Jane Birch, Michelle Galina, Simon Hayhurst, Simon Williams, Matthew Gyves, Niels Stevens, Eric McCashey, Robin Charney and Dawn Osbourne. there are countless others – I thank you all.

I’d also like to add a big thanks to all the plug-in developers who helped push the product to where it is today (you know who you are). Also to the script-geniuses (or is that genii?) at AEscripts.com.

And finally a special thanks go to René Hedemyr for the amazing Media-Motion list where I met all my AE-pals and learned all about the application from some of the best in the business including Trish Meyer, Chris Meyer, Brian Maffit and countless others. I love this community. Thank you all.

Happy Keyframing!

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