In all of my more recentAfter Effects tutorials on YouTube I display a difficulty metre at the beginning of the video to let you know what After Effects competency you should have to comfortably follow what is going on.
Since I am still receiving a large number of questions from viewers struggling through tutorials that are way above their skill level, I decided to provide a little bit of a guide to determine which difficulty category you fall into.
Note that these are just my personal guidelines that I use when determining how to rate my own tutorials; they are not universally recognised... yet!
If you have just started using After Effects or have not been using it for a long time, you probably fall into the beginner category. Try to answer all of the following questions to see if you have all of the beginner knowledge covered:
Once you've absorbed all the basics knowledge for After Effects, the real fun can begin and you will start to create some more practical effects. You should probably have used After Effects for a couple of months and be able to answer all of the questions from the beginner section above.
Then try to answer the following questions to see if you have mastered the intermediate level:
Try to answer the questions above and start to create your own visual effects without always just following tutorials. But while you are still learning, check out my intermediate After Effects tutorials to get you moving forward!
Once you have created lots of your own visual effects and know most of what there is to know, you can move on to the advanced tutorials. You should be able to navigate the After Effects interface blindfolded and find most options and settings without hesitation. To move past the advanced user skill level you should be able to easily answer the following questions:
To me, someone who claims to be an expert should know all there is and use this knowledge intrinsically like it was a part of them. Being an expert in After Effects would mean all features available, what they do in detail and which situations they apply to. You should be able to plan out and envision complex visual effects in your head before you even start working on them. And once you start working on them you should not have to refer to anyone else to ask questions or look up specific techniques.
To me, an expert is someone who knows everything. Since I don't believe I am at that level yet - and might never get there - I do not yet have any 'expert' tutorials on my channel.
I am pretty competent at using After Effects and would classify myself as an advanced user. There are still lots of things I want to learn, questions I want to ask and visual effects I want to create. I wonder if I will ever reach an expert level - or if I even want to. Once you classify yourself as a 'know it all', you run the risk of stoping to ask questions, to learn, to innovate and to grow. And I never want that to happen to me so I prefer to keep regarding myself as an 'advanced' user of After Effects.
To me, the fun visual effects and film making in general is that there is always something new: new features, new tools, new techniques, new tricks, new solutions and I love to constantly learn about them and keep evolving as a film maker and visual artist.