by Jen Guberman
Last semester, in one of my classes (it focused a lot on video editing and photography), I asked my professor a question about a specific editing technique I wanted to learn how to do. She mentioned a program I had never used before—Adobe After Effects. I smiled and nodded as if I knew what she was talking about, but luckily for me she saw through that and offered to teach me how to use the program. Once a week, she started meeting with me one-on-one to teach me different tips and tricks I could use with After Effects, and we continued our lessons into this semester as well.
We started with some simple tools—adding text, changing the lighting of an image, using the timeline, etc. Then we gradually moved to the next level, generating things such as bubbles, rain, etc.
A few weeks ago, her and I practiced generating fire with a combination of tools, laughing when I accidentally clicked an effect that turned our computer-generated fire into a vortex of red and orange bubbles. A couple weeks ago, she taught me how to do some basic animation (and promised me to add more to it the next week). We took a funny picture of one of my best friends that I screenshotted from Snapchat and used Photoshop and After Effects to make his photo blink, wink, and talk. After editing his face onto a duck (in his photo, he was making a duck face), we recorded ourselves, in goofy voices, saying “happy Friday,” and then edited different mouth shapes over his original one, making the photo change to the different shapes based on the sound he would be making at each point in the phrase. When we finished, we had a ridiculous video of my friend’s face on a duck’s body, saying “happy Friday” in a weird, auto tuned voice. It was the most fun I’ve ever had while learning, and I know that makes me sound like a huge dork!
This past week, my professor taught me how to do more animation, and we drew out and animated a basic cartoon of an alien who cries when a UFO leaves him behind. She took a few hours out of her day and worked alongside me patiently as I clicked around, testing out some of the different techniques she taught me.
One of my favorite things about Gardner-Webb is definitely how much teachers care. Here, I never have to worry about lecture hall type classes where the teacher never takes the time to know my name. One of my classes only has six students, including myself, and the teacher knows all of our quirks, strengths, and weaknesses. The teachers here are so understanding, patient, and passionate. If they notice you’re struggling in their class, they will talk to you about it and genuinely try to arrange to find you a tutor, or even tutor you individually. If they see you have an interest in something, or even a glimmer of potential in a specific field, they won’t hesitate to tell you and help nurture that potential, turning it into something awesome!
Jen Guberman: Sophomore, French Club President, tutor, Student Recruitment Ambassador, Honor’s Program Member, crazy cat lady in training, and lover of all things chocolate.