When the Adobe Developer Connection folks asked me if I would write a short piece about what online resources I thought were best for users of Adobe digital video and audio products, I thought, "Hey, that'll be easy!"—or something less well formed that meant about the same thing. After all, the list of blogs and websites that I read regularly in my job as After Effects documentation lead is a meter long.
Then they dropped the bomb: Pick 10. Or, if you must, pick 20.
Crud. That means that I have to weed out the sites that are only occasionally relevant and the blogs that haven't been updated much lately. I'll start by excluding most of the Flash resources. Yes, Flash and its related services are a huge part of the future (and present!) of digital video, but I'm also pretty sure that other people have those areas covered—and you don't need the After Effects guy telling you about them.
I'm also pretty sure that they didn't want me to just tell you about all the good After Effects resources. So, for an approximately comprehensive list of good and current online After Effects resources, see my blog.
An all-encompassing (or nigh-all-encompassing, anyway) web resource is Adobe Community Help, which is primarily a specialized search engine. This service makes use of the Google Custom Search Engine (CSE) service to narrow the World Wide Web down to the sites that are most relevant to Adobe's customers. A large number of blogs and community sites are included in the search, so you can use this service to search across all relevant resources at once. Adobe Community Help is still in beta, so be sure to use the feedback link to tell us what you think after you've given it a spin.
RTFM. 'nuff said. OK, here it is: Adobe Help Resource Center. You can (and should!) leave comments on the HTML LiveDocs pages.
The Adobe User-to-User Forums are where users ask questions and other users answer them. Because so many of the users on these forums are experts who like to help people, this works out well for all involved. I get the daily digests of all messages from the forums in my field. You can stay abreast of the tools that interest you by using the Subscribe link on each forum's home page.
Not all of the world's experts on digital video and audio hang out on the Adobe User-to-User forums, however. Some of them hang out in places like these:
Toolfarm and Creative COW offer more than just forums for questions, answers, discussions, and socializing. They both include a vast array of blogs, tutorials, articles, and other resources. What the MoGraph forum lacks in these additional resources, it makes up for in attitude and technical expertise. Mostly attitude.
The ProVideo Coalition (PVC) website is a relatively new entry into the field of expert-run websites about digital video and audio. Whereas Toolfarm, Creative COW, and MoGraph are primarily valuable for their forums and tutorials, the PVC specializes more in deep technical articles and a collection of blogs from a small number of luminaries in the digital video, film, and animation industries. Contributors include Chris and Trish Meyer, Mark Christiansen, Frank Capria, Jim Feeley, Adam Wilt, Mark Curtis, and Scott Gentry.
There are a lot of blogs out there about digital video and audio. Some of them are even regularly updated. In no particular order, here are the few that I think do the best job of keeping me up to date on what's happening in the world of digital video and audio:
The Layers Magazine website is a terrific source for tutorials, conceptual information, and inspirational material for motion graphics artists and video professionals. I subscribe to its RSS feed and go through the tutorials as they come into my reader along with my daily flow of blog posts. I especially like it when Steve Holmes and Richard Harrington write articles about After Effects, Photoshop, and Flash.
Normally, the Adobe Developer Connection editors like to end their articles with a section that tells you "where to go from here." Well, I just spent a few pages telling you where to go. So, get on it!