Hi there - without After Effects, Adobe Media Encoder and Photoshop to hand during rehearsals and programming I would struggle. I create the majority of my content for my shows in After Effects and I still use it every single time when I am on site. I am one of those people who runs shows from Production and it serves me well. And any Watchout operators must have a good grasp of these 3 packages for me to consider hiring them.
So typical usage for After Effects for me is text animations with alpha channels and creating loopable animations. A lot of my work is awards shows and the way I approach it is to create a sequence in AE then render the scene out in to usable chunks and reassemble in Watchout. So from my scene I would want :
1. A video file that establishes the scene.
2. A loopable version of that video.
3. Text animation with alpha channel I can reveal when required for nominees/winner.
Using free running and looping cues and auxiliary timelies I can easily create something interesting. Typically I have an 8 to 10 second Video in. An 8 to 10 second video loop .And a handful of small text animations.
After Effects is also useful for managing files easily and visually.Pixel Aspect Ratio, framerate, forcing to progressive, etc are all easily managed in AE. When I change things like framerate and PAR I like to Ram Preview in AE before committing to render so AE is my preferred way. Rendering from AE is fine in my experience but I still use AME to encode so as to free up AE.
Typical uses of Adobe Media encoder are encoding late delivered files. Client turns up with a handful of files for the show and I use AME to strip audio out and encode to my preferred codec. Also use it to render edited AE projects in the background while I continue working in AE.
Photoshop useful for removing backgrounds from logos that dont have an alpha channel, converting colourspace to RGB, and a quick text insert if like me you find the Watchout text engine less user friendly. Photoshop is also invaluable for creating a standard size for say a logo insert that will use different logos. Much easier than resizing in Watchout. For example create a project to required size then arrange all the logos you have in that project on separate layers. Then just export layers as files using the script in the File menu. Place one of these files in Watchout then copy and paste it with the other layers to get consistency in size and position easily and quickly.
Without these tools I have no idea how I would create a show. For me they are all as essential as the other. And to be flexible and adaptable on site any Watchout operators should seriously consider getting to grips with them.