Happy Birthday, AE Freemart! A look back at the last 18 years…

Happy Birthday, AE Freemart!

I was getting congratulations on my work anniversary at LinkedIn and was confused until someone mentioned AE Freemart. I almost let the birthday slip by! AE Freemart is now old enough to vote and join the Army! Happy Birthday, AE Freemart!

AE Freemart was started by me with the help of content contributions from After Effects artist Roland Kahlenberg. Toolfarm acquired the site and me in 2003, just as big changes were happening at Toolfarm. Here’s a look back at some of the designs and old news from over the last 18 years.

The content available on the current site goes back to 2006, which is 12 years. I’m sure there are a lot of dead links and missing videos that are living in oblivion, but I leave the content up for posterity. I do have some older content on a drive somewhere but I’m not about to add it now.

AE Freemart February 2001

In the beginning, I coded the site by hand. I am not a programmer and was self taught. Here’s a screenshot from February 2001, and I was an affiliate with Toolfarm. I can’t imagine we were giving away Creating Motion Graphics but apparently we did! The AE Freemart has gone through A TON of redesigns over the years. This is not even all of them, just the most interesting. I’ll skip the minimalist designs because they were bland.

And this is right before I got married to Husband 1.0 and became Yamazaki! It’s in the screenshot!

AE Freemart Feb 2001 - Happy Birthday, AE Freemart!

AE Freemart June 2004

. Some of the characters are coming up funny on this one and the main ad is missing, but it was for Cinema 4D. I don’t really care for this look but I know (blah!) I had moved things over to Blogger at this point. A bit of a blast from the past with GridIron Software and Support Farm, a tech support service that users could contact for help. It was a great idea but didn’t get it’s legs.

AE Freemart June 2004 - Happy Birthday, AE Freemart!

AE Freemart November 2007

I like the colors on this one quite a bit more and Harry Frank was helping with content at this point. We were still using Blogger. It looks like Lightroom was brnad new. What’s funny is that this is pulling info from our current sight in the right column.

AE Freemart November 2007 - Happy Birthday, AE Freemart!

AE Freemart November 2010

Another Site redesign, and a bit dark. I think this was still Blogger but this page scrolls forever! It looks like Aharon Rabinowitz had a nice freebie then and Toolfarm was fully active on Twitter. Flash Player required. Zoiks! This may have been on WordPress.

AE Freemart Nov 2010 - Happy Birthday, AE Freemart!

Video Copilot August 2012

I have to say, I like this look. It’s “futuristic” in a cheesy way. Element 3D… now that was a big deal and still is really popular! I went to California and visited Video Copilot and talked with the staff. We did an interview for Toolfarm. Below the screenshot is the video interview with Video Copilot.

Also notice the Ad for the Toolfarm Music Store. That was fun while it lasted!

Video Copilot Aug 2012 - Happy Birthday, AE Freemart!

Interview with Video Copilot on Element Launch Day with Michele Yamazaki of Toolfarm

AE Freemart June 2016

There were a few other designs between 2013 and 2016 but it was a very blah phase for the AE Freemart. We’re now fully on WordPress and using WordPress templates. I figure that most people are coming for the information, not for the design, so the focus has been more on easy navigation and readability. Boring, but important.

AE Freemart June 2016 - Happy Birthday, AE Freemart!

So, Again, Happy Birthday, AE Freemart!

After this, it became what you see now, which you may see a screen shot of for the AE Freemart’s 21st, when it has it’s first beer 🙂

Anyway, thanks to all of the contributors over the years and to the readers! It’s been a fun 18 years.