It's true that I really do not like the AE interface, but I'm aware of its power. The real obstacle for me is time-needs-priorities. I sort of manipulate AE at a very based level but going deeper would be entering in more serious learning (because again, those are not dev raws or calibrate printers...) and I have not enough time at the moment.
Honestly, those are the kind of software where its all or nothing. I've seen some real after-effects artists, gurus and at such a level, all my respect. They can create anything they want and master the renders. But on the average, there is an impressive amount of kitsch productions based on "cheaperies" FX and truly it's more hilarious than anything else. The problem with those softwares is that to really extract artistically at a high-end level you need a tremendous amount of hours and commitment, not only good ideas and passion. There is no middle term, or you are good at it or you're on the kitsh and cheap (hey...without intention it sounds like fish and ship).
And to do only the kitscheries we already need good skills with the software.
but to be really good at it, it's important to see if the learning curve involved matches with one's situation and priorities. I'm too aware of what's behind the stage to start a new learning "just for the fun of it". That's why I don't dig further into it.
But I have nothing against AE except the interface.