New Feature: Playlist Center! Pick a topic and let our playlists guide the way.

Start learning with our library of video tutorials taught by experts. Get started

After Effects Apprentice 13: Paint, Roto, and Puppet
Illustration by John Hersey

Basic Roto Brush setup


From:

After Effects Apprentice 13: Paint, Roto, and Puppet

with Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer

Video: Basic Roto Brush setup

For the next several movies I'd like to show you how to use the Roto Brush tool, which was introduced in After Effects CS5. Roto Brush is a very special paintbrush that looks for the edges of objects in a layer and separates these elements from each other by creating an alpha channel that basically separates a foreground object on the background around it. If you have access to the Exercise Files, first open Roto Brush 1 Butterfly starter (RB1-Butterfly*starter). This is a really simple application of Roto Brush and I want to start with just to show you some basic concepts.

Watch this entire course now—plus get access to every course in the library. Each course includes high-quality videos taught by expert instructors.

Become a member
please wait ...
After Effects Apprentice 13: Paint, Roto, and Puppet
3h 11m Intermediate Dec 21, 2011 Updated Dec 12, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, Trish and Chris Meyer introduce a series of creative tools inside Adobe After Effects. The centerpiece is Paint, where Trish demonstrates how to use the Brush, Eraser, and Clone Stamp tools to draw on a layer, remove portions of it, or repeat elements around a composition. These tools can be used for artistic purposes as well as to repair problem areas in footage. Chris shows off the Puppet tools for distorting layers, and the incredible Roto Brush, introduced in After Effects CS6, which allows you to separately define foreground and background elements so that you can replace backgrounds and selectively add special effects.

The After Effects Apprentice videos on lynda.com were created by Trish and Chris Meyer and are designed to be used on their own and as a companion to their book After Effects Apprentice. We are honored to host these tutorials in the lynda.com library.

Topics include:
  • Creating, erasing, and animating brush and clone strokes
  • Using Paint to reveal a layer over time
  • Creating animated distortions to flat artwork with the Puppet tools
  • Replacing backgrounds with the Roto Brush
Subjects:
Video Motion Graphics Visual Effects
Software:
After Effects
Authors:
Chris Meyer Trish Meyer

Basic Roto Brush setup

For the next several movies I'd like to show you how to use the Roto Brush tool, which was introduced in After Effects CS5. Roto Brush is a very special paintbrush that looks for the edges of objects in a layer and separates these elements from each other by creating an alpha channel that basically separates a foreground object on the background around it. If you have access to the Exercise Files, first open Roto Brush 1 Butterfly starter (RB1-Butterfly*starter). This is a really simple application of Roto Brush and I want to start with just to show you some basic concepts.

In the scene I have some footage of tulips in the background and a little animation of a butterfly flying across the scene in the foreground that we created in the earlier After Effects Apprentice video lesson. I'll render up a quick RAM preview here, and you'll see that our butterfly wafts in front of the flowers. Well, that's kind of nice. But to be honest, I think it will look more realistic if a butterfly wasn't flying basically below the level of the flowers. You'd expect the butterfly to be above them and therefore it should fly behind these foreground tulips.

I could just duplicate the tulip player and mask it out and put that copy on top to obscure the butterfly, but these tulips are shaking a little bit in the wind. So that means I would have to animate this mask and probably update it every single frame. That would be a lot of work. Well, this is where Roto Brush can help us save you some time. It's not an automatic click-and-you're-done sort of thing, but it can reduce the amount of labor required to pull off a composite like this. First thing I'm going to do is duplicate my Tulips layer.

I need to have a copy of it in front of my butterfly to block out or obscure the butterfly as it goes past. Secondly, I'm going to see what frames the butterfly touches the tulips. There's no point in doing more work than necessary. So I'm going to trim down this duplicate layer to only include the frames we need. I'm going to hold Option on Mac, Alt on Windows, press the left square bracket ( [) to set the in-point for this layer. Then move to where the butterfly is a little bit later. I did some in front of the second tulip as well and it clears it about there. Hold Option or Alt, press right square bracket (] ) and set the outpoint for the layer.

Now when I drag that Tulip player on top, it just covers the area where the butterfly crosses the tulips in question. There's a couple of more set up things you need to do to use Roto Brush. One, you must be at full resolution. You really need to calculate every pixel to get an accurate idea of what Roto Brush is up to. It's also a good idea to be at 100% magnification at the same time. So I'm going to lock that in. Next, just like with the Paint tool work with the Rotor Brush needs to be performed in the Layer panel.

So I'm going to double-click this duplicated layer to open it in the Layer panel. And here is my trimmed segment that I want to use Roto Brush on. Now that we've done this prep work, in the next movie we can actually start using the Roto Brush tool.

There are currently no FAQs about After Effects Apprentice 13: Paint, Roto, and Puppet.

 
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.
Upgrade now


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

join now Upgrade now

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed After Effects Apprentice 13: Paint, Roto, and Puppet.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Notes cannot be added for locked videos.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.