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Crafting custom shapes and masks

From: After Effects CS6 Essential Training

Video: Crafting custom shapes and masks

Now in this video we're going to take what we've learned about creating masks on layer solids and creating shape layers, and just sort of continue building by creating some complex masks and custom shape layers using the Pen tool. So to get started, let's look at our scene. On the left, we have the kinetECO logo with this neat sun effect in the upper left. Now on the right we have our yellow solid with a mask. Now what we're going to do is bring the sun into the corner of this area, and we'll do that by using more than one mask on this layer solid.

Crafting custom shapes and masks

Now in this video we're going to take what we've learned about creating masks on layer solids and creating shape layers, and just sort of continue building by creating some complex masks and custom shape layers using the Pen tool. So to get started, let's look at our scene. On the left, we have the kinetECO logo with this neat sun effect in the upper left. Now on the right we have our yellow solid with a mask. Now what we're going to do is bring the sun into the corner of this area, and we'll do that by using more than one mask on this layer solid.

Go up the Rectangle tool and click and hold until you get to the Ellipse tool. Now I want to draw an ellipse in the upper left corner of our yellow solid. So if you click and drag, we can start creating an ellipse. Now after you start dragging, hold down Shift and that will keep that shape in proper proportion. As I'm overlapping these two shapes, I'm running into a problem. Well the first one is the fact that they're both filled with the exact same color, but the second one is the fact that they literally are both the same colors in terms of the mask.

What we need to do is make Mask 2 a little more high contrast from Mask 1 and to do that, if you go on the timeline, next to the word Mask 2 there's a yellow square. Go ahead and click on that, and change that yellow square to a blue square. Now when we click OK, having chosen blue, you can see we have a blue square and our path is now blue. Now whenever you have a path like this that is already selected, you can press V to grab your Selection tool and click on anyone of these vertices to move the path around.

I'm just trying to recreate this sort of sun layer over here, so I'll just use the previous one as a reference, and now it's time to go down to Layer 1, and see how we can adjust the interaction between these two masks. If you click on Mask 1 and click on Mask 2, you'll notice to the right we have pulldowns. If you click on the pulldown, you'll see we have options. If I chose None for Mask 2, notice there's nothing going on within this mask.

Now it's hard to tell whether or not it's doing anything with this layer above, because I have Add set for Mask 1. So if I say None for Mask 1 now all of a sudden you can see the entire layer solid. So let's change both of those back to Add and I want you to go to Mask 2 under the pulldown and choose Subtract and see what happens. If you are at all confused, it's easy to think of masks in terms of a math equation. So you could say Mask 1 added to the scene and Mask 2 is subtracted from the scene.

That way you can see the final answer is going to be Mask 1 minus Mask 2. If you click on the Mask 2 pulldown again and change it from Subtract to Intersect, sure enough Mask 1 gets added to the scene and Mask 2 will intersect with that, meaning anywhere it's intersecting, it's going to fill it in. So now that you understand how multiple masks on the same layers work, let's look at creating a custom shape using the Pen tool.

In order to make sure that I'm not adding yet another mask to Layer 1, let's collapse Layer 1 and just click anywhere off of the layer in the timeline. Now I want to add kind of some squiggly lines to appear around the outer side of the sun. So to do that let's grab the Pen tool up in our Tool panel, and look to the right for the different options for the Pen tool. The first thing I want you to pay attention to is all the way over to the right. That's the RotoBezier Option.

If yours is selected, I want you to deselect that. Basically, that gives a different set of controls to your Pen tool that are formatted for rotoscoping, which we're not going to get into. So just make sure that this is deselected, and then on the Fill option here, hold down the Alt key on the PC or Option on the Mac and click not once, not twice, but three times, till you cycle through and get No Fill. Now the Stroke I want to leave on there, but instead of it being 2 pixels, let's click on the number and change it to 6.

Now we've got our Pen tool ready to draw. I'm going to start maybe down here at this kind of 45-degree angle. Click and release to make the first point. Move your Pen tool off to the side and click and drag for your second point. When you click and drag, you'll get the Bezier handles. So let's move back up here and click and drag to make another point. And we'll go back here, click and drag, and now you can see I've kind of got this wavy shape.

It's not quite exactly what I was looking for, but I want to show you how we can tweak this. If you move your Pen tool back over anyone of these control vertices, you can click on one and then move it. I can click on the first one and then move it, so that's one way to move your vertices. If you can click on any of the handles, notice they're tied to the previous handle. Well if you hold down Option before you click on the handle, you'll get the Convert Vertex tool which will allow you to break the handle, so you could actually get a custom break over the Control Vertex.

So I'll just Command+Z to undo that last piece. All right, let's deselect all of our layers and look at what we've got. As you can see, we have a custom shape we created with compound masks, that's two masks on one layer solid, and we have a neat wiggly line we created using the Pen tool, creating a custom shape layer. So I hope you can see how flexible After Effects is between using compound masks and creating custom shapes with the Pen tool.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for After Effects CS6 Essential Training
After Effects CS6 Essential Training

78 video lessons · 54994 viewers

Ian Robinson
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 8s
    1. What is After Effects?
      1m 8s
  2. 2m 53s
    1. Welcome
      1m 40s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 13s
  3. 1h 8m
    1. The six foundations of AE
      5m 3s
    2. Introducing the interface and the workspace
      7m 51s
    3. Understanding compositions
      8m 48s
    4. Getting comfortable with layers
      7m 33s
    5. Getting started with animation and keyframes
      8m 30s
    6. Understanding effects
      3m 26s
    7. Moving in 3D space
      7m 41s
    8. Rendering your first animation
      8m 20s
    9. Specifying preferences and cache settings
      5m 44s
    10. Staying organized
      5m 15s
  4. 38m 6s
    1. Creating compositions
      7m 19s
    2. Importing footage and compositions
      7m 54s
    3. Preparing compositions for animation
      8m 7s
    4. Introducing renderers
      3m 15s
    5. Understanding precomposing
      7m 16s
    6. Relinking missing footage
      4m 15s
  5. 59m 58s
    1. Defining layers
      6m 23s
    2. Creating type
      5m 58s
    3. Creating layer solids and shapes with masks
      7m 55s
    4. Building shape layers
      6m 17s
    5. Understanding switches and blend modes
      8m 26s
    6. Crafting custom shapes and masks
      6m 18s
    7. Creating variable-width feathered masks
      5m 1s
    8. Rotoscoping with the Roto Brush
      8m 20s
    9. Refining with the Roto Brush
      5m 20s
  6. 1h 8m
    1. Understanding keyframes
      6m 1s
    2. Adding and adjusting keyframes
      9m 54s
    3. Interpolating keyframes
      8m 5s
    4. Adjusting keyframes in the Graph Editor
      7m 17s
    5. Understanding positional keyframes
      7m 0s
    6. Controlling animation with parenting and the pick whip
      9m 57s
    7. Understanding animation paths
      6m 27s
    8. Timing to audio
      4m 41s
    9. Trimming and sliding edits
      5m 31s
    10. Swapping images
      4m 1s
  7. 29m 7s
    1. Layering multiple effects
      9m 13s
    2. Generating graphic effects with adjustment layers
      7m 28s
    3. Building backgrounds with effects
      6m 50s
    4. Creating animated strokes
      5m 36s
  8. 40m 15s
    1. Introducing cameras
      10m 3s
    2. Working with 3D layers
      6m 37s
    3. Positioning layers
      6m 13s
    4. Adding lights and working with Material Options
      9m 21s
    5. Using 3D precompositions
      2m 5s
    6. Adjusting depth of field
      5m 56s
  9. 28m 31s
    1. Caching and prerendering
      6m 33s
    2. Understanding the alpha channels
      5m 18s
    3. Using the Render Queue
      4m 34s
    4. Rendering with Adobe Media Encoder
      7m 15s
    5. Archiving finished projects
      4m 51s
  10. 44m 27s
    1. Creating type animators
      12m 16s
    2. Animating type in 3D space
      6m 35s
    3. Adding and animating type on a path
      8m 45s
    4. Composing 3D type
      8m 41s
    5. Animating shape layers
      8m 10s
  11. 32m 45s
    1. Creating stylized video
      6m 47s
    2. Retiming video footage
      9m 31s
    3. Retouching with the Rubber Stamp tool
      10m 19s
    4. Smoothing shaky camera footage
      6m 8s
  12. 14m 19s
    1. Understanding keying
      3m 19s
    2. Creating a garbage mask
      4m 27s
    3. Getting started with Keylight
      6m 33s
  13. 15m 56s
    1. Importing Photoshop documents
      6m 11s
    2. Importing Illustrator files
      4m 24s
    3. Working With Premiere Pro projects
      5m 21s
  14. 1h 15m
    1. Adjusting ray-tracing quality
      8m 19s
    2. Tracking footage
      8m 15s
    3. Extruding shapes
      8m 39s
    4. Bending layers
      8m 38s
    5. Adjusting ray-traced lighting and materials
      9m 22s
    6. Adding environment maps
      4m 58s
    7. Beginning compositing
      8m 52s
    8. Creating render passes
      10m 17s
    9. Building a final composite
      8m 14s
  15. 1m 8s
    1. What's next
      1m 8s

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