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 CS6 Essential Training
Illustration by John Hersey

Creating layer solids and shapes with masks


From:

After Effects CS6 Essential Training

with Ian Robinson

Video: Creating layer solids and shapes with masks

Layer solids, also called color layers, are some of the most basic elements you can create within After Effects. And even though they may seem kind of basic, they're one of the most flexible elements you can create within a composition. Now if you are joining me from the previous video, you can see we have the lower third graphic here. I've just taken this entire composition, add a little Drop Shadow to the text, and then I dropped that into a new layer solids comp. Now in here I'm just going to use this as reference so we can create some new shapes to kind of mimic this shape here.
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

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 CS6 Essential Training
8h 41m Beginner May 07, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, author Ian Robinson introduces Adobe After Effects CS6 and the world of animation, effects, and compositing. Chapter 1 introduces the six foundations of After Effects, which include concepts like layers, keyframes, rendering, and moving in 3D space. The rest of the course expands on these ideas, and shows how to build compositions with layers, perform rotoscoping, animate your composition with keyframes, add effects and transitions, and render and export the finished piece. Two real-world example projects demonstrate keying green screen footage and creating an advanced 3D composition with the expanded 3D toolset, an important addition to CS6.

Topics include:
  • Setting up the workspace, important preferences, and the cache
  • Importing footage and comps
  • Relinking missing footage
  • Creating type, shape layers, and masks
  • Rotoscoping with the Roto Brush
  • Adjusting keyframes in the Graph Editor
  • Timing animations to audio
  • Building backgrounds with effects
  • Rendering with the Render Queue and Adobe Media Encoder
  • Animating 3D type
  • Smoothing shaky footage and retouching footage
  • Keying green screen footage
  • Working with 3D: extruding shapes, adding ray-traced lighting, and more
Subject:
Video
Software:
After Effects
Author:
Ian Robinson

Creating layer solids and shapes with masks

Layer solids, also called color layers, are some of the most basic elements you can create within After Effects. And even though they may seem kind of basic, they're one of the most flexible elements you can create within a composition. Now if you are joining me from the previous video, you can see we have the lower third graphic here. I've just taken this entire composition, add a little Drop Shadow to the text, and then I dropped that into a new layer solids comp. Now in here I'm just going to use this as reference so we can create some new shapes to kind of mimic this shape here.

So to get started I want to use a layer solid. To create a layer solid you can go up under the Layer menu and choose New > Solid. Now if you ever go up to the top menus and you don't get this option here, chances are you have Project panel active. You need to have the timeline active that way when you go to create your layer solid, After Effects knows which composition you're going to place it in. So when we click Solid here the Solid Settings will pop up based on whatever solid you created the last time.

So I happen to create a cyan color the last time, yours may be white. Regardless, down here at the bottom you can change the color if you just click in the color well and drag anywhere in this color area here, let's say over towards white, that would work or if you drag over to the right side of the color well, you can see this is more saturated. So let's drag over there and then this bar here with the two arrows, if you click one of those arrows and move down you can choose a different hue.

So I'll choose something relatively green and click OK. Now if we really wanted to mimic something from the graphic, we could click the Eye Dropper and then click directly on, let's say, this yellow orange shape here. The other thing you need to pay attention to with layer solids are their actual dimensions. You can quickly make any layer solid any size. For example, if I wanted a square, I could say make it 200 pixels and I'll press Tab to jump to Height and say 200 Pixels.

Now notice that the Aspect ratio is 1:1, we're using pixels and Square Pixels. So when I click OK, we'll have a square in the middle here. Now most of time when you're working with layer solids what you want to do is make them the size of the composition, especially if you're going to animate a mask on that solid. But before we do that I want to show you why you would probably want to animate the mask as opposed to the solid itself. See, any layer solid you can add a mask to by going up to your Tool panel and either choosing one of the shape options by clicking and holding, or grabbing the Pen tool if you wanted to create the custom shape.

Let's do something rather simple and click and hold on the Rectangle tool until you get down to the Ellipse tool. In here, since we still have Layer 1 selected, when I click and drag just anywhere in here noticed I'm getting that Ellipse. But look what happens if I start dragging off the edge of that solid. The edges of the solid appear. So typically, if I know I'm going to be making a custom shape and I want to use layer masks to create that shape, I won't just use a small solid, I'll make it the comp size.

Now since we've already created this solid, let's make sure the layer solid is selected and go up under Layer and choose Solid Settings. You could also use the keyboard shortcut Shift+Command+Y or Shift+Ctrl+Y on the PC. Now with the new Solid Settings set up, I can say Make Comp Size. When we choose that, it's automatically going to change the solid to the new size of the layer. Now notice when it did that it also changed the size of the mask. Now rather than having to deal with changing where the mask is and figuring out where the solid is, it might be easier just to start over.

So if you ever need to delete a mask off of a layer, go ahead and select the mask. Notice I'm not selecting this group here that says Masks. I'm selecting the actual mask itself, Mask 1. When you click on that in the timeline and press Delete on your keyboard that will delete your mask. Now let's turn off the visibility for this layer solid. In order to create this parallelogram shape, what we need to do is start with something that's relatively close. So if we go back up to our Shape tool and click and hold, instead of choosing Ellipse, let's choose the Rectangle tool.

Instead of dragging anywhere in the canvas, one of the tips I can offer when you're working with layer solids and you're making shapes, you want to start actually in the center of that layer. That way when you click and drag, if you hold down Shift, you'll keep it square in proportions, but if you hold down Command or Ctrl on the PC along with Shift, you can keep it square and scale it in a 1:1 proportion. I'll make it roughly the same size just visually, kind of eyeballing it and I'll go back and grab my Selection tool.

I have all four of these layer masks active. Here let me zoom in here, so you can see it a little better. And I'll actually turn off this lower third background so you can see it over black. And now with all four of the control vertices selected, I can click on the mask and move it. So I'm just going to press Command+Z to Undo and click outside of the mask to deselect. And then in order the get that parallelogram shape, I'll click on one and then hold down Shift and click on another.

Now you can see that these two are selected and these two are not, because if I zoom in again, here you can kind of see the black edge around the not selected points. All right, now let's zoom back out. Now all we have to do is click on this edge and drag. Now as we're dragging, you want to hold down Shift that way it will snap as you're dragging. So unfortunately, I started dragging in one direction too far before I held down Shift, so I'm just going to Command +Z to Undo that, and click and then hold down Shift and drag only to my left, there we go.

Now I've got my parallelogram. And if I wanted to be really precise, I could turn the visibility of the other layer on; press my spacebar and click and drag to move over. And then to quickly select all four points of the mask, if you just click on the mask name in the Layer panel, notice it won't just select all four; you need to deselect it and then click on it and then all four will be selected so we can drag it down here. Now it's important to note, as I'm dragging this down, if we actually go to this pulldown menu next to the mask where it says Add, if you click on that and choose None, and we zoom out in our canvas, you can see we have not moved the layer solid itself.

All we've been doing is moving the mask. If I grab one of the anchor points, I can move the mask anywhere and it will always be full inside of the composition. Let's change this switchback to Add, and here you can see it has cut that shape out, if we change this switch to Subtract now it switched to the inverse. Let's go back to Add and there's one last thing. If you open the triangle next to Mask 1, notice you can keyframe the Mask Path.

This is how you would actually create animation with the shape. If we wanted it to move from one side to the other, we just add a keyframe for the Mask Path, move our current time indicator and then move the mask. Now we've created animation. If you scrub in the timeline, you can see we've created a layer solid shape using masks, and we've applied basic animation.

There are currently no FAQs about After Effects CS6 Essential Training.

 
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 CS6 Essential Training.

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.