Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Creating a reveal stroke

From: After Effects Apprentice 13: Paint, Roto, and Puppet

Video: Creating a reveal stroke

If you have the Exercise Files, go ahead and open composition 02-Write On*starter. If you don't have the Exercise Files, just find any image such as our auto bird here that has an interesting shape that you might like to write on. This technique will work with almost any image. My layer is currently on a transparent background. In order to wipe on a layer, it also has to be invisible. However, it's kind of hard to paint on a layer if you can't see it.

Creating a reveal stroke

If you have the Exercise Files, go ahead and open composition 02-Write On*starter. If you don't have the Exercise Files, just find any image such as our auto bird here that has an interesting shape that you might like to write on. This technique will work with almost any image. My layer is currently on a transparent background. In order to wipe on a layer, it also has to be invisible. However, it's kind of hard to paint on a layer if you can't see it.

So we'll make the layer invisible in a later step. So let's set up the Paint and Brush panels so that we can write on this layer. The first thing we need to do is to double- click the layer to open it in the Layer panel. So take a moment to set up your workspace, remember, you have to paint in the Layer panel. We'll make sure we're at 100% and full resolution and we'll select the Brush tool. The Paint and Brushes panel should also be visible and they will be set to whatever settings you used in the last movie.

We'll make sure Opacity is set to 100% and Flow is set to 100%. The color we need to use is white. So I will just select the black and white and then switch it so that white is the foreground color. I'll also make sure that the mode is set to Normal and that the Channels pop-up is set to Alpha. Now, this is very important. We only want to paint the white stroke in the layers Alpha. However if you do make a mistake, you can always set the Channels pop-up after the fact in the Timeline.

When you set Duration to Write On mode, it automatically creates keyframes for the end parameter. Of course if you forget to set it to Write On, you can just create the end keyframes later on. Now, even though we set the Paint panel to only paint on Alpha, we'll probably also want to set Show Channels to Alpha channel. Remember you can toggle back and forth quickly by Option or Alt+Clicking on the Show Channels button. You'll notice that the Alpha channel has a little texture in it.

That was picked up when I scanned the image because I wrote on a textured paper. If you're using your own image, it's likely the Alpha Channel will be completely white. The next thing we want to do is set a Brush size. So I will press the Command key and size my brush to somewhere around 50 pixels. Feel free to set the Hardness value to taste. You can always change it later. I will set it to a medium hardness. I don't want it to be too soft as I wipe on the stroke. Now when I am using Duration Write On, the first keyframe for end will be placed at the current time.

Also notice that the comp is 10 seconds long. When you're using Write On, it automatically places the second keyframe when you release the mouse. So if you paint very slowly and take longer than 10 second, your second keyframe will be after the end of the comp and you'll have to retrieve it. On the other hand, you don't have to rush and try to paint on your layer in real time. It's very easy to move the second keyframe to retime the stroke. Just try to keep it under 10 seconds. Another thing you don't want to do is start painting left and right like this.

If that's all you're going to do, you may as well just use a transition called Linear Wipe. What we're trying to do is get some interesting movement and you can start at the top or at the bottom, but do try and paint in one continuous stroke. Another thing I want to mention about timing. Let's say you start off painting very slowly and then you go very quickly and then you go very slowly. All of that timing will be embedded in your paint stroke. So even though when you're finished, you'll end up with two keyframes that are linear.

It doesn't mean that the personality of your stroke will be linear in nature. After Effects will remember all the subtle timing in your stroke. Of course you can always ease into or ease out of those two keyframes, but a large amount of the personality is embedded in the stroke as you paint. Now they're all set up, as soon as we click with the mouse, it will start recording the stroke. Unfortunately, I just noticed that I am painting with a black stroke. I always forget that when you change the Channels to Alpha, it switches the colors to black and white.

So I need to switch it back so that the foreground color is white and we'll undo and let's start again. This time I will paint with the tablet using Pen Pressure. I will start up slowly then pick up speed. You might have to try your stroke a few times until you get a move that you like. Let's say I am happy with that. When I stop painting, the stroke will seem to disappear. Not to worry, it's only because at the current time, the animated stroke hasn't started yet.

With the layers selected, I will press U to see my keyframes. At this point I should see two keyframes for end, but it looks like I took more than 10 seconds as the second keyframe is after the end of the comp. But that's easy to fix. Instead of making the composition longer you can simply drag this layer back and there is my keyframe and I probably want the stroke to be only a few seconds long. Then I'll move the bar back, to make sure the first keyframe starts at time zero. I'll move the second keyframe to 4 seconds and let's RAM preview.

Remember that the preview plays in the Comp panel. So we'll want to resize the panel. Notice that if you varied the speed when you were drawing, it's reflected in the animation. I will press N to set the work area at little after the second keyframe. If you find the animation is too slow or too fast, just move the second keyframe to retime it. Before we move on, it's very important to return to using the Selection tool, so you don't accidentally replace your animated stroke.

Notice that Brush 1 is selected in the Timeline. If I so much as click in the Layer panel to bring it forward, I'll actually replace Brush 1, when I move the Time Marker, I don't see my animated stroke anymore, because I've replaced it. If that happens to you, you can undo, but it's best to return to the Selection tool as soon as you're finished painting your stroke. In the next movie, I will show you how to make the layer invisible and clean up the edges.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for After Effects Apprentice 13: Paint, Roto, and Puppet
 

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
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.


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 "Already a member? Log in

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

Your file was successfully uploaded.

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.