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After Effects Apprentice 05: Creating Transparency
Illustration by John Hersey
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Creating vignettes


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After Effects Apprentice 05: Creating Transparency

with Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer

Video: Creating vignettes

In addition to selectively revealing portions of a clip or animating and wiping on a layer, another common thing you do with mask is create vignettes. Maybe areas of the frame which are say slightly darkened in the corners. To do that I'm going to create a Layer > New > Solid. It says we have a solid block of color, which I will then selectively mask to create my vignette. I am going to make sure that my solid covers the entire composition, so I'll click the Make Comp Size button and I'll pick a color for the vignette. Typically I go black, but since I have some really nice blues and purples going on with this footage I think I'm going to use the eyedropper and pick a really dark color along this freeway here to be my vignette color, just to tie the vignette in with the rest of my footage. Click OK, name this layer more intelligently like vignettes and click OK.
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  1. 3m 17s
    1. Overview
      1m 17s
    2. Using the exercise files
      2m 0s
  2. 28m 53s
    1. Creating basic mask shapes
      5m 7s
    2. Using advanced parametric shapes
      3m 35s
    3. Basic mask shape editing
      4m 35s
    4. Masking in the Layer panel
      1m 55s
    5. Working with mask parameters
      4m 0s
    6. Animating masks
      5m 52s
    7. Creating vignettes
      3m 49s
  3. 25m 56s
    1. Masking with the Pen tool
      6m 44s
    2. Editing a mask path
      6m 19s
    3. Using RotoBezier masks
      4m 32s
    4. Targeting masks for animation
      3m 13s
    5. Setting the first vertex point
      5m 8s
  4. 19m 7s
    1. The basics of variable-mask feathering
      7m 33s
    2. Exploring variable-mask feathering options
      5m 56s
    3. Exploring visual effects applications
      5m 38s
  5. 7m 55s
    1. Exploring mask modes
      3m 58s
    2. Fading mask opacity
      3m 57s
  6. 11m 48s
    1. Using targeted treatments
      2m 35s
    2. Filling mask shapes
      3m 8s
    3. Following mask paths
      6m 5s
  7. 13m 31s
    1. Using alpha mattes
      3m 48s
    2. Grouping track matte pairs
      3m 40s
    3. Working with luma mattes
      3m 52s
    4. Animating mattes
      2m 11s
  8. 10m 0s
    1. Using Stencil Luma
      3m 5s
    2. Using Stencil Alpha
      2m 5s
    3. Using effects with stencils
      2m 20s
    4. Stacking stencils
      2m 30s
  9. 8m 23s
    1. Quizzler challenges
      1m 18s
    2. Quizzler solution one: One word at a time
      3m 53s
    3. Quizzler solution two: Stroke drawing direction
      3m 12s
  10. 11m 18s
    1. Idea corner one: More masks and effects
      2m 50s
    2. Idea corner two: Transition effects
      3m 44s
    3. Idea corner three: Sequenced layers as mattes
      4m 44s
  11. 16m 29s
    1. Understanding track matte rendering order
      5m 48s
    2. Exploring mask interpolation
      10m 41s

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After Effects Apprentice 05: Creating Transparency
2h 36m Beginner Mar 23, 2011 Updated Nov 15, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, Chris Meyer demonstrates the most common techniques for adding selective transparency to layers in After Effects through the use of masks, track mattes, and stencils. In addition to explaining the tools and basic theory behind transparency, the course covers several practical applications for these techniques, including isolating objects, creating vignettes, and filling text with visual texture. Tutorials on crafting custom transitions and other treatments are also included. Exercise files accompany the course.

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 Online Training Library®.

Topics include:
  • Creating masks using parametric shapes or freeform with the Pen tool
  • Editing and animating masks
  • Combining multiple masks
  • Using one layer to define the transparency of others
  • Explaining the interaction between effects, masks, and mattes
  • Mastering mask animation
Subjects:
Video Motion Graphics Visual Effects
Software:
After Effects
Authors:
Chris Meyer Trish Meyer

Creating vignettes

In addition to selectively revealing portions of a clip or animating and wiping on a layer, another common thing you do with mask is create vignettes. Maybe areas of the frame which are say slightly darkened in the corners. To do that I'm going to create a Layer > New > Solid. It says we have a solid block of color, which I will then selectively mask to create my vignette. I am going to make sure that my solid covers the entire composition, so I'll click the Make Comp Size button and I'll pick a color for the vignette. Typically I go black, but since I have some really nice blues and purples going on with this footage I think I'm going to use the eyedropper and pick a really dark color along this freeway here to be my vignette color, just to tie the vignette in with the rest of my footage. Click OK, name this layer more intelligently like vignettes and click OK.

Now I have a solid filling in my screen. I want to mask out that solid to reveal my stack of layers, my title, my additional footage underneath. I am going to go to my tools, select the Ellipse tool, and I can either start dragging out of vignettes, which is fussy, or I can just use the shortcut of double-clicking the Ellipse tool. With my layer selected, that will create a nice ellipse that's the full size my layer. Well I do have a bit of a problem right now.

I've got a big oval obscuring my footage, which is kind of the opposite of what I wanted. That's not a problem. I'll click the Invert to invert the effect of my mask and now I've got an oval reveal with darkened corners that are the color of my solid shape. I want to soften up that transition, so I'm going to go ahead and press F to reveal Feather, start scrubbing the Feather to go ahead and get that a bit of softening that I wanted. This yellow mask outline is kind of blocking what I'm doing, so I am going to go ahead and turn that off for now.

So I see suggest the vignette. If I want to expand or contract the amount of the area that vignette is taking up, I'll make sure the layer is selected, twirl up my layer, and then press MM to reveal all of the mask parameters. Again you can just twirl the mask as well. And I can use my Mask Expansion to either make the vignette just hit the corners of my layer or to go ahead and take up a lot more the layer, just maybe create a small hole in my world like that. But I'll go ahead and make it just take up the corners and to soften effects in the corners I could either increase the Feather even more, Undo, or press Shift and T to reveal the opacity of the entire layer and fade out the whole vignetted layer to just add a little bit darkening in those corners.

Before, after. I like vignettes quite a bit. They do add just a bit of class to a video project. It's worth spending a little bit of time adding them. Now in fact I did a whole course on creating vignettes. That might be worth watching if you like this technique and there we go. We've created an interesting little composite here, by by going ahead and taking this footage, masking it out selectively to reveal just portions of it, and by doing so revealing a background layer behind, animated on a title, and created a vignette just to add a little bit of classy darkening to the corners, and all this was done with a very simple mask shape tool.

However, there are many occasions where just these simple rectangles, ellipses or even polygons and stars aren't quite enough. You need more detail in your mask. And for that you use the Pen tool, and that's going to be the subject of the next chapter inside this lesson.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about After Effects Apprentice 05: Creating Transparency.


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Q: This course was updated on 11/15/2012. What changed?
A: We added a movie that shows our premium subscribers how to use the exercise files, We have also added new sets of exercise files designed for After Effects CS5.5 and After Effects CS6.
 
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