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After Effects Apprentice 05: Creating Transparency
Illustration by John Hersey

Exploring mask modes


From:

After Effects Apprentice 05: Creating Transparency

with Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer

Video: Exploring mask modes

I want to show you a couple of ideas how to combine multiple mask shapes. If you've got the exercise files that came with this lesson, open up the project 05-Mask Modes' Starter. This is just our landscape that we played around with at the very beginning of this lesson. Let's start with a couple of simple mask shapes, just to illustrate a point, then we'll move on to more complex example. I am going to make sure my layer is selected, very important, select my Mask Shape tool and go to Rectangle to start, drag out a part of this landscape, like that.
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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

Exploring mask modes

I want to show you a couple of ideas how to combine multiple mask shapes. If you've got the exercise files that came with this lesson, open up the project 05-Mask Modes' Starter. This is just our landscape that we played around with at the very beginning of this lesson. Let's start with a couple of simple mask shapes, just to illustrate a point, then we'll move on to more complex example. I am going to make sure my layer is selected, very important, select my Mask Shape tool and go to Rectangle to start, drag out a part of this landscape, like that.

Change to an Ellipse tool and drag out. The second portion of landscape that intersects with the first one, so I have two masks. I'm going to go ahead and rename this oval, rectangle, all right. Next to the mask names is a popup that is the Mask mode. How do these masks interact with each other? Add is the default that basically says keep adding what's inside a mask to create a composite image.

Well, let's say we take the oval and say instead of adding, I want to subtract you. Now the oval is cutting out the rectangular mask. What if I say, just show me the Intersection in between you two? Now this is just where the oval and the rectangle overlap each other. And finally show me the Difference between the two, exclude where the two overlap but give me everything else where they don't overlap. There is other modes as well, such as Lighten and Darken. These come in handy when you have partial transparency and you're trying to get areas such as feathered mask to overlap nicely, and of course, you always have the ability to invert masks.

By the way the stacking order also has some effect on how these masks interact with each other. I need to go back to Add and maybe I'll go to simple Subtract there or Invert. Anyway that's the general concept of mask modes. Now let's have a bit more fun. I'm going to Layer > Mask > Remove All Masks, and now let's say I want to start off with just a simple oval mask that's going to go ahead and take in most of the landscape. With my layers selected, I'll double click the Ellipse tool and now I've got a nice oval to start with.

Now let's say I want something more complex inside the middle of here, say, well, how about these leaves I was playing with earlier? So let's go back to those leaves. I can either select one keyframe to select just that mask shape and copy it, or I can click on the word Mask Path, highlighting both of the keyframes, and copy the entire mask animation. I will do Command+C or Ctrl+C, go back to my Mask Modes*starter, make sure the current mask is not selected.

I don't want to replace it. I want to create a brand-new mask. To do that I can hold down the Shift+F2, which says keep the layers selected by deselecting anything inside like a mask shape. Command+V or Ctrl+V to paste and there is my leaves. But they are not doing anything, because you are just adding to the existing oval and the oval encompasses the leaves. Let's say I want that to cut out, very simple. I'll say Subtract. And now the leaves have been cut out from the oval. Now, what if I want the opposite effect? Maybe I want the oval to subtract from the overall shape, and the leaves to add their shape back in.

You get an idea now of how these different shapes can interact and you can have a bit of fun. So don't restrict yourself to trying to draw everything with one mask shape. Think about how you might be able to create multiple shapes and have them interact in interesting ways to create more complex looks in animations.

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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