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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®.
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.
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