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In After Effects CS5 Essential Training, author Chad Perkins discusses the basic tools, effects, and need-to-know techniques in Adobe After Effects CS5, the professional standard for motion graphics, compositing, and visual effects for video. The course provides an overview of the entire workflow, from import to export, as well as detailed coverage of each stage, including animating text and artwork, adding effects to compositions, working in 3D, and rendering and compressing footage. Exercise files are included with the course.
Simple masks like the ones we looked at in the last movie are very helpful, and they do come in handy, but when you understand mask options, the options that you have with masks, they just really unlocks a whole new world with them, become much more powerful. So, we have here this cute little fishy animation. And there are some bubbles here. By the way, these bubbles are created with an After Effects effect called Foam. So, we have these cute little bubbles here. And if we click on this Orange Solid layer, really this is an orange solid with a mask applied to it. And also, by the way, this shape was created by copying and pasting a path from Photoshop onto this layer, and this is what was created.
If I press the letter M, I can reveal basic properties about the mask, including the Mask Path, which is what we are going to animate here. If I go out to, I don't know, maybe about a second in here, I am going to click the stopwatch for Mask Path and we can animate the shape of this mask path the same way we would animate anything else in After Effects. So, we can click the stopwatch here, move in time. Sometimes when you want to select one of these points, it's kind of tricky. You kind of have to actually deselect it and then select it again.
Because once you select it initially, then all the points are selected and you can move the entire mask as one whole. So, if you actually want to adjust individual points, you kind of have to click away to deselect it and then click back on to select these points. So, I can move these masks points. Let's say I want to bring that fin down and maybe bring this one up a little bit. I could even Shift+Click multiple points to move them at once. Let's do that and I am just going to click and drag a marquee around all of these tail fin points.
And then move that in. And then I can move in time and bring these back out. Bring this back in. I'm going to make it like a little bit smaller. Actually, let's exaggerate this a little bit, take this out a little bit farther than it was. And bring this back down here. If I scrub in time now, you can see that we have some movement to our cute little fishy here. And what I can do is I actually kind of want it to rotate between these points, so I can click and drag a marquee around these three points.
Hit Command+C or Ctrl+C on the PC to copy it. And we will move in time to about here and then we will paste them. And now we have a cute little fishy animation. We can move this entire layer, because we really don't have any Position keyframes. If I press P, no Position keyframes, so we can move it over here. Press the stopwatch for Position. Move it somewhere over here and move it offscreen. And we have created a cute little fishy animation.
It's actually a little bit too fast, because we can't really see that it's moving, but start there and there we go. So, the fish is moving and it's moving. While it moves from left to right, it also flaps because its mask points are moving as well. Now, this is cool for motion graphics and stuff like this. But also in the last movie, when we looked at the '24' style picture in picture thing, if you want it to expand one of the dimensions of those points or reshape the mask, then you can do that there as well.
Here's another really cool option for mask, and that is mask expansion. We have here this logo that we animated earlier in this training series here. All these pieces come on and our little bicyclist comes in. The one thing I didn't like about it is that there is this really cool filigree coming off of this back tire, these really cool swirls, and everything else is moving and full of life, but these cool gradient curls are just kind of sitting there. So, what we are going to do is use masks to bring those to life in a really easy way. So, I am going to double-click the layer that these curls are on, which is actually part of this whole bike girl thing, so it's PRECOMP bike girl.
So, double-click this precomp to open it up. And this layer, the Auto-traced rear tire curls, is what we are going to be bringing to life. I have already created a composition marker for you here, the Start Curl Animation. So, we will move over to that marker. And then I mentioned before that you press M to reveal masks. As you can see here, there are multiple masks applied to this one layer, which is totally legal. And if I press M twice, I will reveal not only the masks and the Mask Path option here, but also I will reveal all mask options.
So, again, you press M two times fast. Now, we have a couple of pretty simple options here. We have Mask Opacity. So, if we wanted to lower the opacity of one of the masks, we can do that. So, we can actually have different opacity values for different parts of the same layer, which is pretty cool. We could also increase the feather of a mask. I am actually going to go to this left most curl, which is the most obvious curl right here. If I increase the Feather, then we kind of soften the edge of that mask. If I click away to deselect that, you could see what that looks like, kind of nice wispy.
Maybe in another project, this would be a beautiful thing to use. Love that. So, I am going to take this back down to 0. And what I am going to focus on now is Mask Expansion. If we click and drag Mask Expansion to the right, we can actually expand the area of the mask. This comes in real handy. Let's say you make a border, kind of like we did in the last movie, with the frame, and you decided that you made it a little bit too small or not quite small enough, you can actually just use Mask Expansion to make that smaller or larger. So, what we are going to do here is that we are going to start at this Start Curl Animation, and we are going to take all of the Mask Expansion values to a negative number.
It doesn't have to be all the way. Let's see. For this, I am going to take this to -5. For the upper-right curl, I will take that to -5 and it looks like we got a trend here. About -5, -6 or so should get rid of everything that we need it too. So, we are going to remove all of this stuff by-- this one needs to be -7, the main curl body. But I am going to click the stopwatch for Mask Expansion for each of these masks here.
And then we are going to move in time a little bit, probably to about 03:07, and we are going to take this back to 0 for each of these Mask Expansion values. So, basically by animating the Mask Expansion, we subtracted it so that the Mask Expansion basically eroded away the entire layer. And then by animating Mask Expansion to go back to 0, we are like un-eroding the layers so they appear on like this. It's a very cool effect. It kind of has like this growing on effect.
It's really not growing on, but because these are curls, they are growing out from the inside. I have a feeling it's going look pretty awesome. So, I am going to tap the Shift key and that brings up this little like mini comp navigator here. And I am going to hit the Left Arrow to get back to the Explore California Logo layered comp there and then press Return to actually go there. I am going to press B to begin the work area. Let's do a RAM preview of this to see what it look likes when these curls come on. And that looks absolutely beautiful. Let me actually zoom in so that we are at 100% here and we can see these curls animating on. Look at that! Just beautiful! So, again, you can see it a little more clearly now.
We have these masks that were eroded away because of Mask Expansion and then by taking it from a negative value until they were all the way gone, until a 0 value, they disappear to just bloom on in a really beautiful way. So, looks like we did a lot of work there, but really it was just Mask Expansion. So, again, as if masks weren't powerful enough, but these mask options make them much more valuable.
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