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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®.
Now in addition to combining multiple mask shapes using these mode pop-ups as demonstrated in the previous movie, you can also use that mask opacity parameter we talked about as another way of combining multiple shapes. If you have the exercise files, open up Comp 06-Transition*starter. If you don't just go ahead and create any comp with any piece of footage, because this is a general trick you can apply to other clips. I'll select my file. Go back to say, oh, the Rectangle tool. I'm going to draw a few different mask shapes on this footage revealing different parts of the image.
For example may be that building. I've already got my problem where I can't see the rest of the clip, so I'm going to double click it. Go to my Layer panel with the Render turned off so I can see the rest of clip. I will go ahead and draw another mask shape around that building, draw a third mask shape around those two buildings, maybe a fourth mask shape around those guys, then finally draw one last all in composing mask that takes in the entire footage. One thing that is a little bit confusing is I've got 5 masks all with the yellow outlines. I can change them manually to different colors if I want to by clicking on the color swatches and just picking different colors in the picker.
If you find yourself doing this quite often, there is a preference you need to learn about. Just set this last color. If you want the mask to automatically cycle through colors, go to Preferences > Appearance, and there is an option called Cycle Mask Colors. If that's enabled, you'll automatically get to different color every time you create a new mask. Anyway now I've got these different shapes, plus my overall frame, I'm going to go ahead and fade them up one at the time. I'll select my layer, type M to go ahead and trope all the mask parameters, then MM to review all the parameters including mask opacity.
Let's go ahead in keyframe those, and then for this I'm going to go ahead and enable rendering. And set all their opacity down to 0 initially, scroll down my list, and finally fade it out, and start keyframing in my mask opacity. Of course the 10 frames I'll bring it up to 100%. I'll backup a couple of frames and just let them overlap. Click on Mask Opacity to select those two keyframes, Command or Ctrl+C to copy them, and now I can paste these keyframes to other masks.
Keyframes are pasted at the Current Time Indicator, so I select Opacity and paste, go to that frame, back up two frames by pressing the Page Up twice. Go to my next mask, paste, scroll to where I can see things a little bit better, jump to that keyframe, Page Up twice to get before it, Mask 4, paste, use the Keyframe Navigator to go to its second keyframes, back up two frames, and finally my last mask and paste. A little later in time. N for the end of my working area.
I'll stick this in the Comp panel. Now I've got a nice little animation where individual masks fade up over time, just by animating mask opacities. And indeed some of the animation presets under the Transition Dissolve category are based on fading up different mask shapes to go ahead and create fun animations such as this one. So that's yet another way of using masks and keyframes to create interesting looks and transitions by revealing just portions of layers.
However, this isn't the only thing you can do with masks. In the next chapter, I want to show you how to use Effects in conjunction with masks to create all sorts of other interesting looks.
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