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Delve into the world of motion graphics, keying, and compositing in After Effects CC. In this course, Ian Robinson lays out six foundations for becoming proficient with After Effects, including concepts such as layers, keyframe animation, and working with 3D. To help you get up and running with the program, the course begins with a project-based chapter on creating an animated graphic bumper. Next, explore the role layers play in compositions and find out how to add style to your projects using effects and graphic elements. Last, see how to build 3D objects with CINEMA 4D Lite, as well as stabilize footage, solve for 3D cameras, and paint in graphics with the Reverse Stabilization feature.
The Feather Mask Tool will give you the ability to adjust the softness of the edge of a mat at a very specific point in time. Actually, any specific point in time. You can create feathers all over mask past. Now in this project, we're going to create a mask around our soccer ball. And if you grab the current time indicator and scrub through the project you can see there's a fair amount of motion blur on that ball. So we'll start just by creating a mask around the ball. Press the Q key on your keyboard to grab the shape tool.
Keep pressing that Q key until you get to the ellipse tool. Now make sure you have layer one selected in the timeline and then click and drag, holding down shift as you drag. You can make the mask a little bit larger than the soccer ball, that way we can easily re-position it later. After you've drawn out your mask, go ahead and press v to grab your selection tool. Since all the mask vertices are already selected, I can go ahead and click on one of the vertices and just re-position the mask. To tighten up the mask around the ball, I'm going to press Cmd + T on the Mac.
You could press Ctrl + T on Windows. Now, if I hold down Shift and the Cmd key or Shift and the Ctrl key on Windows, I can snap that path in proportion. And now it's much more tight on the soccer ball. When you're done with that you can go ahead and press Return to set that transform. Now when you press M on your keyboard, that will automatically open up the mask to the Mask Class settings. There we can add a key frame. Before we start key framing this, it's important to actually move the mask to the point where there's the most Motion blur.
Because I want to make sure I have enough detail on the mask at that point before I start adding key frames. Now, to make life easier, we should actually be making adjustments to our mask in the layer panel. So let's go to layer 1 and just double-click on the name to open the layer panel. If your panel doesn't currently look like this, go down to the lower-left corner and make sure you have the mask overlay toggled on so you can actually see the edge of the mask that we'll be creating. My layer panel is set to a magnification of 100%.
The reason I did this is so I could see the most fine detail as we continue to step through the project. Now in order to find the first place to add a key frame, I'm going to change my magnification to fit up to 100%. Now let's move our current time indicator down a couple frames. And frame three is where we have the most blur. I know I can barely see that but, if we click on one of the control handles for our mask we can re-position, and sure enough you can see there's a lot of blur there So, roughly place your mask over the center of the ball, and, before we add our first key frame, let's actually feather the mask.
If you press g on your keyboard you can toggle between the pen tool, and mask feather tool. Now if yours is toggling through a bunch of other tools, you need to check your preferences. There are two preferences that we should definitely double-check before we start, key framing this. Let's go to After Effects, and Preferences, and go to the General Section. In here, we want to make sure the Pen tool toggles between the Pen and Mask Feather tools and then we need to look at the option just above. Make sure Preserve Constant Vertex and Feather Point Count is selected.
Now we can click OK. Now the constant vertex count basically means anytime you go to keyframe a mask, it's only going to keep the same amount of vertices that you had the first time you created that first keyframe. It's going to do the same thing with the feather mask points. That's why I want to make sure, we go ahead and draw enough points to create the blur for a ball. Now to quickly create the blur, that I think I'm looking for, I'm going to press Cmd + T, to transform my mask and I'll rotate it, so I can kind of line up each one of these vertices, on the corner, if you will, of the motion blur. Now I'll press return and we can go and grab our feather tool by pressing g. Now there are couple of different ways that Feather tool works. If I click and drag straight out from the edge of the mask here you can see I'm creating a feather all the way round the outside edge. And the feather will end on the inside of the mask. You can get very precise and click and drag inside the mask as well to control the fall off from the inside to your mask point. But we don't necessarily need to do that right now. Once you drag the handle out, you can rotate that handle anywhere you want around the mask.
It will go ahead and slide accordingly. Now we can add more detail by adding more than one of these control points. Let's hover over the edge of our mask down here and we can click and adjust the transition from the really blurry part to this part that's not going to be so blurry. So we can repeat this function over here. I'll go ahead and click drag out. And then drag another one to be a little more tight in the scene. I'm just trying to soften that transition in the edge where it gets really kind of sharp over here. If you click off the mask and you see the points disappear, don't panic. You can just click and drag again.
So you just want to kind of have 2 points at each edge, then that way you can have a bit more control over the transition like this area. Now if you want to rotate points around the mask, you can select multiple points by clicking on one and holding Shift and clicking on another. But if you use your arrow tools, you can use your up down arrows to move closer to the mask path or further away. If you use your left and right arrows you can actually rotate around the edge of the mask. So here I can use this to rotate to the proper area and then I'll just deselect those two, click back on, and just move this one here so I have that nice transition. If for any reason you decide that you want to go ahead and create one big sweeping feather over a specific joint of your mask, you can hold down the Shift key and notice I get these two plus symbols.
That's going to go ahead and let me know that it's going to drag the edge of the mask out between the two masked vertices. So that's what I was thinking when I first rotated the mask, we could go ahead and click and drag out just with that one option. But I like the results that we got by clicking around and just controlling that manually, so I left it that way. Let's go ahead and Undo. There's one other kind of control you have over the mask feather, and that's a Hold adjustment. So if I click on the end of a handle, I can go ahead and right-click and choose Hold. When I choose Hold, it's automatically going to point around the edge of my mask to the next control handle, and then here I can drag out And adjust how much this frame positions from one to the next.
Now it does give me a nice hard edge there so if I were trying to (UNKNOWN) scale something like the edge of a wall that would work extraordinary well. I'm just going to undo to change those last changes. Now we've covered how to change a hole, we've covered how to move multiple handles for our Feather. We've covered how to feather one whole segment. There's one more adjustment that we can do. If I hover over a handle, I can hold down the Option key on the Mac or Alt on Windows. This will adjust the tension around this point so if you click and drag Towards the Mask, it'll tighten up the tension. And away from the Mask, it'll loosen up the tension. To accentuate this I'm going to add a Feather point straight here in the middle and I'll just drag it out, way way out.
So we get this really soft transition. Now we can hold Alt on Windows or Opt on Mac, and click and drag to the right to soften the tension. And back to the left to tighten up the tension around that point. Now obviously you can do this across multiple points, to have a really fine adjustment to the tension of that point. Now you can always right-click back on the point an choose to edit the tension that way. An so we could change the tension back to zero, an it'll just billow right back out again. If you decide you want to delete one of the feather handles, as long as it's selected with that little black dot, you can go ahead and just press Delete, and it will disappear.
Now that we have our basic control handles for how we want this mask to look for this individual frame, we can go ahead and add a key frame for that one frame. Now to finish this job, we would just want to move one frame at a time, and each time we moved a frame we could go ahead and, with our selection tool, move the masque and all of its feathered goodness, and now we can move along with the edge of the ball. Now remember, even though we have this mask drawn out, if you decide that you still have too much room around the outside edge, you can press Cmd + T or Ctrl + T on Windows, to open your transformer handles for the mask points. Now I could press Shift and the Cmd key to go ahead and scale that down It will be Shift and Ctrl on Windows, that would scale it around the center point. Now when I press return I've got a much tighter mask for our blurred ball. So the Feather Mask tool gives you all kinds of new control whenever you're trying to create very precise masks.
Just remember to check your preferences if you're going to be doing a rotoscoping job over any amount of time.
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