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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®.
Our second Quizzler involves how do you draw a line around a mask path? The answer is you use the Stroke effect, which we already showed you earlier. I'll open up the comp Stroke play. Click on the layer leaf shapes that has my mask paths on it. I'll press E to reveal the Effects and there's the Stroke effect. I'll twirl it down and you can see with animated the end position from 0 to 100. That way the stroke will draw along the mask path.
You can also just scrub it to see what it does. Now turn off the mask path visibility so you can see things more clearly now and there is our stroke. Now, how would you get this to draw in the opposite direction? Well, you might say animate and backwards, but no, that just draws it or off. The solution is actually to animate the start rather than animating the end. You'll see if you just scrub Start by itself. It keeps animating in the same direction. However, if we were to start at 100 and go backwards, ohhh! That's how we go into the opposite direction, all right.
So let's start Start and End both at 100%, then animate Start back down to 0. That's how we get the stroke to draw in the opposite direction. The moral of the story is don't be afraid to play around with parameters and think outside the box. Not everything goes from 0 to 100. Sometimes you need to animate things from 100 to down to 0 to make them go in the opposite direction than the effect was originally designed to do. Now, the final question was how do you get this to start drawing from a different location? Right now it's starting from base of the stem.
What if you want to start drawing from the very top of that maple leaf? I'm going to turn on my Mask Path Visibility, so I can see that while I'm playing around. Well, the answer is the first vertex. The first vertex controls not only the way masks are animated but also the way effects draw around a mask path. Now let's just select the top one up here, right-click on it, and choose Mask and Path Shape > Set First Vertex, go to my second keyframe, I'll press U to reveal all my keyframes.
Use the Keyframe Navigator to go to my second mask keyframe, click the top of the oak leaf, right-click, and choose Set First Vertex. Now I see that my mask path indeed animates from the top of the leaf and goes around the leaf, depending on how I've animated the Start and End parameters. So two things to remember. Don't be afraid to play around with both start and end strokes on things such as scribble, stroke, etcetera, and two, don't forget that first vertex point.
That one is really important when it comes to deciding how effects animate around mask paths.
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