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After Effects Apprentice 05: Creating Transparency
Illustration by John Hersey

Quizzler solution two: Stroke drawing direction


From:

After Effects Apprentice 05: Creating Transparency

with Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer

Video: Quizzler solution two: Stroke drawing direction

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.
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  1. 3m 17s
    1. Overview
      1m 17s
    2. Using the exercise files
      2m 0s
  2. 28m 53s
    1. Creating basic mask shapes
      5m 7s
    2. Using advanced parametric shapes
      3m 35s
    3. Basic mask shape editing
      4m 35s
    4. Masking in the Layer panel
      1m 55s
    5. Working with mask parameters
      4m 0s
    6. Animating masks
      5m 52s
    7. Creating vignettes
      3m 49s
  3. 25m 56s
    1. Masking with the Pen tool
      6m 44s
    2. Editing a mask path
      6m 19s
    3. Using RotoBezier masks
      4m 32s
    4. Targeting masks for animation
      3m 13s
    5. Setting the first vertex point
      5m 8s
  4. 19m 7s
    1. The basics of variable-mask feathering
      7m 33s
    2. Exploring variable-mask feathering options
      5m 56s
    3. Exploring visual effects applications
      5m 38s
  5. 7m 55s
    1. Exploring mask modes
      3m 58s
    2. Fading mask opacity
      3m 57s
  6. 11m 48s
    1. Using targeted treatments
      2m 35s
    2. Filling mask shapes
      3m 8s
    3. Following mask paths
      6m 5s
  7. 13m 31s
    1. Using alpha mattes
      3m 48s
    2. Grouping track matte pairs
      3m 40s
    3. Working with luma mattes
      3m 52s
    4. Animating mattes
      2m 11s
  8. 10m 0s
    1. Using Stencil Luma
      3m 5s
    2. Using Stencil Alpha
      2m 5s
    3. Using effects with stencils
      2m 20s
    4. Stacking stencils
      2m 30s
  9. 8m 23s
    1. Quizzler challenges
      1m 18s
    2. Quizzler solution one: One word at a time
      3m 53s
    3. Quizzler solution two: Stroke drawing direction
      3m 12s
  10. 11m 18s
    1. Idea corner one: More masks and effects
      2m 50s
    2. Idea corner two: Transition effects
      3m 44s
    3. Idea corner three: Sequenced layers as mattes
      4m 44s
  11. 16m 29s
    1. Understanding track matte rendering order
      5m 48s
    2. Exploring mask interpolation
      10m 41s

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After Effects Apprentice 05: Creating Transparency
2h 36m Beginner Mar 23, 2011 Updated Nov 15, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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®.

Topics include:
  • Creating masks using parametric shapes or freeform with the Pen tool
  • Editing and animating masks
  • Combining multiple masks
  • Using one layer to define the transparency of others
  • Explaining the interaction between effects, masks, and mattes
  • Mastering mask animation
Subjects:
Video Motion Graphics Visual Effects
Software:
After Effects
Authors:
Chris Meyer Trish Meyer

Quizzler solution two: Stroke drawing direction

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.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about After Effects Apprentice 05: Creating Transparency.


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Q: This course was updated on 11/15/2012. What changed?
A: We added a movie that shows our premium subscribers how to use the exercise files, We have also added new sets of exercise files designed for After Effects CS5.5 and After Effects CS6.
 
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