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Using advanced parametric shapes

From: After Effects Apprentice 05: Creating Transparency

Video: Using advanced parametric shapes

In the previous movie, I showed using the Rectangle, Rounded Rectangle, and Ellipse tools to draw mask shapes. However, you also have the more complex Polygon and Star tools, which have a lot more options to draw complex shapes with rounded corners and as such. Let's start with the Polygon tool. I'll click-and-drag. I don't like where that's centered. So I'll press the Spacebar and re- center it to where at least I get to see a little bit of shrubbery down here. If I hold the Shift key, it will auto-orient my polygon. If I release, I get to rotate my polygon, and again, you can use the cursor keys to change some parameters of this.

Using advanced parametric shapes

In the previous movie, I showed using the Rectangle, Rounded Rectangle, and Ellipse tools to draw mask shapes. However, you also have the more complex Polygon and Star tools, which have a lot more options to draw complex shapes with rounded corners and as such. Let's start with the Polygon tool. I'll click-and-drag. I don't like where that's centered. So I'll press the Spacebar and re- center it to where at least I get to see a little bit of shrubbery down here. If I hold the Shift key, it will auto-orient my polygon. If I release, I get to rotate my polygon, and again, you can use the cursor keys to change some parameters of this.

The Up and Down arrows control how many sides are to the polygon, while the Right and Left keys control the rounding of the corners of the polygon. Note that you can go ahead and round to where this shape actually either becomes a circle and pushes out further or actually twist around on itself. So you can create a lot of very interesting shapes. Press Shift to center the top node and release my mouse and I'll undo.

The problem with creating these weird shapes is that After Effects remembers those shapes and you get a weird shape the next time. If you want to reset one of your shapes, I am going to undo, just double-click the tool. You'll now make a default shape that tries to fill out the parameters of the entire layer. Undo, select your tool and now you can drag and draw your shape as you like. I'll undo again. Finally, there is this star shape and it is the most complex of all these shapes. Here are all the keyboard controls you have a stars. I'll start dragging this out.

Just like polygons, the Up and Down cursor keys control how many points that you have. I can rotate it or press Shift to go ahead and lock my orientation. The Right and Left keys again control the roundness. You can create some flower shapes, even have the petals wrapping on themselves, or I am pressing the Left cursor, and pull it in, start twisting on itself, lot of control there. Go back to something a little more normal looking. If I press Command on Mac or Ctrl on Windows while I'm dragging, I actually drag out just the outer radius of my star, leaving the inner radius where it was.

Finally, if I use the Page Up and Page Down keys, I can control the rounding on the inner radius. Remember the Left and Right cursors control the rounding on the outer points. Page Up and Page Down control the rounding on the inner points. This is one of the reasons we recommend you have an extended keyboard when you use After Effects, even if you have a laptop. It's a worthwhile investment to get an additional keyboard to get access to all these keyboard shortcuts. Again, if you don't want that to be your default shape, just double-click the tool and get back to the standard default settings, and I'll undo. Reselect my star.

After you have dragged out one of these more complex shapes and released the mouse, you no longer have access to the cursor keys, Page Up and Down, et cetera, to alter the shape. At this point, you'd have to go edit the points individually. So it's worth thinking ahead of time about what shape you are trying to draw and perform these modifications while you are dragging out the shape, instead of dragging, then thinking later what you really want to do with it.

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Image for After Effects Apprentice 05: Creating Transparency
After Effects Apprentice 05: Creating Transparency

38 video lessons · 12948 viewers

Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer
Author

 
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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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