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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®.
Once you've isolated part of an image using a mask, you can have even more fun. You can start playing around with effects to add treatments to those areas inside that mask. I'm going to go ahead and Close All for now and I'm going to jump back little bit in time and open up 02b-Masked Effects*starter. Here I've got the tulip already cut out from its background. If you don't have the exercise files, just go ahead and open up any layer and create a mask shape around some object and you can play along as well. Let's say that I want just the area inside that tulip to be affected, to be processed, maybe colorized, maybe blurred.
Well, quite often the ways that you do this as you want two copies of your layer, one to be the unaffected copy and another to be the affected copy. So in this case I'm going to go ahead and duplicate the Tulip layer. Make sure you don't have mask selected; you'll just duplicate the mask. I've got the whole layers selected and not the mask. I'm going to delete the mask from the background so I just have the mask on the foreground shape. I'll solo it quickly and see what's going on. Now, when I apply an effect to that master version of the tulip, so just say Color Correction > Hue/Saturation, I can go ahead and change say the color of just that flower relative to everything else in the image. And I want to turn off my mask outlines for now, just to see what it looks like in context.
So that's very common, is using masking to isolate part of an image because you need to treat that image, maybe blur it a little bit, change its color, do fancy effects, make it look like say bad TV signal or night vision or whatever. Another portion, however, is to use a mask to keep something normal and alter the rest of the image outside of your mask. So I'll leave my masked tulip alone, pick the background layer and pick another effect, such as maybe Color Correction > Tint.
Now I'll turn the background into a black-and-white image at its defaults and leave my masked flower and all these glory as a foreground object. So that's one real common treatment of effects and masks. Process one copy of an image, leave the other copy unaffected. However, there is even more you can do with effects. Let me show that next.
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