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Using track mattes

From: After Effects CC Essential Training

Video: Using track mattes

The easiest way to think of track mattes is to think of them as stencils, or cookie cutters. You can use the transparency of one layer to determine the transparency of another. So to show you what I mean, let's go down to the bottom of the Timeline panel and the second button from the left in the lower left corner, make sure that's Enabled. That'll enable our modes and our track mattes. Notice layer one doesn't have an option for track mats. That's because track mats need to reference the layer above in order to enable a track mat. So for example, let's select layer three.

Using track mattes

The easiest way to think of track mattes is to think of them as stencils, or cookie cutters. You can use the transparency of one layer to determine the transparency of another. So to show you what I mean, let's go down to the bottom of the Timeline panel and the second button from the left in the lower left corner, make sure that's Enabled. That'll enable our modes and our track mattes. Notice layer one doesn't have an option for track mats. That's because track mats need to reference the layer above in order to enable a track mat. So for example, let's select layer three.

I want to use the transparency of layer two, which is this circle to determine exactly how much of layer three I would like to see. So, if you go to the track mat pull down for layer three. Click on the word None and choose Alpha Matte. With alpha mat looking at the alpha transparency of layer 2. Now there are a couple of other track matte options. Let's look at alpha inverted. Of course, that just does the exact inverse. Now luma matte is interesting because it looks at the brightness values of the image above.

Let's enable luma matte. As you can see, anything that was white is now completely bright and allowing me to show the background layer. Anything that wasn't white is now just varying shade of gray underneath, in terms of its transparency. I turn luma back up to alpha, you can see the entire thing. When you do luma, it's just using the brightness values. Now let's switch our track matte back to alpha and I want to stress something, when you're using track mattes, while the two layers are working together to determine the image of the composition.

They are not tied together when you want to go animate. So for example, if we select layer 2, I can click in the composition, and drag and move layer 2 around, and no matter where I move it, it's going to go ahead. And cut out the background and reveal anything underneath of this alpha channel. The same goes for the background layer. I'm just going to press Cmd + Z to make sure my circle's back at the beginning, then I'll select my background layer. Now, if I click and drag around, notice I can move the background behind the map.

If I move it too high, the egg shows through. Because, again, the mat is not moving with the fill. So Layer3 is the fill and Layer 2 is the mat. Now, you may have missed this but when the track mattes was enabled from Layer3, the visibility for Layer2 was turned off. And a lot of times, when I apply layer masks, I still end up retaining some of the colour information from the layer that I'm using as the mask. So in order to introduce colour back into a grassy background, I'm going to go ahead and select layer two.

And press Cmd + D on the Mac or Ctrl + D on Windows to duplicate the layer. Now let's turn the visibility of layer 2 back on. And to blend it into the background, we'll go into our modes pull down and change the layer from normal To hard light. Now this is mixing into the background. I can still see a little bit of it, but the colors are blending in, and this looks a little bit more interesting. I'd like to pop the h off the background, so I'm going to go ahead and select layer 1, and just right click and choose layer styles, drop shadow. There, that gives it a little bit more dimension. Now if you want to add the grass back into the scene, we can do that. But before I do it, I just want to show you the alpha transparency for this composition.

If you go to the channel button in the middle of the comp, that looks red green and blue. Go ahead and click on that. Then choose alpha. And here you can see I have a perfect map for this. I could render this out with alpha transparency and drop it over any video footage I wanted. But like I said I want to add the grass back and so I'm going to change my channel viewing back to RGB and select layer four. Now before we duplicate this layer I want to draw your attention to the fact that Alpha has been applied to its track matte. So press Cmd + D or Ctrl + D on Windows, and you'll notice that the layer automatically jumped above it's alpha layer.

So I want to disable the alpha channel for Layer3. So I'm going to change it from Alpha to No Matte. Now just for the sake of my own organization, I like to actually drag that type of background all the way to the bottom layer hierarchy. And to continue to give it a little bit more separation I'm going to go up under effect and choose blur, fast blur and we'll just click and drag on the bluriness setting there. So, now you can see exactly what you can do when it comes to adding track mattes and working with blend modes.

You can take your graphics from blah to hey that's kind of interesting.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for After Effects CC Essential Training
After Effects CC Essential Training

135 video lessons · 63495 viewers

Ian Robinson
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 8s
    1. What is After Effects?
      1m 8s
  2. 1h 5m
    1. Welcome
      1m 11s
    2. Using the exercise files (CC 2014.1) NEW
      1m 57s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 19s
    4. Understanding and managing applications with Creative Cloud (CC 2014.1) NEW
      2m 32s
    5. Which versions of After Effects CC does this course cover? (CC 2014.1) NEW
      1m 40s
    6. Relinking missing footage
      1m 54s
    7. Working with keyboard shortcuts
      1m 23s
    8. Different ways to use After Effects
      59s
    9. Exploring the interface of After Effects (CC 2014.1) NEW
      13m 22s
    10. Exploring the interface of After Effects
      12m 0s
    11. Exploring important preferences, and setting up the cache (CC 2014.1) NEW
      8m 44s
    12. Exploring important preferences and setting up the cache
      6m 20s
    13. Video terminology (CC 2014.1) NEW
      6m 19s
    14. Video terminology
      4m 24s
    15. Updating After Effects with Creative Cloud
      1m 25s
  3. 1h 0m
    1. The six foundations of After Effects
      11m 5s
    2. Understanding compositions
      10m 35s
    3. Creating and manipulating layers
      9m 49s
    4. Building animation
      6m 29s
    5. Working with effects
      7m 5s
    6. Introduction to 3D
      8m 45s
    7. Understanding how to render
      6m 48s
  4. 38m 54s
    1. Importing elements
      5m 53s
    2. Organizing projects
      3m 51s
    3. Building compositions with layers
      6m 17s
    4. Animating with keyframes
      10m 0s
    5. Adding effects and graphics
      8m 7s
    6. Output techniques
      4m 46s
  5. 44m 49s
    1. Exploring composition and project settings
      6m 48s
    2. Importing Photoshop files as compositions
      8m 39s
    3. Importing Illustrator files as compositions
      7m 41s
    4. Viewing files in the comp panel
      4m 42s
    5. Understanding Pre-compose
      4m 21s
    6. Positioning layers with snapping
      4m 55s
    7. Interpreting footage
      4m 0s
    8. Keyboard shortcuts for compositions
      3m 43s
  6. 1h 5m
    1. Defining layers
      5m 4s
    2. Creating type layers
      7m 38s
    3. Precise typesetting techniques
      5m 42s
    4. Creating layer solids and shapes with masks
      9m 6s
    5. Creating design elements with shape layers
      6m 10s
    6. Layer compositing: Masks, switches, and blend modes
      7m 35s
    7. Using track mattes
      4m 49s
    8. Precise compositing with variable-width feathered masks
      9m 24s
    9. Working smarter by swapping layers
      7m 6s
    10. Keyboard shortcuts for layers
      2m 35s
  7. 1h 35m
    1. Understanding animation
      6m 20s
    2. Adding and adjusting keyframes
      9m 52s
    3. Understanding keyframe interpolation (CC 2014.1) NEW
      8m 52s
    4. Understanding keyframe interpolation
      6m 20s
    5. Adjusting keyframes in the Graph Editor
      8m 26s
    6. The power of parenting
      5m 26s
    7. Using null objects
      6m 46s
    8. Creating expressions with the pick whip
      6m 25s
    9. Creating and adjusting motion paths
      9m 56s
    10. Building complex graphics with Pre-compose
      4m 54s
    11. Preparing audio for animation
      8m 57s
    12. Generating graphics with audio
      9m 13s
    13. Working smarter: Navigating the Timeline
      4m 32s
  8. 58m 59s
    1. Understanding the order of effects
      5m 58s
    2. Generating backgrounds with effects
      5m 33s
    3. Generating a scribble effect
      8m 12s
    4. Animating strokes with effects
      6m 37s
    5. Using adjustment layers
      5m 52s
    6. Adding gradients and glows
      4m 30s
    7. Saving pan and scan presets
      5m 20s
    8. Fixing exposure with Levels
      3m 5s
    9. Fixing color casts with Color Finesse 3
      9m 57s
    10. Masking individual effects
      3m 55s
  9. 1h 17m
    1. Understanding 3D in After Effects
      9m 2s
    2. Intro to cameras (CC 2014.1) NEW
      10m 50s
    3. Intro to cameras
      7m 51s
    4. Intro to lights and material options
      8m 56s
    5. Animating cameras (CC 2014.1) NEW
      11m 11s
    6. Animating cameras
      12m 39s
    7. Creating depth of field
      6m 48s
    8. Exploring the ray-traced 3D renderer
      10m 8s
  10. 3h 40m
    1. Understanding CINEMA 4D Lite and After Effects (CC 2014.1) NEW
      1m 53s
    2. Understanding CINEMA 4D Lite and After Effects
      1m 32s
    3. 3D foundations (CC 2014.1) NEW
      9m 49s
    4. 3D foundations
      10m 43s
    5. Matching CINEMA 4D Lite and After Effects projects (CC 2014.1) NEW
      7m 14s
    6. Matching CINEMA 4D Lite and After Effects projects
      8m 9s
    7. Understanding the CINEMA 4D Lite interface (CC 2014.1) NEW
      9m 49s
    8. Understanding the CINEMA 4D Lite interface
      7m 31s
    9. Creating 3D projects from Illustrator files (CC 2014.1) NEW
      7m 20s
    10. Creating 3D projects from Illustrator files
      7m 28s
    11. Exploring modeling in CINEMA 4D Lite (CC 2014.1) NEW
      11m 7s
    12. Exploring modeling in CINEMA 4D Lite
      8m 8s
    13. Applying deformers (CC 2014.1) NEW
      4m 50s
    14. Applying deformers
      5m 59s
    15. Understanding materials (CC 2014.1) NEW
      10m 29s
    16. Understanding materials
      7m 32s
    17. Lighting your scene (CC 2014.1) NEW
      11m 20s
    18. Lighting your scene
      8m 14s
    19. Looking at detailed materials
      7m 51s
    20. Working with presets (materials and lights) (CC 2014.1) NEW
      7m 44s
    21. Animating in CINEMA 4D Lite (CC 2014.1) NEW
      5m 52s
    22. Animating in CINEMA 4D Lite
      6m 51s
    23. Adjusting keyframes in CINEMA 4D Lite (CC 2014.1) NEW
      7m 42s
    24. Animating cameras in CINEMA 4D Lite (CC 2014.1) NEW
      5m 49s
    25. Animating cameras in CINEMA 4D Lite
      5m 45s
    26. Working with CINEWARE (CC 2014.1) NEW
      8m 11s
    27. Working with CINEWARE
      9m 38s
    28. Render settings and the multipass workflow (CC 2014.1) NEW
      7m 28s
    29. Render settings and the multipass workflow
      8m 38s
  11. 23m 35s
    1. Rendering with Adobe Media Encoder
      4m 45s
    2. Recommended settings for rendering graphics
      10m 21s
    3. Creating presets in the Render Queue
      4m 0s
    4. Prerendering with Import and Replace Usage
      3m 18s
    5. Working smarter: One render, multiple outputs
      1m 11s
  12. 36m 53s
    1. Creating type animators
      8m 52s
    2. Creating and animating type on a path
      5m 32s
    3. Animating shape layers
      8m 45s
    4. Animating brushstrokes with Paint
      5m 54s
    5. Animating text and prepairing templates for use in Premiere Pro (CC 2014.1) NEW
      7m 50s
  13. 23m 31s
    1. Retiming with Time Remapping
      8m 56s
    2. Retiming footage with Timewarp
      9m 10s
    3. Smoothing shaky camera footage with Warp Stabilizer VFX
      5m 25s
  14. 16m 6s
    1. Getting started with Keylight
      8m 43s
    2. Refining your key with Keylight
      3m 42s
    3. Cleaning up keys with masks
      3m 41s
  15. 26m 47s
    1. Rotoscoping with paths
      6m 47s
    2. Introducing the Roto Brush
      5m 58s
    3. Refining the Roto Brush
      6m 12s
    4. Using the Refine Edge tool
      7m 50s
  16. 27m 13s
    1. Creating a single point track
      7m 38s
    2. Applying motion with Warp Stabilizer VFX
      4m 29s
    3. Warp Stabilizer VFX: Reversible Stabilization workflow
      7m 47s
    4. Solving cameras
      7m 19s
  17. 6m 30s
    1. Archiving your projects
      3m 50s
    2. Removing unused footage
      1m 25s
    3. Moving compositions between projects in After Effects
      1m 15s
  18. 2m 24s
    1. What's next?
      2m 24s

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