After Effects Apprentice 13: Paint, Roto, and Puppet

with Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer
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After Effects Apprentice 13: Paint, Roto, and Puppet
Video duration: 0s 3h 11m Intermediate Updated Dec 12, 2012


In this course, Trish and Chris Meyer introduce a series of creative tools inside Adobe After Effects. The centerpiece is Paint, where Trish demonstrates how to use the Brush, Eraser, and Clone Stamp tools to draw on a layer, remove portions of it, or repeat elements around a composition. These tools can be used for artistic purposes as well as to repair problem areas in footage. Chris shows off the Puppet tools for distorting layers, and the incredible Roto Brush, introduced in After Effects CS6, which allows you to separately define foreground and background elements so that you can replace backgrounds and selectively add special effects.

The After Effects Apprentice videos on 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 library.

Topics include:
  • Creating, erasing, and animating brush and clone strokes
  • Using Paint to reveal a layer over time
  • Creating animated distortions to flat artwork with the Puppet tools
  • Replacing backgrounds with the Roto Brush
After Effects


- Hi, I'm Chris Meyer of Crish Design, and in this After Effects Apprentice lesson we want to cover three sets of advanced tools, Paint, Roto Brush, and Puppet. In the first portion of this lesson, Trish will demonstrate After Effects paint tools. She'll show you how to use the Brush tool, including its options for duration, channels, and modes, the Eraser tool, which also has its own channels and modes to reveal layers, and the Clone Stamp tool, which makes it possible to repair problems with or add objects to existing layers.

I'll then demonstrate the Roto Brush tool, which helps automate the process of cutting out a foreground object on the background. I'll start with a simple instant gratification exercise just so you can get familiar with the tool. Then I'll walk you through a much more difficult shot, showing you the essential workflow of identifying and defining a base frame, setting the propagation parameters, making corrective strokes over time, and refining the final matte so it blends in nicely over your background. Then we'll end by having some fun and playing with the Puppet tool. I'll show you how to warp and bend flat still image artwork, how to manage overlapping areas, how to control the amount of warp applied to specific areas of an image, and how to deal with images that have complex alpha channels with multiple shapes.

When you master these three tools, you're definitely going beyond the basic After Effects user and becoming a real power user. And these tools have uses both for creative purposes and for visual effects work. So, if you're ready, let's dive in and learn some new tools in After Effects.

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