Join Mark Christiansen for an in-depth discussion in this video Shortcuts: Draw and edit a mask, part of After Effects Compositing: 5 Rotoscoping & Edges.
- The After Effects Pen tool has been stream-lined to stay out of your way as you work on a mask. Let's look at how it allows you to stay focused on roto. I can activate the Pen tool with the G key. Now, I already had the Pen tool active previously, and you see a feather icon. This is the Mask Feather tool, and it's the other mode of the Pen tool. So I'm just going to click again and go back to the Pen tool. So, I can toggle between the two of them with G. And those are the two modes.
I'm going to click a few points to get started. There's a single point. I'll pull out some bezier handles down here at the end. Click another single point. Pull out some handles. And close that mask. So these two points are corners no beziers. And these have beziers. Now immediately, I can switch to a Selection tool to move points around or select or deselect them. Just by holding down the cmd key. So I just deselected my points that way.
If I continue to hold down the cmd key, it switches to a tool that is used to delete points. So I don't really need to do that here. If I hold it over a vertex, I can use it to move the vertex. Which is a little bit more useful here, but still not quite what I'm wanting to do. Instead, I'm going to release it and then as I approach an individual vertex it becomes a Cursor tool. So I didn't switch to the V key. I just switched to a Cursor by moving my Pen tool to the individual vertex.
Now, there I have two points selected. So I could either click away from them, as I did before, to deselect or just select a separate point and now that becomes the actively selected point. Now, that takes us through a lot of the options. And all that's really left is everything to do with the option key or alt on windows. So by activating option, I see this carrot and that's used to adjust bezier handles. Here are the things that it can do.
It can toggle beziers on and off. So I can turn that into a corner, and back to the default beziers. Not the ones I had drawn out before. I can grab a handle and break the beziers, so they're now non-uniform. Or I can add beziers where they don't currently exist. And do be careful about the direction you're going, that you're not crimping your line. So again, if I want to add another point all I have to do is move down to an open vertex and place that one in.
By default it has beziers because they are there on the adjoining frames. But here I can retract them or pull them back out. And gradually, I get a whole mask. Now there's one thing to watch out for. If you want to select the entire mask and adjust it, you can double-click on a point. And you get the Transform box. And that's great because you can use that to rotate or move the entire mask. However, notice that I've now switched to the Cursor tool.
So, as soon as I accept that, I'm going to have to go back to the Pen tool to start working with that again. And that's going to happen every time I click on to activate the entire mask. So, that's it. All the Pen tools to adjust a mask are available in a single mode, working in either the Layer or Composition viewers.
- Selecting a target
- Applying a mask
- Starting a mask with a shape
- Breaking down shots of clean plates
- Creating points and Bézier curves quickly
- Building articulated rotos with in-between frames
- Adding soft edges and motion blur
- Working with the clone brush
- Getting the most from the Roto Brush