Introduction to Masking Layers in Adobe After Effects
Adobe After Effects is a unique program built with loads of tools and functions used for video editing and adding effects on the videos after they are shot or produced; in simple words, Adobe After Effects is mostly used for post-production editing and modifying. Masking Layers in Adobe After Effects is used mostly by graphic designers, Game artists, video editors, and Television and film editors. The most important use of the program is to compose, animate, and track videos and compositions. Masking Layers in Adobe After Effects is used worldwide because of its features. It is a non-linear video editing program that helps users compensate for their difficulties and issues.
As said earlier, Masking Layers in Adobe After Effects are the powerhouse of effects, and one such function that can be termed as Effects is the use of Masks. Masking a layer in After Effects is easier and simpler than in other video editors.
How to Mask Layers in After Effects
- The masking process may seem tricky, but once understood and performed practically, you can gain a lot of knowledge about creating amazing effects with the help of masking. The process can be achieved with two different methods. The first method uses the Simple Regular masking technique, while the second involves using a shape layer mask.
- The difference between the two arises if we create a shape when the layer is selected, it creates a normal mask on the layer. While, if nothing is selected, and we create a shape on the composition, a shape layer mask is created.
- A more important criterion here is the use of different modes in the masking process. We have at least six different modes that pose different effects and results. These modes play an important role when creating masks with layers.
Examples of Masking Layers in Adobe After Effects
Below are three examples of Mask Layers in After Effects :
Example – 1
1. Launch After effects.
2. Create a new project and composition.
3. Import an image as shown in the figure given below
4. Keep the image selected and click on the shape tool, to create a mask on the layer.
5. Create Another Mask Using the Rectangle Tool as shown in the figure :
6. The mask created will be inside the image option in the Timeline menu. We can see the Mask Path on the timeline in the drop-down menu.
7. By default, the mode selected is always ADD, while we can change and see the effects that take place while changing the modes in the timeline panel
8. Edit this path using the shortcut V or M to modify the Masks properties.
9. Similarly, we can use any shape or path to create a mask on the layer.
Example – 2
1. Create a new composition and check the settings of the composition
2. Import an image in the Timeline menu, as shown in the figure.
3. Make sure nothing is selected, click on the shape tool, and create Rectangle as shown in the figure
4. Make sure the shape created is above the layer of the image to be masked.
5. Now, to create a mask, use the option Alpha Matte from the Tracking options in the Timeline menu.
6. This method of creating a mask is also easier and doesn’t involve using the Modes used in the above example.
Example – 3
This example shows how to create an animation using the Masking process of a layer. In this example, we have used the common masking technique to show how to mask a text and animate it simultaneously.
1. Create a new composition and check the settings of the composition.
2. Using the Text tool, write a text in the Composition panel
3. Make sure that the layer is selected, and create a rectangle as shown in the figure; this will create a mask on the text.
4. From the Timeline panel, click on the Text drop-down menu to see an option of Mask Path. Using this option, we will create an animation of the text.
5. Now, select the mask and move it as shown in the figure.
6. Click on the KEY option of the Mask Path at the origin of the timeline.
7. After 2:00 seconds, change the position of the mask as shown in the figure.
8. Again, after 2:00 seconds, change the position of the Mask
9. Finally, change the position as shown in the figure
10. When you play the animation using the Space bar, you will see a text effect created using the masking process.
11. We can even change the mode and see the desired results by changing different modes in the text.
The above lesson taught us much about masking the layers and their different techniques and procedures. The above examples show how to resize and move or rotate the masks. The techniques are easy and understandable to the users and will help them perform various masking functions and create advanced effects. While only some tools are used in the above example, we can use more shapes and pen tools to create masks and paths.
This is a guide to Masking Layers in Adobe After Effects. Here we discuss how to Mask Layers in After Effects with examples. You can also go through our other related articles to learn more –
- Mask in After Effects
- Adobe After Effects Plugins
- Adobe After Effects Plugins
- Adobe Premiere Pro vs After Effects