Art & Design > Motion Graphics > Adobe® After Effects® > Creating & Animating Vector Masks

Creating & Animating Vector Masks


Adobe® After Effects®


Lesson Info

Creating & Animating Vector Masks

All right, we're going to get into vector masks and if you're already an illustrator user or a photo shop user, you're going to recognize the tool we did just use it once on a previous session of animating text on a anus plein and we're going teo look at the different ways that we can animate vector mask or spine based masks without getting into what they're called shapes because we're going to cover that tomorrow but it's basically the same thing but this is applied to another layer so let's start with just a new layer so I'll start with a solid layer and let's pick some thing a little deeper maybe something in that it's really in kind of color and that's just a solid layer and I've got that layer selected and I want to draw a mask on it. There was a couple different ways you can apply a mask to a layer if you just go up to the layer and say mask and say new mask well that's going to create just a rectangular mask layer uh the a way that you can modify that in a couple different ways ...

this actually go to mask shape you go to rodeo busier or you can actually go to a masque shape here and you can adjust it you can make it a smaller uh smaller mask just by changing some of the numbers around so it's rectangular you could do it that way you can go teo mask shape here and select from rectangle to ellipse and then you could give it actually make it a circle so let's go to zero and zero and five hundred and five hundred try that that should give us a perfect circle there you go and so that's our mask now the mask is just it is doing exactly what it's doing says it's a mask it's masking what's on that layer that doesn't mean that the layer is now that size cr layer is still this full size see this little red point out here that's our can't see that spotlight that well there in black but the that is our anchor point, so if we want to move that anchor point to the middle of this mask, we would have to move it there and then you know we have our options for rotating and in doing other transformed functions that's not necessary because the mask actually floats around on its own out here. So if I twirl this down and look here, said there's masks there's my mask and troll this down and I click on mask path that selects all the points in that mask so I can drag that mask around in there and that basically just reveals what's on that layer let me move the actual layer down a bit okay? And then I grab my mask and if I grabbed the mask itself go back to mask him from ask then I can reveal what's outside there see the edges of the layer because I moved the layer down so I'm just revealing something so that's all the mask it does is it reveals things something go back to position actually I'll go back to my transform and reset so that everything is all in the right place and then my mask I could grab and moving around there we go so I could do things with this mask over time like we can any other function uh transformed function or anything else as long as we've got a stopwatch next to it a couple things we do we can change the shape in the mask over time so I'll put a key frame there I can change the feathering of the edge of the mask so if I come out here to one and say I make the shape a little smaller or I modify it in some way then I can come in here and actually I'm just gonna change it one one thing at a time one piece at a time so I just hit the shift key and select a point in de selected see I can actually modify the shape of this mask just by changing my busy acres so I could do that over time and then I can increase my feathering like so so let's bring this back down here and you can see the feathering is happening over time the shape of the mask is changing over time and that's the general uh general way that mass work let's delete the mask altogether that's just creating a mask from scratch if I use the pen tool to create a mask uh that way I can make a custom shape that I want and this is what we're going to get into with the proceeding exercises here, but just to show you just clicking and dragging and making a mask shape or the vector shape it's basically what we're doing here and then close it then we've got this, you know, crazy shape in here that we can modify and move around like so it's just if you're used to using bessie a curves and creating things in illustrator or in photo shop with um with, uh, the pen tools and you'll be very comfortable using this particular tool so again our mask path another thing that can be animated let me just move a few points around here now if I grabbed the whole thing, the whole thing will move, so keep that in mind use the shift key can just select certain points out if I am and just moving a few things around, it will show some kind of motion range of motion here over time another thing we can animate is uh our expansion man mask its expansion so if we come out here we can either expand it or contracted and that's really important when we're masking things to do kind of roto work in roda work meaning we're isolating parts of video that allow us to you hide or reveal certain layers and that'll make more sense here in a minute but just so we can see that those points are animating so I've got it contracting and it's moving in the there's a little bit of feather on that so that's it with motion I mean we're going to get into some of the vector animations maurine the next couple days where we're converting logo's from illustrator vector format to shape layers where we can actually change and morph the outline of the logo on dh do that over time we'll be able to do more three d exclusions and things like that but a ce faras doing road a work this is one way of doing rhoda were isolating something whether it's a sky or you're trying to block something out or you trying to isolate an object that's on the scene and you want to cut it out of that scene or you want to do some kind of an effect or colorizing this is a really important part of filmmaking really eyes to be able to do this type of work you got a question can you use it for for example, if you have ah footage with the person and the leiden was bad and if you wanna add light and just to the face I'm not at all like most definitely there's there's ways to just I just process the part of the image that you want and this is how you do that um being able to uh I see a face would be a great example on here I don't have one with me right now but a face it is a good example of another feature which I'm going to show here in a minute that you can take parts of the path in here and you'll be able to feather the edges of one part of one segment a little more than you do the others. And so if you're doing a head or face or something that has, you know, soft edge but parts of it are hard edge, you know, that's the type of thing where you could do that, it takes time and this is something that requires a lot of patients. Obviously you have to kind of go frame by frame or every few frames and then updated tweak it you do a lot of working back and forth and we're going to see some of that here coming up so that's the basic movements of just creating some kind of a path with your you with your mask shape here enough! I turn off my feathering here and I come back up to, um my pen tool if I click down here we can see there's the mask feather tool and that's the bottom one of this dropdown selection if I grab that and I click somewhere on the path here and move it, you see that I'm actually controlling the feathering of the whole thing if I undo that and I just grab a selection here like right here on the hath well, it will do that and I can move it around here, but then I can grab another peace here just click wants click again here and we'll notice that only this part of the path has the feathering in it and I can control how much it feathers. I can control that over time. So that's a that's a really important thing to be able to do and aiken obviously had more over here and wherever I click in between here it just it just feathers between the points that I've clicked between see so here's my feathering there, the one thing that won't do is it won't combine internal feathering and external feathering on the same path the same time you can you change a pass the day of the math they're most definitely capacity is down here then that could be selected as a is something you could do over time, so if you don't want one hundred percent capacity on your mask, you can change it over time and what that does is because we've got black in the background, it's just it's just kind of disappearing on us there, but the beauty of that iss is if you just want to do something very subtly but your effect has to be a full blown effect, then you can apply it to that layer with a mask and then just take the mask down without having to change the transparency of your layer that works really well, okay, so I've got an example here uh, more flying helicopter footage ii maximized this as much as I can. So in a shot like this, maybe I want to colorize the water a bit or isolate it s so that I could make it bluer or whatever and there's a couple ways of doing that one we're going to get into in the next couple days where we're using the road abroad school, but a quick and dirty way of doing this is also with the pen tool to make a mask and this is where you will, you know, start with your general mask and I just kind of do a rough outline around here and you see this is time consuming way have a quick question why you're sure I'm thomas in austin asks can you disable or turn off the visibility of a mask without deleting it only by the mask layer I don't believe you can um I don't think you can just disable it it's kind of like well with layer styles I guess you can turn those on and off but but with the mask you have to either play with the opacity of it um because there's no there's no visibility function on there unless you just you know select you have done but add is typically the thing or you can subtract so you're selecting everything but the mask but that's typically it so in here what I would do again my video is moving on may um I'd probably want to duplicate that layer and then get rid of the mask on the bottom layer because I don't want that mask in there I want that to be visible and sometimes when I do this I'll either throw in effect on it or I'll just lower the capacity of the uh of the bottom layer just so that I can really see what I'm working on so we set my capacity that layer down there we go okay? So that's just my bottom layer it doesn't have any mask on it I'm just look I just need it for reference so I can see what I'm working on so this is where I'll zoom in and refined it's a little bit so you can see I'm off a bit here again this is a very time consuming thing I'm not gonna bore you with sitting here for five hours doing this over time but you get the idea of where these vectors really come into play and how useful they could be so and just trying to get a rough idea here that's obviously gonna move because there's a train there uh just getting a rough idea okay, so I'm just going to do some of that now this is where I would probably use the mask feather tool on dh grab a little bit out here and then go down the line here and see where it is where I wanted to be a little cleaner edge so I'll go from there to there uh wanted clean here but I don't necessarily want to clean here so feather that a little bit work my way down clean it up just a little bit down here seeing see where I'm going down the line harris is feathering this mask a little in some of these areas where the shorelines a little fuzzier pretty much fuzzy all the way up there and same thing with down here I'm just gonna let it go fuzzy okay, so now I've created a general mask on one frame of video okay, so what I want to do is select that two key frame that and then come out a couple frames well too many frames and see where we are get back down here, tio okay, I'm way off there I've got this really shrunk and down here so I just wanna have kind of a couple points here so I'm I'm way out there let's go just a few frames here so you can see how much work it takes to roto some of this stuff so what I have to do at this point is actually moved the points that I need to match the shoreline again I'm gonna come back up to a higher sign off this one needs to come in here again this is kind of like watching paint dry watching somebody else do it you know? So probably do this a little bit I'm just going to slop through it so you can see the motion and this guy here okay that's close enough on that. So anyway, what I can see here is that that's going to follow along the path those few frames okay? And, uh we're gonna take a look at that let's see, I may go ahead and add some color or something to that just so that we can really see what it looks like so uh let's go back out to two hundred and I'm going to add do do do do let's go color correction on how about something crazy like hugh saturation liken saturate this. So this is an effect it's a built in effect it's called hugh saturation. You photoshopped user you already know about this. The nice thing is you can animate it if you want to. Uh, most of the the options in here are animated ble so I'm going to just increase my saturation uh, go to something crazy. See here, um and just get do something a little wilder let's goto this ugly blue in here that's pretty crazy, actually let's colorize it let's make it something else that maybe better. Um, because if we do that let's see it's go to let's do this. The nice thing is we can combine several things here and this is why I'm doing this because we learned a few things earlier today. Let's go back up to hundred percent. Now, this is really ugly and there's a reason for it is because I'm going to change my blending mode so I'm gonna go up here to blending mode and let's, just try let's, try overlay first. So what that does that's pretty intense. So maybe I'll just bring my capacity down. I can try another one let's try aplenty mode just color what that does, okay, and then we can adjust it like so it's not really good color correction but you get the idea so if I just ran preview that it's really fast because it's only three frames but you can see that you can animate that if I keep going to like whoa it doesn't do anything out there it's really messed up but you can see that if I zoom in here let's go to full resolution that might help to you you can see that the mask will follow us going to the home button that puts us on the first frame so if I go out of the range that mask obviously goes but if we look at this we can see that we can manipulate that over time that's one way of doing road oh that's a really quick and dirty way of doing it. This is probably a little more complex than I would want to tackle that because it's not just objects moving on a locked off camera the cameras moving and flying with it that it might be a little rough but that's the gist of it that's how you kind of get into their to mask things out where you can do some color correction you can do some replacement you could put another body of water in the air or something it was the right angle o r a sky or whatever so that gives you an idea of that I've got another project that I'd like to show and while I'm bringing that up if there's any questions that might be a good time for that otherwise let's just bring up the other uh file here see and let's go ahead and save this one so I think I have a question okay great yes yes I was wondering there's um it's not possible to make it so it knows that that the sea and that stays there that doesn't we don't have to do mainly like tracks it's no yeah there is well there is the rodeo brush tool and that's how we're going to get into tomorrow I believe tomorrow wednesday in the next two days we'll be getting into the roto brush tool it's a different tool it does you know it does track some things there is a refinement to it now which you could draw along the shoreline there we're going to do that so you'll see be able to compare using this method vs that method you'll see that's the right tool for that job um sometimes it's pretty computational intensive where this's quick and dirty if you want to just do something quick just do a quick roto mask feather like crazy and just do general colorizing this really you know works for that there's there's a lot of movement here so let me open up another project todo si I think I need to hide this and here it is in here now this project um, has uh doing the same type of thing, but the car is moving it's going down the road and we wanted to add some effects toothy background because they're a little bit too in focus they're a little too sharp and wanted to kind of create, uh, zooming effect so if we hide this top layer here and we look and see adding this zooming effect to it that's actually think with those radio blur, zoom mode and that's actually, um giving us kind of a centered zoom of that effect throughout the whole picture, but now the car is also distorted, so we want to hold out the car in the wheel and everything, so that stays nice and neat, so I've got that layer let me go up to let's just go to one hundred percent, so I know what I've got to work with, all right in the same thing where I've got my mask tool go back up here to my pen tool and going to draw in here and I think I'll just do that a little bit make a sharp edge there will notice if I click and drag that gives me the busier handles that's, the same as in photo shop and an illustrator so just going to make a hard one there and give a little bit of a band there a little bit here and another one down here and then one down here it's a little bit handles my move that over then just gotta close it means I just have to come all the way around till closes and if you'll notice that the cursor changes there there's a little circle that comes up with it that means when you click that that's going to close the mask okay so what I've done now is I've masked off this front layer if I hide the back one will see that there's nothing back there so we'll probably do that some as we're going through here me go to two hundred percent so I couldn't really see what I'm doing and in this case I'm going to pull this in and pull these in handle's come on a little too crazy there not going to try to make it perfect just enough so you can see how the process works and then there's the defender of the car um this one I may get just a little bit of a feather on it because I don't want it to be super hard so let's just try to pixels and see what it looks like yeah maybe a little more for pixels okay two was enough and I see what's going on it's actually I can see some of the background out here so I need to just adjust my path and pull that point in ok alright again I have to just set my mask path stopwatch start that there and we'll see oh hey the mask isn't moving but the wheels are so even though the camera was locked off to the side of the car it's attached to the side of the car there was enough movement in the car you can see it bouncing up and down a little bit probably could have resolved that with a little bit of image stabilization could've stabilized the footage that would have locked the car off a little better and that made my masking job a little easier but I have to kind of follow that along just so that it works because you don't always get the foot is you really want so what I'm going to do is see where things moves I see the tyre bounces a little bit right about there, so I'm going to come down here and make my modifications here find the edge come out here find the edge this one isn't is drastic is the one with the train in the bay uh because things don't move that far out of frame the only thing that really moves the most here is that the tire and there's only four points we have to move here um this one here because there's a little bounce is showing a little bit and you can be a little sloppier with uh this type of mask if you were either just doing colorizing who are some isolation of something where the layers sitting on top of itself so your edges don't have to be exactly perfect, it just depends on the effect that you're trying to do and what you're trying to mask out now if I wanted this to be it was going to put this on a white background with text and all of that then I definitely want a really clean mask edge I don't want it to look like owen just cut that out with a pair of scissors you know? So you want to stay away from that type of an effect so one way to test it is to clique off the mask and look and see it's like yeah, I've got some edge silliness going on there and then I can look and see does it really matter? Well there's my background and is it really going to show no it's not going to show that I've got some some issues with my mask in here? So between those two points you can see that the little yellow mask moving in there as I scrubbed through that little maskell lines moving but it's not that big of a deal so it's still functional and some of this also with a shiny surface like that you're seeing reflections of other elements into it and that can throw you off to again oh gosh having a real problem there so I can keep going down the line and moving this mask where I need it best to turn off the zoom layer there so I'm not having that conflict and I'll just make a couple more adjustments here and then we'll move on okay? You know, once you see the road oh brush and how it works you'll be thankful that I showed you this because the roto brush does something's really, really well and other times it's frustrating as hell to try to get it to do exactly what you're thinking that it should dio and a lot of times it's operator here in my case it's operator here or I'm just impatient or, you know, there's a myriad of things, but when we get into that you'll see there's times where this is important to you and the rotor brush that's important to use and I'll show you ah rhea world project when we get into the green screen segment, I may show you a little ahead of time that we start talking about rhoda brush because there's on exercise that we use for this from from ah film project that it worked on and they give us rights to distribute the clip and everything so we'll have it in the the assets in the project files but you use a combination of this technique along with some rodeo brush along with some green screen keen all in one film one clip it's like you know the perfect storm of stuff that could go wrong and it's great though because it allows us tio really use all of these techniques in one shot because there's there's no one tool that does everything for every century situation so so let's see here we've got a few frames they're just gonna render him here quick question. Okay sure go for a quick question to clarify thomas in austin asked is this mask its own layer and then um polly follows up with and does it clip or attach like it would in photo shop uh this mask is attached to this layer it's attached to the top layer which I've got here which is this car so it's the duplication of the bottom layer without the effect basically so see, this is this mountain movie um ceo because it's showing the mask so if I go down here and um just set it to none and that click off it will see no come on, click off the mask thank you um it's it's it's it's its own entity on the layer itself so the mask itself isn't a layer we're going to get into that's either tomorrow or the next day I got see where these all fall into place because there's so many things we could go down so many rabbit holes here where the mask could be ah on a layer like this and then I can use transfer functions between layers where uh could do a track matt where uses that layer that you mask that can use that as a mask itself so there's so many ways to go through this again after effects is such a deep application I'm trying not to make people's heads explode or confuse you know too much at one time but to answer the question directly the mask does belong to this layer so if I turn the layer off it's it's gone I mean it's it was only visible cause I still selected that layer but it is attached to that later so okay so I've got just that little segment done there just do a quick little ran preview and we'll see okay, that works I turned off my mask it's good the way where's my zooming background here we go none would goto ad there we go. Uh so there's just I only have three key frames in there for that little bit of space and I've gone tio you know that's a full thirty seconds, thirty seconds but thirty frames so I didn't have to do that much work on this one like I did with the train where at a lot of movement got something subtle like this that's works luckily I've got one that is complete and well just lips let's put out and rendered out and again this is one of the things that will be included in those bonus materials most definitely and again there's no third party plug ins here this is actually an effect that that ships with uh aftereffect cc so here's our final result with the effect in the background but the foreground is isolated so it's nice and clean and with that effect a mouse will show that to you I do have something moving on time here uh the amount of the effect as well is the point where the zoom is happening um if I come down here to my effects I'll be able to look at my radio blur you see I've got some key frames here on the effect so just to show you that yes I mean effects can have uh key frames as well if there are getting stopwatches you can change things so you can see that my zoom here on this little point here watch that change over time oops space bar lets me render it while I'm seeing things move so follow that little guy go and that's my center point of the effect and then while that's happening you can see that thea amount is increasing so I'm jumping from you know thirty percent there and as the car starts to go pick up speed it's going faster faster faster till we're you know in hyper space there that's dealing with the vector masks in that aspect

Class Description

Adobe® After Effects® Creative Cloud® is a hallmark broadcast video and film production program — but it has so many functions, it’s hard to know where to start. In this essential video-editing class, renowned video producer and Adobe® Certified Expert Jeff Foster will walk you through how to use the many functions of Adobe® After Effects® to enhance your projects with visual effects and motion graphics.

You’ll learn the basics for controlling movement, animating simple objects and 3D space, create interesting text and title animations, composite videos with and without green screen. Using real-world production examples, Jeff will guide you through this complex program and unpack the tools and terminology so that you can apply your skills right away and with confidence.

Software Used: Adobe After Effects CC (12.0)