Adobe After Effects CC

How to use masks to control effects

Learn how to limit an effect to a specific area using a mask on the layer, without additional adjustment layers or track matte layers, and then change properties on a per-mask basis. (Try it, 7 min)

FromTotal Training

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Effects in Adobe After Effects CC contain compositing options that make it easy to blend any effect with the original clip, as well as modify only a portion of a clip, without additional adjustment layers or track matte layers.

Use the Mask Reference property to affect a single layer mask or multiple masks — respecting add, subtract, intersect, lighten, darken, and difference settings a per-mask basis. In addition, you can save your masks and effects as animation presets so that you can apply them easily in future projects.

Download the sample files and try it out for yourself.

Adjustment layer limitations (1:25); Effect compositing options (2:40); Watermark effect (5:30)

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Brian Maffitt

Brian is President and Chief Creative Officer of Total Training. He is devoted to great training, crafted by an extraordinary creative team for exceptional customers. Brian also produced many award-winning software plug-ins for After Effects, including "Shatter" — which Adobe acquired and now bundles in After Effects. Brian's plug-ins have been featured prominently in untold commercials and films, including The Incredibles. Follow him on Twitter: @bmaffitt.


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