Layer Types in After Effects

October 30, 2013 § Leave a comment

Thinking & Practice Tutorial 28/10/13

This tutorial was building up our After Effects knowledge by looking at the different types of layers in compositions. Firstly I created a new composition – 960 x 540 and 10 seconds in duration. I cerated a new solid. This in a sense was the background for our composition – you can choose what colour to set.

Using the pen tool, much like in Photoshop and Illustrator, you are able to draw shapes and close the loop to create a solid object. Once the shape is drawn and the colour is set it cuts it out of the solid layer mask. You can then go on to animate the shape using mask options, and selecting random points to move them around. Once a different part of the timeline is selected and you move the points, the shape will animate when the timeline is being played.

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 13.57.33 Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 14.00.39

You can also use a mask feather to soften the edges of the shape and make it bigger than or smaller than the path. You are not just limited to this one shape however – you can create several masks on the same layer and make them interact using the timeline and by moving the shapes around at different points.

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 14.30.52

I created a circle mask on a new composition and duplicated it twice so there were three overall. With each circle I went into the colour presets and set them to Red, Green and Blue. For each one the values had to be set at the highest number (255) so for example when making the green circle the Red and Blue values were at 0 and Green was at 255. I activated the Toggle Switches/Modes setting so that the circles could be made transparent. This gave the following effect:

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 14.13.36  Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 14.15.36

Then, when creating a new shape on a separate composition you could alter it further. The fill stroke and width could be adjusted and with this you could animate the shape in the same way, using the timeline. You could also activate various other effects such as bevel, rounded edges and dashed lines. As before, changing these aspects at different points in the timeline allowed the shape to be animated as you want it to be.  A fill gradient is also an option.

We then played around with the pivot point (also known as the anchor point) – this allowed us to alter the point at which the shape would rotate around. Under the layer tools there was also other effects to play with – such as the wiggle paths and trim paths, which I experimented with the different settings to see how they affected the animation.


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