Getting Started with After Effects – Lesson 5 – Masks

This topic always seems to throw compositors who are new to After Effects for a bit of a curve.  Masks and Masking in After Effects can be called a wide variety of different terms.  You might hear someone say “Oh, I have to garbage matte all that green screen footage!” or “I’m going to spend the afternoon doing some rotoscoping on that footage that I just got”.  Both the terms “Garbage Matting” and “Rotoscoping” refer to  masking in After Effects.  They are just terms that are specific to the task that is being performed.  A basic mask can be something simple like a rectangle or a circle that isolates part of a layer on screen.  A Garbage Matte is a mask that has been quickly drawn around a subject and animated over time to help “fix” a bad shot or chromakey.  Rotoscoping refers to the task of creating very specific masks around an object to cut it out from the background.  We’re going to look at these terms and more in this lesson.  What we’re also going to do is to start to take some of the concepts that we have learned in previous lessons, to create a quick, simple and effective mask animation with text.  Once you see how basic the workflow is, and how great the end effect is, you’ll realize that not only are masks simple to implement in your workflow, but they’re also super powerful!

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