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Masking by painting

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Nick ChambersMasking by painting
by on Jul 18, 2011 at 4:45:32 pm


Was wondering if it was possible to mask or erase parts of a layer like it is photoshop, just by painting with a brush?


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Greg BurrusRe: Masking by painting
by on Jul 18, 2011 at 5:34:29 pm

Yes you can. You can create two layers and set the bottom one to alpha or luma matte. Then you need to enable the brush tool and the brush. You can then open the brush's panel (window > brushes) and you adjust the brush size like in PS.

Hope this helps

Greg - Blog - Portfolio

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Nick ChambersRe: Masking by painting
by on Jul 19, 2011 at 9:17:07 am

One more quick question...Is there a way to customize the brush or use different present shapes like photoshop?

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Angie TaylorRe: Masking by painting
by on Jul 19, 2011 at 10:00:45 am

Hi there,

Although you can use the Luma Matte technique a much easier way is simply to use the paint directly on the layer that you want to make transparent using the Alpha setting for your Brush tool in the Channel menu. To do this;

1. select the Brush tool.
2. Go into the Paint Panel and change the Channel menu to Alpha.
3. Double click the layer that you wish to make transparent to open it up in the Layer panel.
4. In the layer panel, paint with black to make areas transparent, paint with white to make areas opaque. If you paint with varying degrees of grey you'll create varying degrees of semi-transparency.
5. Be aware that the paint will be applied from the frame you begin painting on but paintstrokes can be "stretched" to fill the full duration of the layer. Hit the P key twice in quick succession to open them up in the timeline where you can adjust their duration and other properties.

To answer your other question, you can save your own brush presets in the Brushes panel but you can't create custom shaped brushes or natural media brushes like you can in Photoshop. but remember that you can open video files in Photoshop and use those brushes on them.

Hope this helps.



Angie Taylor animation & illustration for television, film, web and devices
Twitter: theangietaylor
Linkedin: theangietaylor

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Walter SoykaRe: Masking by painting
by on Jul 18, 2011 at 5:51:14 pm

In addition to Greg's method, you can also constraint the paint tools to the alpha channel only to work directly on a layer (avoiding the creation of a separate matte layer). See Paint tools and paint strokes [link] for more.

If you're on CS5 or higher and you want to isolate a specific feature, you might be better off starting with the Rotobrush tool [link]. Read through the docs and check out the examples -- a few minutes spent learning upfront will save you a lot of time actually working with the tool.

Finally, without knowing anything about your project, your skills, and any other approaches to this problem you've already tried, I'll add one last note on paint: just because you can doesn't mean you should. There are a lot of different ways to mask or isolate things in After Effects, and painting might create more problems for you than it solves.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events

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Nick ChambersRe: Masking by painting
by on Jul 18, 2011 at 5:58:28 pm

Thanks for the help guys.

Really appreciated.

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