This seems like it should be a simple question but I've looked for an answer for several hours before posting and couldn't find anything. I want to create an effect where a shape (letters that I drew in Illustrator, then imported into after effects and traced) appears from the middle of the screen and expands out, then returns to a smaller size. As it expands, I want it to erase/cover several shapes behind it. (This is all just simple shape layers or .png images, no actual filmed footage or anything) I'm not sure if I should use a null object or maybe one of the included effects for this, or some other way?
------- maybe am not understanding the problem but this is probably fairly straightforward ....
...... Firstly have the animated letter on a separate layer THEN EITHER:
( 1 )---- if the animated letter is physically large enough to entIrely cover the other letter( s ) just make sure its on the top layer ( make disappearing letters transparent when covered if you dont want to see them again )
( 2 ) ----- if the letter isnt big enough and you want to use it as a 'wipe' then set copies of this animating letter as a trackmatte for each of the layer( s ? ) you want to loose - using animated masks to mop up any remaining odds and ends --
You can open illustrator vectors in Ae as shapes ( also you can copy and paste Illustrator vectors as paths which can be useful for animations ) .