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Everything works as it should.
a) The mesh is based on opaque Alpha contours and cuts off at 50% Alpha.
b) Like any 2D effect it operates within the layer space, not a global space.
You are simply using the tool wrongly/ not understanding how it works. a) can be circumvented by creating a matching opaque layer in a pre-comp which you can turn off after the layer has been created. b) not so much - you have to open 2 views side by side.
Thanks! I think I forewent the necessity to explain that I'm a total newbie
Would you mind letting me know how to affect the grad layer using the matching opaque layer, or pointing me in the right direction for tutorials?
Thanks so much...
Simply copy&paste your mask on another solid below the gradient and line everything up. Create the puppet mesh based on this, then turn off the extra solid in the pre-comp.