7 Replies Latest reply on May 7, 2016 5:15 AM by Szalam

    AE cS5.5 using a shaper from AI to make a mask

    karenf1 Level 1

      How can I (or CAN I?) use a shape I import from AI CS 6 into a mask?

      I've watched several videos and searched the HELP in upper right - but can't seem to solve this.

      I'm trying to create a reusable eye for animating several characters. I have 3 layers bottom to top:

      1. a white oval (white of the eye)

      2. a black circle (the pupil)

      3. a larger black oval outline (eye shape)

      I duplicated layer 1 and placed it under layer 3, and can't get that to make the pupil so that when it moves to one side or the other it isn't visible if it moves outside of the "eye shape."

      CAn anyone tell me how I "Make that shape, mask the pupil below it? Many thanks!


      BTW - one of the many ways I tried - was to make a solid layer and try to paste that oval "mask shape" into / onto that solid layer. But i couldn't make that work.

      And I can do this using the Shape Layer tool - but my goal is to use the AI shape. Many thanks!

        • 1. Re: AE cS5.5 using a shaper from AI to make a mask
          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

          Read up on using mattes and by all means do not try to outsmart AE and do everything in one comp. Your pupil and eyeball could just as well be a pre-comp and the clipping outline applied to it in the parent comp.



          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: AE cS5.5 using a shaper from AI to make a mask
            karenf1 Level 1

            I fell off my chair laughing at the thought of ME trying to outsmart AE!!! There's a big "as if!"

            So… Matte. Coming from AI & Flash - only masking occurred to me as a solution. I'm off to learn what a Matte is and how to use one. By any chance - do you know of a really simple tutorial? If so - great! But I'm off to google/youtube/lynda for now.

            Thanks for your help!

            • 3. Re: AE cS5.5 using a shaper from AI to make a mask
              Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              YouTube searches often turn up tutorials of...poor quality. Typing anything you're interested about into the search box in AE's help area will do you better. Here's a relevant part of the help document. However, since you're new to AE, I have somewhere you should probably start first. That'd be this link. AE is very unlike other apps, so getting a solid foundation in how AE works is key to success.

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: AE cS5.5 using a shaper from AI to make a mask
                karenf1 Level 1

                Many thanks. Indeed, AE is very unlike other apps. I find it very hard to learn it. But I keep on trying! Many thanks to this wonderful forum!

                • 5. Re: AE cS5.5 using a shaper from AI to make a mask
                  Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  Hopefully the link I shared will make learning easier for you. Glad to help!

                  1 person found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: AE cS5.5 using a shaper from AI to make a mask
                    karenf1 Level 1

                    Thanks again. I want to share a link for anyone who does a search for learning about track mattes and comes across this post.

                    After Effects - Make masks with Shapes using Track Matte - YouTube

                    The tutorial was so well explained that I got it immediately. Track mattes are very easy to learn after you take the requisite obfuscation punishment AE insists on doling out by the bucketload. I've been an Adobe user for more than a decade and find so many of the programs very intuitive to learn. I even do some programming - yet time after time - I'm stunned by how hard AE is to learn, and then when I finally do manage to learn a bit of it I am struck by a deep down feeling that it shouldn't have been so hard. No other program makes me feel that way. I think there's something really wrong with the way it's designed. I'm reminded of a sweet but wacky  friend of mine who blabs on in a way that I'm always confused - and have to make her stop and explain what she's saying. It's her, not me. And it's AE, not me. The concepts aren't that hard. Oh well. Glad to get that off my chest. And thank YOU Szalam and Mylenium for your help!

                    • 7. Re: AE cS5.5 using a shaper from AI to make a mask
                      Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      I'm glad you found something to help you understand and thank you for sharing it with us!


                      I know what you mean about feeling like AE is a bit roundabout in how things are done. I had that exact same feeling when I first started out with it. I think part of the reason it feels that way is that AE is just so powerful. Things are complicated because you can do a lot with it. But when you're just starting out, you can't see the potential power; you just see the ponderous process.


                      Every time I've sat down and tried to figure out a way to make things simpler or talked with a group of motion graphics artists about ways to make AE better,  there's never been a good solution. Most every idea for making things simpler takes away functionality that is vital to using AE so it gets scrapped. (The ideas that I've had that have been good, have been filed as feature requests.)


                      And there's not really anything you can compare After Effects to. If you compare it to Photoshop or Premiere Pro, obviously AE will look complicated, but that's because AE does so much more than either of them. And you can't really compare it to anything by any other company because there still are no other professional motion graphics packages out there on the market that rival AE.


                      AE is complicated, but that's because it does so very many, very complicated things. If you ever find the time to really learn how to use AE, it will eventually all make sense (well, mostly ). And, if you do see something that you think would make it better, share it with us here in the forums! We can discuss your idea, refine it, and then all of us can file feature requests for it to make it a reality. Feature requests got us the super-handy copy with property links command, the time-saving switch colors option in the Gradient Ramp effect, and many other useful and helpful changes.