Copy&Paste. Jeff Almasol also created a script to automate this when you need to do it en masse. Check his site redefinery.com and Adobe Exchange. Be aware, though, that parametric shape layer items like ellipse, star etc cannot be converted.
copy and paste does not work the way i want it.
if i copy the mask and paste it onto a shape layer, its amask path on a shape layer - not a shape path!
do you know what I mean?
Be sure that you select the path property on the shape layer before pasting.
Hi, I have the same problem and the suggestion didn't work for me. The steps I'm making are:
In a new comp, drag with Rectangle tool creates Shape Layer 1
Pick the Star tool, click Tool Creates Mask button, and draw a star mask over the rectangle
Press F2 to deselect layers, pick Ellipse tool and draw to create Shape Layer 2
Select and copy Mask Path property from Shape Layer 1
Select the Ellipse Path property from Shape Layer 2, and paste
This does not convert the mask to shape but adds the mask to Shape Layer 2
Here's what I'm trying to achieve.
I have a text layer with text on a mask path that is a closed circle and animated. I want to fill that animated circle with color. To achieve that I'm trying to convert a copy of that mask to a shape layer.
Ok, I solved my problem by duplicating the text layer, then Create Shapes from Text, delete the shapes from the Content and added a box that was masked from the already animated path.
Anyway, I still would like to know how mask can be converted to shape and will greatly appreciate help with this.
Shape layers that are created with everything except the pen tool are defined by rules that don't apply to masks. The size, radius, number of points, number of sides are defined by numbers. These numbers create the vectors that create the shapes.
Masks, even when created with the shape tools, are converted immediately to paths. Once a mask is drawn you cannot change the number of points in a star by simply adjusting a number. A shape layer, on the other hand, that was created using the shape tools (Keyboard shortcut q) can be edited after the shape is created by simply adjusting the number of points, inner radius, outer radius and so on. You'll find the shape properties in the timeline under Contents, then Polystar, Rectangle and so forth.
If you want to take a mask and convert it to a shape layer then all you have to do is select the mask path, copy that, then use the pen tool (keyboard shortcut g) to draw any path in the comp window. You then spin down the shape layer's Contents, drill down to Shape>Path, then select the path and paste. Your mask is now a Shape Path.
When copying and pasting shapes I always find it easiest to set a keyframe for the mask path, select the keyframe, copy that, then go to the Shape Layer >Contents>Shape>Path>path and set a keyframe there, highlight the keyframe and paste. This assures you that you're moving the path info and it always works. That's also how you would turn an animated mask into an animated shape layer.
I hope this helps.
Thank you for the great explanation Rick
But this still doesn't work for me:
... If you want to take a mask and convert it to a shape layer then all you have to do is select the mask path, copy that, then use the pen tool (keyboard shortcut g) to draw any path in the comp window. You then spin down the shape layer's Contents, drill down to Shape>Path, then select the path and paste. Your mask is now a Shape Path...
I repeated the same steps as in my previous message, except that instead of "pick Ellipse tool and draw to create Shape Layer 2", I picked the Pen tool and created a closed triangle. The result as before was still pasted mask insted of shape in the target layer.
However, this worked great:
Rick Gerard wrote:
I animated the mask, selected and copied its keys and then selected the path properties of the target in the layers and pasted - worked great. The mask was converted to shape and no keyframes were required for the target. If the target was also animated and its keyframes are on different places than the keyframes of the replacing mask (the source), then I got some interesting morphing animation created by keyframes of star and triangle paths.
I'm glad you found you answer.
The After Effects CC (12.2) update makes creating Bezier paths easier and more obvious.
option for creating shape layers based on Bezier paths:
When a shape tool (Rectangle, Rounded Rectangle, Polygon, Star, or Ellipse tool) is active, you can use the new Bezier Path option in the Tools panel to create a new shape based on a Bezier path, as opposed to the default of creating a new shape based on a parametric path. Holding the Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) key while drawing a shape causes the opposite behavior—i.e., if the Bezier Path option is enabled, holding the Alt or Option key causes the shape tool to create a parametric path; if the Bezier Path option is disabled, holding the Alt or Option key causes the shape tool to create a Bezier path.
command for converting a parametric shape layer path to a Bezier path:
You can convert a parametric path to a Bezier path after the parametric path has already been created by context-clicking (right-clicking or Control-clicking on Mac OS) the property group for the parametric path (e.g., Rectangle Path 1) and choosing the Convert To Bezier Path command from the context menu. If the parametric path is animated (keyframed), the converted Bezier path is a static path based on the parametric path at the current time; keyframes are lost.
IMPORTANT: When you use the Convert To Bezier Path command to convert a parametric shape path to a Bezier shape path, the Bezier path that is created does not animate well (i.e., interpolation between paths behaves strangely and unpredictably). This is related to path direction and how transformations are stored. For now, you should not use these converted paths for animated paths (interpolation between paths); but, if you do want to try, you may be able to work around the issues by reversing the path before conversion.
It's been a while since this was posted, but for anyone interested, here's how I made it work:
Copy mask path, create a new shape layer, click Add: > Path, and paste.
Credits go to this guy: http://motionworks.net/mask_to_shapes/
Simple but you have to know it!
It's amazing ! Finally, the correct answer !!!!!! Thank you so much!