Ok im going to try and discribe this the best i can im a little noobish at after effects. I am doing a light saber scene in after effects cs5 and have layers in this order at the moment, Footage on top, then a solid layer outlining object i want the light saber to go behind, then my light saber effect... so all i need to do is how can I make the light saber effect layer on top of my footage layer BUT behind my solid layer at the same time with the solid layer being behind my footage? Thanks!
I don't quite understand your description, but like in 99% of such cases you are probably just missing track mattes and also may just need to duplicate the footage one more time, again applying an inverted track matte.
I figured it out I used your idea of making a second footage layer put that on top and masked out what I needed to be infront, key framed it and it seems to be working well. Thanks for the help.