This is a technique--when the character moves the pattern in the clothing remains static. It looks as though it's masked out and it's used on multiple characters. So, different patterns associated w/ different characters.
Can anyone tell me whether this is something set up in AE? I've googled around and don't see any easy solutions for it. I'm fairly new to After Effects but it seems like I should be able to use masks on different layers for something like this. Can anyone help or just give me some suggestions?
Thanks for any insight or ideas!
If you had a pattern layer underneath the main footage layer, then you would just have to make the clothing portions of the main footage layer transparent. You could do this with animated masks (which would be enormously tedious) or you could plan ahead and have the clothing be a distinctive color---essentially using a green screen as an article of clothing rather than as a backdrop.
With multiple characters, you'd just have to have a precomposition for each one, and you'd composite the chunks of the scene over one another. If the characters interact and overlap, you might end up having to do some rotoscoping.
Look into color keying, rotoscoping, and track mattes to get started. Here's a page that introduces all of these basic compositing concepts:
What you're describing is somewhat ambitious if you're new to After Effects. Don't neglect getting a good grounding in the basics first:
Thanks so much Todd! That's extremely helpful. And also helpful to know it's not very easy! I'll experiment a bit and perhaps choose a simpler style for my project for now.