1. I would like to be able to temporarily hide the mask OUTLINES so I can see the effect of the mask without the distracting yellow border.
Deselect the layer/ masks? Hiding otehrwise should work, so provide screenshots if it doesn't and we may be able to figure it out.
How to scale just the mask?
You animate the mask shape. Please read the help. No offense, but you will be "dying" many ugly deaths if you don't RTFM which so far you seem to haven't done.
Thanks to both of you for participating in this question! I really appreciate the quick feedback.
Todd, you can be sure that I HAD read that section of the Adobe After Effects Online Help prior to making that post. I would ask that you read through it and point me to the section that deals with transferring a mask created from type to a shape layer. I was unable to find that information in that section, nor in the section that deals specifically with Type and creating masks from type.
Mylenium, oddly, pressing CTRL+SHIFT+H now (and also pressing Toggle Mask and Shape Path Visibility button) both work as expected. I wish I could say what has changed, but that seems to be a non-issue - surely something stupid I did.
As for scaling the mask, the process is still massively unclear to me. Creating a mask from type transfers the mask to a Solid layer. Scaling the solid layer does nothing. The mask itself is ungrouped and uncompounded, meaning that each individual letter, including internal shapes, end up getting their own properties, but those properties do not include Scale. So I can see no way to scale this mask over time. I'd love to learn from the community their best practices around animating masks created from type.
PS: the issue has less urgency now, since I worked around the type mask issue entirely, electing to use a Track Matte instead. But I'd still very much like to learn how it's supposed to be done. How do you get your mask off of a solid layer and into a shape layer?
Here's something that worked for me...
1.Created the text layer.
2.Convert to masks
3. Set a keyframe for Mask Path on each mask
4. move to where you want your animation to stop in the timeline
5. select all the masks (Shift click their names in the timeline)
6. double click one of the mask outlines while all masks selected
This should give you a bounding box around all the masks.
Just Click and drag from one of the corners to scale.
The trick is that you're not technically scaling anything, you're changing the points on your masks.
I hope that helps!