5 Replies Latest reply on Dec 16, 2011 3:08 PM by acoates99

    Using an AI Object as a Mask in AE CS5

    acoates99 Level 1

      I have a "brush stroke" object in an AI file that I want to use in AE.  My goal is to have the brush stroke animated so it looks like it is being painted on the screen.  I have created a shape layer in AE and then copied and pasted the object from AI into the layer.  My problem is getting the brush stroke to work as a mask for a red solid.  How can I make this work and then animate the red solid to fake the effect of a painted brush stroke?


      My Layers:




      My "brush stroke" with red solid in the composition:



        • 1. Re: Using an AI Object as a Mask in AE CS5
          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

          Use the layer as a track matte on the solid. for painting on strokes, create a central path, use effects like Stroke to reveal (or even a shape layer path with a trim paths modifier). for an arcing stroke such as yours also a radial wipie might work...



          • 2. Re: Using an AI Object as a Mask in AE CS5
            acoates99 Level 1

            Where is the Track Matte menu?  Adobe's help says the below but still can't find it.


            The TrkMat menu shares a column with the blending modes menu. To show the TrkMat menu, make sure that the Modes column is visible. (See Columns.)

            • 3. Re: Using an AI Object as a Mask in AE CS5
              Dave LaRonde Level 6

              That's what I hate about AE's online help: no illustrations, and no relevant labels on them. 

              The info's all there, but it's darned near impossible to digest unless you've already memorized every bit of AE's arcane user interface lingo.  They apparently wrote it for software engineers, not people trying to learn the application.


              • Find the column containing layer names. 

              • Go to the top of it. 

              • Right-click in that top section to reveal other columns you can display on the left side of the timeline. 

              • Chose Modes and click on it.

              • The Modes column is now visible.


              Your next adventure: deciphering AE Help's less-than-illustrative way of explaining Track Mattes to the novice.

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Using an AI Object as a Mask in AE CS5
                acoates99 Level 1

                Thanks, Dave.  I have been able to create the matte now.  I used Alpha under the TrkMat column.



                This does the effect I am going for.  Now all I have to do is animate the solid and get results.  I will post my findings to this topic when possible.

                • 5. Re: Using an AI Object as a Mask in AE CS5
                  acoates99 Level 1

                  Hey everyone,


                  I thought I should post my final results after using the track mattes to make a brush stroke effect.


                  1. Built your brush strokes in AI, seperating each stroke into its own layer (not sublayers).
                  2. Import the AI file into AE by the individual layers.
                  3. In AE, placed the different imported brush strokes into separate layers in a composition.
                  4. After that, created a shape layer below each brush stroke layer.  Example:
                  5. Placed an ellipsis on each shape layer to act as the color.  Pick whatever color you would like the final brush stroke to be.  These were placed just outside of the brush stroke so the color will not be visible on frame 1.
                  6. Then animate the position of the ellipsis to move along the brush stroke.  Example:
                  7. Once the path is correct, you will not apply 2 effects to the shape layer.  Effect 1: Echo.  Effect 2: Gaussian Blur.
                  8. Be sure to have the Echo effect is above the Blur effect in your layer/effect options.  You may get a really strange error on the blur if not.
                  9. Increase the number of echoes under the effect options.  This depends on how long you want the stroke to last in your animation.  If you want it to be permanent, just make the number 500 or so.  It will last a long time.
                  10. Change the echo operator to Maximum.
                  11. Change blurriness to 7 under the gaussian blur effect options.
                  12. Now to make the shape layer act as if it is painting the brush stroke.  Use Dave's instructions above to get the Track Matte Menu visible.
                  13. Select Alpha for the TrkMat on the shape layer.  Be sure the brush stroke layer is invisible.
                  14. Then test your animation.  It should look something like this:


                  I hope this helps someone out there trying to do the same thing I am!