I have a graphic that I want to crop into 4 different parts. I could bring it up in Illustrator and separate the items but I was hoping there was a way to crop those items out in AE first. Looking into it, I see something about using a "region of interest" tool that kind of sounds like what I want to do but I cant find anything that explains how its used, not that I can understand anyway
...and to expand on Rick's comment: Masks in AE are the equivalent of clipping masks in AI. If you want to genuinely "crop" you will have to pre-compose to a sub-composition that only contains the area you need and use those pre-comps in plaxce of your layers. Anyway, reading some basic guides is definitely required here.