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Making Text Masks in After Effects

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[whirring] [ADOBE® TV PRESENTS] [SHORT AND SUITE] [mechanical clunking] [JASON LEVINE] [clunking continues] [KARL SOULE] [clunking continues] [whirring] [SHORT AND SUITE - ON THE ROAD WITH JASON AND KARL] Hi, and thanks for tuning in to Short and Suite. I'm going to show you a couple of techniques for working with text in After Effects where if you want to create sort of a silhouette look of your text and be able to kind of animate something through your text, there's a couple of really simple techniques for doing that in After Effects. They're not new techniques, but I thought I would give you a starting point for your own animations. So to get started, I have a project here. All I've really done in this project so far is I've dropped a video clip in and I've created a text layer-- let me go ahead and turn that on so you can see it-- just using a wonderful font here called Flood Standard I've written the word "Paladin" in this font. Now, what we want to do is we want to get the video clip to actually shine through the letters. So there's a more traditional way of doing this that I'm going to show you to start with, and that is using the Track Matting function inside of After Effects. So to get to the Track Matte function, I need to toggle the switches here so that I can see the column here called Track Matte. And when I do this, what I can do is I can say, "Take this layer, "and I want to use the value of the text layer so I can only see what's visible "inside the text here." So I'm going to go ahead and say, "Instead of No Track Matte, "let's change this to Alpha Matte Paladin." And when I do that, you can see that it's using the alpha value of the text and now I have the video actually shining through the text. So this is the traditional way of doing this. There's another way that's a little bit more complicated. This is good if you want to do things like maybe animate the text from here and have the text fly around on the screen. But there's also a more complicated way that gives you some additional fine-tune control, and that involves actually creating a mask based on this text. So I'm going to go ahead and turn off the Track Matte here, turn on my Text Layer here, and what I'm going to do in this case is I'm going to actually convert this text into a series of masks. So to do this, I'm going to go ahead and select this, go to Layer, and there are some options down here at the bottom. One of them is Create Masks from Text. When I do this, what you'll see happen is my original text layer turns off, and all of a sudden there's a new layer created that's called Paladin Outlines. And if I twirl that down and twirl down the masks, you'll see that there are individual masks for each of the different letters. In fact, in many cases, because of the nature of this font, there's actually multiple masks for each of--like the letter N, for example, has a whole series of different masks because of all these little extra brushstrokes that kind of mimic the look of paint. Now, from here, these are standardized masks, and if I want to, in one pass I can take these and copy them and paste them onto the video. So I'm just going to go ahead and Select Masks, and on my keyboard--you have to do this from the keyboard-- I'm going to hit Control C, and that copies every one of the masks that are on this particular layer. I'm not going to use this layer again. I could actually delete it if I want to. But I'm going to go ahead and just make it invisible for the time being, come down here to my Video Layer and hit Control V, and you see that that now pastes all of these different masks into the video. If I come in here and I twirl this down, you can see here are all the individual masks. And the advantage in this case is if I want to be a little bit more free form in the shape of the video--maybe I want to animate the shape of each of these different masks--I can come in here and the mask path is actually something that is animatable. If you want to see a really cool example of something that involves taking mask paths and animating and kind of morphing from one to the other, I want you to check out a tutorial from a guy by the name of Satya Meka. [] His video is up on It's a wonderful example of somebody who has really delved into After Effects. Basically, in his video he takes an old effect, something called Radio Waves-- it's been in After Effects for many generations now-- and he finds something really, really cool that takes this concept of converting text into masks and then basically projecting radio waves through those masks, and it's a really, really cool effect. I really want you to go and check that out. That's all I have for today. Thanks again for watching. [Executive Producer - Bob Donlon] [Producer - Karl Miller] [Director - Kush Amerasinghe] [Post Production - Erik Espera] [ADOBE® TV PRODUCTIONS -]

Video Details

Duration: 5 minutes and 23 seconds
Language: English
License: All rights reserved
Genre: None
Views: 647
Posted by: adobetv on Oct 7, 2010

After Effects makes it simple to use text as an outline for a different layer. Karl Soule’ explains how.

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