Shape Layers VS Masks

Maggie Osama
A free video tutorial from Maggie Osama
Top Rated Instructor, 38,000+ Students
4.5 instructor rating • 17 courses • 39,628 students

Lecture description

In this lecture, I'm going to  show you the difference between masks created on a layer and shape layers then show you how to create multiple shapes on a single layer and how to change their appearance and animate them independently to each other even though they are still on the same layer.

Learn more from the full course

After Effects : Master Shape Layers Motion Graphics Basics

Master Shape Layers in Adobe After Effects for Powerful Video Intros/Transitions &More!- After Effects Projects Included

01:35:18 of on-demand video • Updated March 2020

  • ACQUIRE a strong foundation to start your own style in creating amazing shape layers animations with Adobe After Effects
  • ENAHANCE your video intros and create better and enriched motion graphics with shape layers in Adobe After Effects
  • KNOW the difference between shape layers and masks in Adobe After Effects
  • DISCOVER the Fill and Stroke Options for Shape Layers and how to create custom gradients  in Adobe After Effects.
  • LEARN how to use both text and pen tools to create shape layers in Adobe After Effects.
  • Go THROUGH all the operands or FX that can be applied to shape layers in Adobe After Effects.
  • CREATE some real and simple shape layers animation projects in Adobe After Effects as examples to give you ideas about what you can do with shape layers. The more you experiment, the more you develop your own style.
  • GET After Effects project files and the necessary assets to work along with
English Hey guys, in this lecture I'm going to introduce you to shape layers. Shape layers were introduced in after effects cs3 and are great additional tool to be able to create things like additional assets, animating items background buttons, all kinds of different bits and pieces and they are very easy to animate and you can do some very powerful things with them. However sometimes there is a bit of confusion about when somebody's creating a mask and when someone's creating a shape layer and this often because the same tools can be used to create a mask or to create a shape layer and these are these tools up there in toolbar. so we got a whole series here from the rectangle tool all the way down to the star tool. We will be looking at lots of these in the coming lectures and we have the pen tool which will just be looking at as the pen tool no other options and in fact text tools can be also used to create shapes. okay now to clear up the confusion the first thing I'm actually going to do take my selection tool I'm going to create a standard solid layer in my composition I'm going to go to layer new solid and it's called royal blue solid and make sure it fits composition size and click OK and that created a royal blue solid layer so far so good now with that layer selected I'm going to go up to these tools up here which are often used to create shapes but are also used to create masks and I'm going to click the rectangle tool and as soon as I click the rectangle tool with the layer selected that means I'm going to be drawing a mask on the solid layer. so If I now click and drag inside the window, am creating a mask and when I let go you will notice down here in the timeline mask one has been created if I clicked on the arrow beside mask one you will see that I've got a number of options so I can actually change the mask path, I can change the feathers if I pull the feather out that basically makes the edges nice and soft. I can change the mask opacity, I can make it completely invisible or semi invisible or completely opaque and the mask expansion is just for making the thing a bit bigger or a bit smaller but still keeping hold of those very soft edges from the feather so now I've created a mask in other words I have just decided to show a selected portion of the solid layer, the rest of the solid layer is there but hidden all I can see is this bit that is showing with the mask. now if I want to rotate this shape I can open up the transforms for this layer and go down to rotation as soon as I start to rotate you'll see that the rotation has used the anchor point for the layer and is rotating around the anchor point. If I wanted to rotate the mask itself I would need to relocate this anchor point to the center of the mask using the move anchor point panel and then rotate around the relocated anchor point so the mask is drawen on the layer which is choosing to show you bits of the layer you can add multiple masks to layer to show a whole different selection on the layer but you are still revealing and hiding bits on the layer you won't be creating anything separate. now i'm going to click away outside the solid layer so that it's completely un-selected. so if I now go and choose my shape tools or my mask tools up here look what changes on my toolbar as soon as I click here new items appear as a whole new series of different items. Mostly, I want you to notice these ones here at the moment. I've got one that says Fill. if I clicked on it i'll have another options which we'll cover in the next lecture and I have a color swatch which means I can decide the color of what I'm going to create likewise it can have a stroke and I can choose the color of stroke and how wide or small that stroke is in terms of pixels so now it says two pixels let's move that 10 pixels so when I create something that's going to have a stroke which is black it's filling is red and it's going to have a stroke of 10 now all that without a layer selected and this is very important thing. Now if I click drag and let go something new has been created on the screen and I got a different icon on my timeline telling me that a shape layer has been created called shape layer one I have got different set of contents, I don't have anything says mask but I have the transforms for the layer which is standard to anchor point, position, scale rotation, opacity but note that these are the transforms of the whole layer if I rotate this it will rotate from the anchor point of the layer but if I open up where it says rectangle one you will see that in addition to rectangle path stroke and fill, I've got transform as well for rectangle one. now I have a transform for the whole layer and another transform for this individual item here called rectangle one if I open up the rectangle transform you will see the anchor point, position, scale and there are two additional items one called skew axis and the other called skew then rotation and opacity. now look what it happens when I start to rotate the transforms for the rectangle, you will see that it rotates from the center of that shape layer rotation without having to relocate its anchor point to the center like I had to do with the mask on the solid layer, also I can select my shape layer click and drag again to create a second rectangle, rectangle two open up rectangle two and you'll see I have transformes as well for this rectangle which are different from the first rectangle I can also open the transforms and play around with the rotation or the skew, if I click on the skew it just skews it slightly in one way or another and the skew axis will get you an interesting looking sort of 3D look. so as you can see I got a transform for each shape as well as the transform of the whole layer if I want to rotate both of these items together I can actually play with the rotation transform of the whole layer if I want to change the color of the fill of this rectangle I can select it and go to the color swatch next to fill and change its color and I can change it's stroke color as well now this so far is only for a rectangles but of course there are as you seen before more than just rectangles. for example if we added an ellipse, you will see it also has its own transforms, now this is for creating all types of different assets and you'll find they are very powerful shape tools. we can create all kinds of different things mostly when we start to look at some of the other options under Fill and Stroke and eventually when we get to this powerful little button here which says "Add" , a whole world of different things will open for us In the next lecture I'm going to show you the other options that we do have here for Fill and Stroke so I hope you found this lecture useful and that is cleared up the difference between a mask which shows and hides areas of a layer and between a shape layer which can if you like have multiple items on a single layer all of which has its own transform options we can animate them separately while still being a part of the same layer now please join me in the next lecture see you there!