Tip #992: Mask Basics in Adobe After Effects

… for Visual Effects

Tip #992: Mask Basics in Adobe After Effects

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Masks are the secret to successful compositing in After Effects.

(Image courtesy of pexels.com.)

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This article first appeared in MotionArray.com. This is a summary.

In Adobe After Effects, masks are one of the tools you will likely use the most. They either hide or reveal elements of a layer, and can be used in conjunction with animation to create fun, stylish wipes. They’re an incredibly versatile tool but can be a little confusing to get your head around at first.

The article is divided into three sections:

  1. What is a Mask? A mask is an invisible shape that tells After Effects to only pay attention to a specific section of your composition.
  2. How to Create and Manage Masks. This is a step-by-step tutorial on using “Reveal Masking” or the Pen tool. It also covers how to work with multiple masks.
  3. How to Add Animation and Movement. Masks can be animated like other assets in After Effects.


The article has step-by-step illustrations, additional links and a video that shows these techniques in operation.

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