Adobe After Effects CC 2024: How To Combine Multiple Masks Using Illustrator or Photoshop

Description:
This tutorial will show you how you can combine multiple Masks in Adobe After Effects CC 2024 with a little help from either Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop.

Keyboard Shortcuts:

G: Pen Tool
Command/Ctrl + C: Copy
Command/Ctrl + V: Paste

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Chapters:
00:00 Intro: About The Tutorial
00:20 Create Masks Using Pen Tool (G)
00:40 Overlapping Masks FYI
01:11 Combine 3 Masks Into 1
01:26 Adobe Illustrator (Paste Masks)
01:43 Pathfinder Panel (Unite Tool)
02:08 After Effects: Paste From Illustrator
02:39 Photoshop: Paste Masks from AE
03:01 PS: Combine Shapes + Merge
03:22 AE: Paste From Photoshop
03:34 Real World Example: Radio Waves
04:08 Copy Masks (AE)…Paste in Illustrator

Software Used:
Adobe After Effects CC 2024 (Click To Try or Buy)

How To Create Masks:

  1. Create New Composition
  2. Add Footage
  3. Select Pen Tool in the top Toolbar (G)
  4. Click to add points
  5. Click on Open Vertex to Close Mask
  6. Repeat to create additional paths
  7. Note: Overlap Masks in order to combine

How To Combine Paths Using Adobe Illustrator:

  1. Twirl open Layer in After Effects
  2. Twirl open Masks
  3. Shift+Click to Select All Masks
  4. Copy to Clipboard (Cmd/Ctrl + C)
  5. Open New Document in  Adobe Illustrator (same size as AE Composition)
  6. Paste Masks from AE (Cmd/Ctrl + V)
  7. Go to Window Panel
  8. Select ‘Pathfinder’
  9. With Masks selected, click on the first button called ‘Unite’
  10. Select & Copy the united/joined Masks
  11. Copy to Clipboard (Cmd/Ctrl + C)
  12. Return to After Effects
  13. With All Masks selected, Paste from Illustrator (Cmd/Ctrl + V)
  14. Delete all but one of the Masks
  15. Now you should have 1 Mask combined

How To Combine Paths Using Adobe Photoshop:

  1. Twirl open Layer in After Effects
  2. Twirl open Masks
  3. Shift+Click to Select All Masks
  4. Copy to Clipboard (Cmd/Ctrl + C)
  5. Open New Document in  Adobe Photoshop (same size as AE Composition)
  6. Paste Masks from AE (Cmd/Ctrl + V) and keep selected
  7. Click on ‘Path Operations’ icon in the top Toolbar
  8. Select ‘Combine Shapes’
  9. Click on ‘Merge Shape Components’ to combine
  10. Select all and Copy to Clipboard (Cmd/Ctrl + C)
  11. Return to After Effects
  12. With All Masks selected, Paste from Photoshp (Cmd/Ctrl + V)
  13. Delete all but one of the Masks
  14. Now you should have 1 Mask combined

Radio Waves Example:

  1. In After Effects, add New Solid (same as Comp Size)
  2. Select Pen Tool in the top Toolbar (G)
  3. Click to add points and create masks set to ‘Add’
  4. Click on Open Vertex to Close Mask
  5. Repeat to create additional paths
  6. Go to Effects & Presets Panel
  7. Search for ‘Radio’
  8. Drag ‘Radio Waves’ on to Solid Layer
  9. Change Wave Type to ‘Mask’
  10. Select All Masks
  11. Copy Masks & Paste in Illustrator or Photoshop and combine (follow previous instructions)
  12. Return to After Effects & Paste (Cmd/Ctrl + V)
  13. Select a Mask in the Effect Controls of Radio Waves under ‘Mask’
  14. Delete all other Masks

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