AE CS3 and 4 - Masks and Compositions

badmonkey's picture
Last seen: 8 years 6 months ago
Joined: 10/22/2009 - 11:37pm

Hey all,

Im a student in media and communication currently doing
production among other things, previously I did live TV production. As I am
still learning (and forever will be!) I have found this site tremendously
helpful and am hoping the community can help or point me to relevant articles.

What I want help with is in After Effects. I have some use
with it, though Im not nearly as comfortable with it as I am in Premiere,
which is not to say I am a pro or anything. So, bare with me as I ask:

  1. What is a composition exactly and what is it
    used for exactly? Some tutorials require you to make a composition, others do
    not, meaning you throw footage in and use it. Is it like Sequences in premiere,
    where, once you create one you can insert the entire sequence in another which
    encompasses all the edits as opposed to copying and pasting everything on the
    timeline into another sequence? I know that a sequence is created automatically
    when you dont create one.
  2. I look at tutorials that require a lot of
    masking. Ive done some, such as replacing what you see on a TV screen, but say
    you want to do special effects where you first have an exploding sausage and
    want to make it look like an exploding head, I seem to not grasp the concept of
    masking nor can I find anything online to show me the basics. I know the pen
    tool is used as a mask when you want t draw something specific, but aside from
    this I seem to be lost, for example, by not knowing which footage in the above
    scenario would you put as number 1 or 2.

Any help is greatly appreciated!

H. Wolfgang Porter's picture
Last seen: 2 years 2 weeks ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
Plus Member Moderator


Masking in CS3+ is not that tough. Once you learn how it works, it's actually pretty easy. You're right, most tutorials aren't very clear and can't answer your specific creative ideas.

However, a really good place to learn how this stuff works for free is at VideoCopilot. If you can take Andrew Kramer's horrifically lame attempts at humor, you'll actually learn something.

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc.

chuckengels's picture
Last seen: 10 years 4 months ago
Joined: 12/19/2007 - 9:39pm

Pay $25 for a month of access to the tutorials at

You can't go wrong for $25, there is over 20 hours of After Effects training along with tons of other stuff.

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