Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › Technique › Graphics and Visual Effects › AE CS3 and 4 – Masks and Compositions › Badmonkey, Masking in CS3+
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.