after effects Tutorial

After Effects: Simplified Masks for the Blinds Effect

Owen Thieler
|2 min read
Written by Owen Thieler


Welcome to this tutorial! Owen Thieler is here to demystify masks in After Effects, offering a streamlined approach that's perfect for beginners or anyone looking for a refresher.

Introduction to Masks:

Masks in After Effects can be a bit daunting, but with Owen's method, you'll be mastering them in no time. Let's begin by understanding the basic premise.

Getting Started:

  1. Setting Up: Begin with a basic shape on your workspace, like a rectangle on 'shape layer one'.

  2. Method 1: Using the Layer Menu:

    • Navigate to the top bar and click on 'Layer'.
    • From the dropdown, choose 'Mask' and then 'New Mask'.
    • This action will produce a new shape which can be adjusted and tweaked. By clicking (and sometimes, un-clicking and clicking again), you can manipulate the mask's size and position.
  3. Method 2: Using a Second Shape:

    • Start by creating a second shape layer above the initial one. This shape will act as a guide for your mask.
    • Initially, your workspace will be in a default mode. Toggle the 'Switches and Modes' so you can access mask settings.
    • In the 'Track Matte' column beside your first shape layer:
      • Choose 'Alpha Matte' to reveal only what's inside the second shape.
      • Alternatively, opt for 'Alpha Inverted Matte' to display everything outside the second shape, effectively carving it out from the first shape.
    • For this tutorial, we're focusing only on the above two options and will exclude 'Luma Matte' and 'Luma Inverted Matte'.


With these two methods, you can create a wide variety of effects, from simple cut-outs to intricate overlays. Owen's approach makes the process intuitive and straightforward, even if you're just starting out with After Effects.

Whether you're recreating the blinds effect, producing a dynamic animation, or just learning the ropes, these mask methods will serve as handy tools in your After Effects toolkit. Happy animating!


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