wait a moment

Masking Using Adobe After Effects

After Effects is one of the many programs Adobe has made which can be used to manipulate videos and create stunning effects. After Effects can be quite a daunting program to learn but I was determined to try and give it a go. After 2 years of mainly staring at the software and watching tutorials, I decided that 2018 is the year to just try and give it a go. Just do it!

The first thing that was done was to open up After Effects and import the footage. My footage is in the format of .mp4 and is very short. First thing needed to be done was to right click the footage and select ‘New Comp from Selection’.

Now below it will open the composition. This will show the footage that you selected. The task in this case is to mask the characters and remove the background. In order to start you need to split the footage to where the mask will start and where the mask stops (The start and stop of the scene).

Use Ctrl-D to split the scene, then from the beginning, use Ctrl and the right arrow key to go forward frame by frame till the characters in the frame move.

For every time the character moves, press Ctrl-D and split the scene.

Now with all the frames that involve character movement split, select the pen tool and start going around the characters till you get to the first point.


For any background left over repeat the process around the background that is showing. You will notice that it will not disappear.

In order to make all the masks that have additional background showing disappear, go into the masks of the layer you are working on and in the drop-down menu, select subtract to remove the selected area.

If you need to check the original image of the layer you are working on, you need to select the first mask and change it to subtract. This will show the background and remove the foreground.

In my case I have forgotten to include the hat in the scene. All that we need to do is mask it and make sure the mask is set to add. Then change you foreground mask to add.

This particular edit took 10 hours for the end result of a 1 SECOND CLIP!!! Honestly though if you are bored this is something that will make time fly. Build a collection of these and you could make some incredible AMV’s.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.