Adobe After Effects Basics - Masking Tutorial

Ever since I started putting up After Effects tutorials, I have gotten an increasing number of questions where people seem to get stuck on some of the more fundamental techniques rather than the actual visual effect. So I decided to start a small tutorial series to cover these After Effects Basics for all the new starters out there.

The first topic is masking and I hope you enjoy it

Adobe After Effects Basics - Masking (with Batman)

What is masking

All visual effects are created by combining different visual elements together. This allows you to add or remove items to or from your footage and create complex visual illusions for your audience.

In Adobe After Effects, each of these visual elements is represented by a 'layer'. Layers are placed on top of each other with each one obscuring the layers beneath by default.

After Effects Basics - Masking - Layer Obscured

However, you can create masks to cut out certain areas of a layer so the ones below will show through. This is called masking

After Effects Basics - Masking - Layer Masked

Let's look at how you can create masks in Adobe After Effects!



User avatar
7 Years Ago
August 15, 2013 @ 10:42 am
thanks.. neat little tips here
User avatar
dynal fernandes
6 Years Ago
January 22, 2014 @ 0:41 am
thanks very much that helped a lot can u plz give a brief on motion traking for bignners
User avatar
Surfaced Studio@ dynal fernandes
6 Years Ago
January 22, 2014 @ 8:41 pm
I already have a motion tracking tutorial on my website. You can find it here:
User avatar
calen chen
6 Years Ago
August 4, 2014 @ 3:20 am
Thank you very much for this wonderful tutorial. Exactly what I was looking for.
User avatar
4 Years Ago
December 22, 2015 @ 3:39 pm
thank you very much buddy but i have a problem in moving the mask when i am doing the advance car hit how to mask the car and it's shadow what should i do
User avatar
4 Years Ago
January 2, 2016 @ 11:18 am
I have a tutorial that explains how to create the 'car hit' effect
User avatar
4 Years Ago
September 7, 2016 @ 10:14 am
Mask Path! That's what I was looking for!
Thanks man, you made my day.
User avatar
Gordon Rothman
3 Years Ago
December 23, 2016 @ 6:52 am
Great lesson! Thanks
User avatar
3 Years Ago
August 6, 2017 @ 6:19 pm
Hi Tobias

Thank you for your amazing toturials

I've learned a lot from you!

But could you Upload the footages of each toturial so that we can download them and exercise?
User avatar
3 Years Ago
August 7, 2017 @ 0:25 pm
Hi Mostafa, thank you for the feedback. This is a pretty old tutorial, all my new ones usually have the footage attached for practice. For this particular one you can really use any clip you want as it's more about the concept than the final effect
User avatar
Mostafa@ Surfaced Studio
3 Years Ago
August 8, 2017 @ 7:21 pm
Yeah, Thank you again ;))
User avatar
Seven Iverson
1 Year Ago
October 19, 2018 @ 2:51 pm
Hello there,

You provide one of the best resources online and finally helped me get over my fear of AE... once and for all Problem I am having following your tutorial is that there's no downloadable files to follow along. you can imagine how difficult it is to find matching/similar footage to be able to repeat the steps you are taking... is it possible you include original files for our beginner AE series? and even intermediate?

Thank you!
User avatar
Surfaced Studio@ Seven Iverson
1 Year Ago
November 12, 2018 @ 0:55 pm
Hello there,

This is a very old tutorial and for a lot of my old tutorials I do not have sample files for download. All my newer tutorials do have them though.

For this particular one though (as well as a lot of my old tutorials), you can follow along with ANY video you may have. Download a clip of some cows from the internet, take your mobile phone and film a random clip of you in your room, it doesn't really matter - the principles are always the same

Please leave a comment

Click here to enter some text...


Get in touch via social media


Tobias Avatar
I am passionate about providing high quality VFX & Film Making Edutainment online. Check out my training courses on Udemy
© 2020 Surfaced Studio