Animating and Creating 3D Objects in After Effects

Animating and Tracking a Solid Layer

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This video segment demonstrates creating a solid layer, then tracking and applying a mask to that layer.


  • Animating
  • tracking
  • solid
  • layer
  • masking
  • pre-composing

About this video

Jeff Shaffer
First online
14 March 2019
Online ISBN
Copyright information
© Jeff Shaffer 2019

Video Transcript

Now that we have our sphere on the background, we’re going to put a blue glow around the outside of the sphere that we’ll track along with the motion of the sphere.

So to create that, I’m going to first go and make a new solid, a blue solid. It’s going to be red 8, green 21, blue 246, or some color close to that will be fine. I don’t need to have that name on there. So we’ll take that off. So I have that blue solid layer. I’m going to drag and drop it below the sphere layer. So we can see that there.

And I’m also going to add back in my sphere’s C4D layer, right below the sphere, because I want to be able to use the alpha channel of this layer to create a mask for the blue solid below. So to get rid of this little grid here that we’re seeing here, I need to change the renderer in the center where I’ll change it to standard final for now. And that gets rid of the grid.

And then I’m going to click on the blue solid. And if I’m not seeing track matte as an option here, you can toggle the switches and modes and make that visible. I want to see track matte. And on the blue solid, I’m going to say use the alpha matte from sphere C4D to make a track matte.

Now if I turn off this sphere layer, you’ll see what’s created there. And this is a hard-edge mask around that sphere. Now I want that sphere to have a bit of a glow to it. So I’m going to want that to be a softer edge than it is here.

Now to achieve that, what I’ll have to do is precompose these two layers together because otherwise, the effect won’t apply properly. So I’m going to select those two layers. And then I’m going to right-click and say precompose.

And the new composition will be called blue circle glow. There we are. So we have that new comp. And I’m going to start by putting some effects on to create the glow.

So I could type in the word gaussian. I’ve already typed it in here, previously. I’m going to take gaussian. And I’m going to drag and drop it on that blue circle glow layer. Then I’m also going to change the layer color here so that I can see that better. I’ll make that blue. Then I can distinguish it from the other layers here. I also can change that blue glow color. Maybe I could make that one purple, just for a different color there. Easy to distinguish layers that way.

So back to blue circle glow layer, I’ve got some blurriness that I want to dial in. And I came up with a number of 173.7, which you can see starts to make the glow around there. Now the glow looks sort of a little bit reddish here. And the reason is if I double-click on my copier, you’ll see that the sphere C4D layer is still on. So that’s getting blurred too.

Going to turn the eyeball off on that one. And then I’ll jump back to my main comp there. And you can see the blue glow is forming around the outside of the sphere. So I came up with that blurriness value. Then in addition to that, I also wanted to add the glow. So I’m going to do that, drag that onto there. And I’ve got some numbers I can dial in for this. It looks pretty good, actually, right now. But I could change that further as desired.

I came up with a threshold of 18 and a radius of 346, which is quite a lot. That’s more of a softer glow there. The glow intensity is 4.0. And so that just creates a little more subtle gradation in the glow overall.

So now I’m going to just play that back with the play head at the beginning at 0. My resolution at a 1/4. And I’ll hit the space bar. OK. So you can see that tracks pretty well. And we’ll move on to the next step.

And in that next segment, we will be adding some special effects beams coming out of the sphere once it’s reached its full position here.