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After Effects Quick Tip: Mask Colors

Customizing the default mask color By Ko Maruyama
We've looked at a number of ways to customize applications beyond what the user interface allows. This usually involves going into an application's package contents and modifying data files and property list files to achieve some of the software's hidden functions--a process that can often be described as complex at best. This time around though we'll try a fairly simple technique, one that allows you to make a quick modification to change the default mask color in Adobe After Effects.

Change the mask color? And just why would you want to do this? Well, obviously, if yellow isn't a problem for you, there's no reason in the world. But, if you commonly work with compositions whose colors tend to bleed into yellow, then you might gain a pretty decent advantage by changing mask colors to something that's a bit easier to see in the Comp window. Remember, this procedure changes the default mask color; you're still free to go in and change mask colors manually in the Timeline window as well.

So here's what you want to do.

1. Quit After Effects.

2. Locate your After Effects preferences file. In Mac OS X, it's at Users/[yourname]/Library/Preferences/Adobe After Effects 6.0 Prefs.

3. Open this file by dragging it over your favorite text editor. (Best to use a text editor like Text Edit or Tex-Edit Plus; a program like Microsoft Word might try to place some of its metadata into your prefs file, which you don't want.)

4. Use the text program's Find function to locate this section:

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