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Answer to Gears

After Effects: Making the gear hole By Ko Maruyama
I got a few questions about how the shape layers work, why the boolean operation does what it does in the shape layer, and specifically how to make the hole in the middle of the gear.  Well, I got enough email questions about it that I figured it was worth a tutorial explanation.  So here it is.

When I get questions from viewers, I usually try to respond individually, or point people in the right direction of the answer - or sometimes they'll get a generic link to the Adobe Online help files.  But I got a crazy rush of emails from the tutorials about making the aperture / shutter elements with After Effects' shape layers.  So it was easier to create a little video tutorial that covers the making of the inner hole.

Play around the the new Shape Layer features in After Effects CS3 and CS4 and you'll be hooked too.  Don't forget that you can express mask shapes in CS3+.  Consider the possibilities!

If you want to see the other tutorials, you can find them on


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Ko Maruyama is a freelance animator in Los Angeles.  In addition to working on film and broadcast animations, Ko teaches at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design - focusing on motion design.  When working, writing or testing software allows, you can find him lending a hand in the After Effects board and lurking among the Cinema4D, Visual Effects and Photoshop posts within the DMNForums.
Related Keywords:Video tutorial, tutorial, adobe after effects, shape layers, making the gear, finding bridge layers, still shape library

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