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Modifying Paint in After Effects

Copying Mask Shapes By Ko Maruyama
There are many things that you can do with the new paint tools in After Effects 6.5.  Unfortunately, some of the parameters do not lend themselves to easy manipulation.  Whether through expressions or curve handles, the paint paths can't be edited with the brush tool itself.  However, alternate methods will allow you to edit your stroke.

With a few simple steps you can use the mask tool to precisely define the path that you want your brush stroke to follow.

If you want to use a custom brush size and rotation (rather than the standard "round" shape that STROKE provides), you have to remember that After Effects will only allow painting to be applied directly to the source.  You'll need to open up the layer window rather than painting within the composition window.  If this presents a problem for you, you can always use two separate windows by dragging one tab away from the other. 

If you're unfamiar with the pen tool, please be sure to check out the other tutorials here within the DMN sites.  There are many tutorials that talk about the pen tool's use for rotoscoping, creating paths for reference in position and even as aids to specific effects.  This is another use for the pen tool: creating splines to be used by the brush in After Effects 6.5

This tutorial is a response to a forum reader from the DMNForums' After Effects message board.  If you have questions that are posted to the DMN After Effects board that cannot be answered simply with a few notes, links or example files, you may find your posting resolved with a quick tip on this website.

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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:After Effects, paint, mask tool, calligraphy, brush stroke, brush mask, stroke path


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