Tackling visual effects and complex animations don’t necessarily require lots of third-party tools or advanced techniques. As long as you understand the creative assets available at your disposal, especially in compositing platforms like Adobe After Effects, attaining a unique visual style to your footage is more than possible to achieve.
In the following video, Josh Enobakhare of Olufemii Tutorials explains a technique he utilized recently to add some eye-catching visuals to a music video, primarily using masks inside of After Effects CC. From this tutorial, you can adapt the mask transition technique for your own projects, providing you with more ways to add more kinetic energy to your project.
First off, this technique works best when you’re shooting a subject in different locations, all while maintaining its position in the frame. This allows the mask transition to seem more fluid due to the continuity between your clips.
Once you’ve shot your footage, import all your clips into Adobe Premiere Pro CC. Next, add all the clips into the timeline, putting each clip on its own layer and syncing the footage together, if necessary.
Since this workflow is extremely processor intensive, you will also want to create some proxies. This extra step will ensure proper playback when building the effect, especially since dropped frames can affect negatively the timing of your animations.
Once the proxies are rendered, select your clips on the timeline and create a new After Effects Composition. Afterward, put each clip in a separate Pre-Comp. Then add each clip’s corresponding proxy and disable its original video layer.
Depending on the size of your proxy footage, you may need to adjust the scale of the clip so that it fills the frame. As a bonus tip, you should also disable the audio from all of your videos as this can slow down your computer’s performance if left enabled.
Now, return to the base composition and start creating and animating your masks using the Mask Path option. This is your time to go completely bonkers; make any mask shape you want and adjust the timing of the animation as you wish.
Once you’ve created your masks, pre-compose all your layers into a single composition and add the Optics Compensation filter on top. Furthermore, adjust the amount of distortion according to your liking. To add more intensity to the effect, you can also animate the scale and position of the layer.
If you want to smoothen out the animation of your masks further select your keyframes and by right clicking, head over to Keyframe Interpolation and choose the Bezier option. If you’d like to have more control over the timing and ease of the keyframes, go into the graph editor and adjust the keyframe handles to form a more exponent-like shape in your animation.
Lastly, to add a hand-held look to your edit, you can use an expression to animate the position of each mask. To do so, under the Transform properties of your layer, click on the Position property, so it’s highlighted. Next, in the Menu Bar under Animation, select Add Expression. A text area will appear and you’ll need to type the following: “wiggle(5,10)”.
For those unfamiliar with the wiggle expression, the first value indicates the frequency: how many times will the expression work per second. The second value, on the other hand, refers to the intensity of the applied effect over the property. In this case, the value corresponds to how drastic the position will be adjusted.
After you’ve entered the wiggle expression, you may notice that the video moves out of frame. You can fix this by adding the Motion Tile effect and tweaking the Output Width and Heightaccordingly.
Before you bring your video back into Premiere Pro CC for the final export, make sure you switch the video clips from the proxies to the original file. Just as with the proxies, double-check and confirm that the size of your video clips matches the dimensions of the composition and you are all set.