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Adopting the powers of node-based programs by tweaking the set matte effect.

LEGEND ,
Sep 28, 2022 Sep 28, 2022

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Inspired by Node-based workflows. We often want to combine different mattes into one layer without the need of pre-comping—and then even use the same matte for multiple layers.

If we improve the already existing "Set Matte" Effect with the functions of the "Track Matte", we may be on a better path!

Here is a video of how that could work: https://vimeo.com/138156034


1. Add a "Track Matte" switch to set matte:

This could make the "Transform Properties" of the set matte behave the same as how "Track Mattes" do. (this is possible already by sandwiching the set matte effect between two transform effects)

2. Multiple "Set Matte" Effects on one Layer
"Add" and "Subtract" Mattes from each other. Similar to how masks work.

More info: http://www.sandervandijk.tv/after-effects-features/mattes
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Compositing and VFX

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13 Comments
Explorer ,
Sep 28, 2022 Sep 28, 2022

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Something like this would be very useful, as I end up with so many instances of the same track matt in my comp, when all I'm really wanting is to be able to point to one matt source- which I'd assume would render faster, and would certainly be easier to roll out modifications revisions...

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LEGEND ,
Sep 28, 2022 Sep 28, 2022

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the set matte could be improved no doubt, but to make it work for non-vector layers there is a workaround that is quite easily implemented. simply continously rasterize/precomp->leave attributes-->collapse the layer and the reverse render order will kick in and it will work exactly the same as Ae's vector layers. here's a tutorial demonstrating how to work with set matte for all types of layers: https://vimeo.com/274047695

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Contributor ,
Sep 28, 2022 Sep 28, 2022

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Roei, thank you very much for your AE Blues tutorial on the set matte effect. Great work! I wished it would not need such wizardry to get the effect working the way it should ; )

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New Here ,
Sep 28, 2022 Sep 28, 2022

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agreed! set matte is not working on 3D layers! you'd have to comp them first with the camera in the comp so they'll become 2D, then use set matte, therefore I have to stick to old school duplicating mattes and layers which is not the best efficient way!

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LEGEND ,
Sep 28, 2022 Sep 28, 2022

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This is genius

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 28, 2022 Sep 28, 2022

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I 100% agree with the suggestions here, but for anyone who needs to stack mattes in the meantime, I actually have found a workaround. It only works with shape layers, text layers, and layers that are the same size as the comp. It does work with effects applied to the layers. And it works best with alpha mattes, but if you have a luma matte, make that the first matte. I haven't found a limit to how many layers you can use, but if you have a lot of layers, you're probably still best off precomping.

1. Create a solid (must be the same size as the comp).
2. Add your "Set Matte" effect and set it up as you need it.
3. Add the "Calculations" effect. It's under the "Channel" group if you can't find it.
4. Leave the input as "RGBA" and the invert input unchecked.
5. Choose your second layer and choose between Source, Masks, and Effects & Masks (if you only have masks, you need to choose Masks, not Effects & Masks).
6. Set the second layer opacity to 100%.
7. Uncheck "Preserve Transparency."
8. Set your blending mode:
-"Alpha Add" will combine both alphas.
-"Stencil Alpha" will give you the overlap of the alphas.
-"Silhouette Alpha" will subtract the 2nd alpha from the first.
9. Use more iterations of the "Calculation" effect to combine more mattes until you're done.

That's it. You can now use this one layer to drive the "Set Matte" effect on multiple layers.

FYI - The "Calculations" effect does carry over color, so if that's distracting, use a "Fill" at the end to make it all one color.

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 28, 2022 Sep 28, 2022

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A lot of the critical improvements suggested on this forum aren't "sexy" when it comes to the marketing dept. This suggestion (if properly implemented, however) would bring the H Y P E.

Does the AE team realize the amount of man-hours wasted per year working around this issue? I mean... this could be the sole change for a fully numbered update and people would still rejoice.
Imagine:

"Introducing After Effects 2021!
New features:
- Mattes are predictable and easy to use now
- Camera Raw supp-blah blah blah

The End."

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Contributor ,
Sep 28, 2022 Sep 28, 2022

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It's so disheartening to see the best ideas are several years old and Adobe hasn't addressed them

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 28, 2022 Sep 28, 2022

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Just stopping by to say its 2021, and AE 2022 was just released. This feature is still not implemented 😞 I could cry. But alas, my tears have run dry from 4 years of weeping. So much for improvements that actually matter. Here's to the next 4 more years. Maybe that's enough time for AE to implement this feature.

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Explorer ,
Sep 28, 2022 Sep 28, 2022

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There should be a constant initiative to be adopting Sanders ideas from this now 7 year old video. 😞

http://www.sandervandijk.tv/after-effects-features/mattes

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Adobe Employee ,
Sep 28, 2022 Sep 28, 2022

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Thanks Taylor, I hadn't seen that before. Definitely some great suggestions in there!

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Enthusiast ,
Sep 28, 2022 Sep 28, 2022

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The Set Matte effect would be even more useful when it came with a switch to not scale the matte, but just keeps it as it is, independent of the scale and position of the layers it is applied to.
In that way it is a nice way to avoid clutter and work in a node-like way. Only one matte can be used on manny layers.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 30, 2022 Nov 30, 2022

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LATEST

I hope that the recent update https://helpx.adobe.com/be_en/after-effects/using/whats-new/2023.html#selectable-track-matte-layer is a step towards this workflow...

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