Hotkey quiz NEXT WEEK!


Download the study guide here.


Don't forget you also need to know five ways to import a file and five ways to create a new composition.

Daily Inspiration

Precomposing is basically nesting in reverse. Let's take a look at a different way to nest.

Shape Layers

Shape layers can be made from scratch within AE and they have all kinds of cool properties.


Masks and Paths

Masks are similar to shape layers, but they can only be used on other footage or images. One way to use masks is as "cookie cutters" that allow you to cut out parts of images or videos and/or manipulate specific parts of an image/video:

Before Mask
After Mask

You can also do a ton of cool things using mask "paths" to control different effects and/or keyframes. Let's take a look:

This assignment will be do next week at the end of class.




First, download the homework files from the orange button link above. Then, view the sample animation in that folder called "" For this assignment, match the animation as closely as you can to the example. There is NOT an After Effects project file included with the homework's download. You'll have to import all of the files and audio clips on your own. Don't forget to save your project before starting animation!


  1. Make your composition whatever size you like, but I recommend keeping it small like 320 x 240.

  2. TIP: I used lots of masks and nesting to pull this animation off. Think through the process; try to make it as easy to work as possible. If you keep your project organized, it will be much easier to create this.

  3. Include the audio sound effects and time your animation to the audio or vice versa.

  4. Do your best to mask the layes as cleanly as possible

  5. Don't forget Easy Easy keyframes and Motion blur!


Turning in homework:


Use your personal or student e-mail to turn in homework. My e-mail address is I will create an assignment online and you only need to send your After Effects Project to me! The After Effects Project should have a ".aep" extension and will probably be less than 100K (pretty small). Include your last name in the file name (roundy_CreepyBaby.aep, e.g.). As always, you can email me with questions at