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After Effects Classic Course: Set Matte versus Track Matte

One of the most useful compositing features in After Effects is the ability to use the properties of one layer to create transparency (an alpha channel) for a second layer. To do this, many use the Track Matte feature that’s available in the Timeline. However, there is also an effect plug-in – Set Matte – which can also do the same thing. In this movie, we compare the pros and cons of each approach.

(If you are not already familiar with Compound Effects – which Set Matte is – see this post for more background.)

This movie previously appeared in our Insight Into Effects course on Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning. They’ve retired that course from their library, so we’re making the movies from it available publicly for free. You can either scan our page on ProVideo Coalition to see the other free movies, or click here for the playlist of previous movies we’ve made available.

By Chris and Trish Meyer

Chris & Trish Meyer founded Crish Design (formerly known as CyberMotion) in the very earliest days of the desktop motion graphics industry. Their design and animation work has appeared on shows and promos for CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, HBO, PBS, and TLC; in opening titles for several movies including Cold Mountain and The Talented Mr. Ripley; at trade shows and press events for corporate clients ranging from Apple to Xerox; and in special venues encompassing IMAX, CircleVision, the NBC AstroVision sign in Times Square, and the four-block-long Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas. They were among the original users of CoSA (now Adobe) After Effects, and have written the numerous books including "Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects" and "After Effects Apprentice" both published by Focal Press. Both Chris and Trish have backgrounds as musicians, and are currently fascinated with exploring fine art and mixed media in addition to their normal commercial design work. They have recently relocated from Los Angeles to the mountains near Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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