Layer visibility functions

After Effect Layer visibility. From the relationship between the layers and their form of visibility we can make special effects that create a new image. In this tutorial, we will get acquainted with the Blending Modes function and how to use it in some examples.

Blending Modes

Blending Modes is a function that defines the correlation between layers by visibility characteristics. The visibility characteristic, the Mode on the Timeline, for a particular layer defines its drowning or interaction with the layer below it. All Blending modes that we apply to layers in Adobe After Effects are completely identical to Blending modes in Adobe Photoshop. Blending modes are divided into several categories according to the similarity of the obtained result, although they are not grouped into separate categories. The modes of the same type that we select in the drop-down menu are separated by dashes. Thus we have the category of normal, where the color is affected only if the Opacity value of the original layer is less than 100%. In the Subtractive category, there are modes that have a tendency towards darker colors, while in the Additive category, there are modes that are more prone to lighter colors, and some of the relationships are similar to mixing with projected light. In the Complex category, the result of the ratio of the original and the lower layer will depend on the colors that are lighter shades than the fifty percent gray. The difference category creates a color base that is defined by the difference between the color values ​​of the source layer and the layer below. The HSL category transforms one or more elements of the color representation (Hue, Saturation, Luminisity) of the lower layer in the overall result. The Matte category converts the source layer to the Matte layer for all layers below.

activating the mode function. After Effect Layer visibility
activating the mode function

Clicking on the arrow opens a drop-down menu for selecting the input upper layer mode.

Selection of different Mode functions. After Effect Layer visibility
Selection of different Mode functions
  1. Normal category
  2. Subtractive category
  3. Additive category
  4. Complex category
  5. Difference category
  6. HSL category (Hue, Saturation, Luminosity)
  7. Matte category

After Effect Layer visibility. In order to make it easier to notice the differences that occur when using the visibility function of the layer, we will create a test signal in the form of a transparent layer with surfaces of primary and complementary colors and with a gradation from black to white. We will also define four gray surfaces with different levels of gray.

After Effect Layer visibility. Appearance of the test layer without the layer below
Appearance of the test layer without the layer below

When we place such a layer on the Timeline above a video material, the transparent parts of the layer will leak the image and thus we will have a benchmark of how much they leak and how the parameters of the video material change under the influence of the source layer in a certain mode.

After Effect Layer visibility. Appearance of the test layer with the layer below
Appearance of the test layer with the layer below

After Effect Layer visibility. As we said, each mode category has visually similar characteristics, so we will present only the first and / or some characteristic mode of each category

Darken mode, as seen in the picture, is transparent for lighter shades of gray and lighter colors.

After Effect Layer visibility. The appearance of the test layer in darken mode
The appearance of the test layer in darken mode

Add mode emphasizes light tones while suppressing dark ones.

After Effect Layer visibility. Appearance of the test layer in ADD mode
Appearance of the test layer in ADD mode

Overlay collects the dark parts of the original (upper) layer, which means that it darkens them even more, while the white parts brighten the lower layer even more. The border, ie the place when there is no influence of the upper layer on the lower one, is the gray color with a value of 50%. Compared to the values of color intensity, the colors react in the same way as with gray.

After Effect Layer visibility. Appearance of the test layer in Overlay mode
Appearance of the test layer in Overlay mode

Color differences separate darker input values from lighter ones. If the upper layer has a white color, it inverts the colors (negative), while the black color does not make any changes.

Appearance of the test layer in Differenti mode
Appearance of the test layer in Different mode

In the Difference category, there is also Divide mode, which has the characteristic of rotating colors so that green becomes purple, yellow becomes blue, that is, colors change from basic to complementary, and depending on the lower layer, they also change intensity. White does not make any changes in this mode.

Appearance of the test layer in Divide mode

Color mode allows us to paint the bottom layer in one color, especially if it is black and white, we get the impression of working with that color and black, or to make a black and white layer of colored if there is no color on the input layer

Appearance of the test layer in Color mode

The alpha category deals, as its name suggests, with the alpha channel, that is, with transparency.

The appearance of the test layer in Stencil Alpha mode
The appearance of the test layer in Stencil Alpha mode

In different conditions, the Alpha channel on the layer can be non-transparent, ie it allows the visibility of the lower layer.

Appearance of the test layer in Silhouette Alpha mode
Appearance of the test layer in Silhouette Alpha mode

In this category are also Luma modes, which are transparent depending on the color intensity, black is less transparent, while white is transparent.

Track Matte

On Timeline, in addition to the Layer Transparency Mode, there is also the Track Mat option, which serves to define the Track Matte option on the layers.

Setting the Track Matte function

If we place a Text Layer or Shape Layer over two layers of image, video and / or graphic units and then select one of the Track Matte options, we get the transparency of the text with the layer on which we select the Track Matte option.

After Effect Layer visibility

Icons will automatically appear in the layer next to the name, which define the type of mask on the layer, characteristic of other Adobe programs.

After Effect Layer visibility. Apply the Alpha Track Matte function
Apply the Alpha Track Matte function

To achieve this effect, we can use other layers besides Text and Shape Layers, which have AIpha Masks

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