How to Quickly Adjust Masks & Shapes in After Effects

In this post, I will show you how to quickly adjust masks & shapes in Adobe After Effects.

So let’s say we are drawing a mask around an object in After Effects, but then we accidentally click away from the desired path.

Drawing mask in After Effects around an object

I hate when that happens. It can be very frustrating. So how do we position the point differently without getting out of the active mode that we are currently in?

Let me show you the fastest way.

Step 1: Press & hold the space bar on your keyboard.

When you do that, it will allow you to move the point only, so that way you can position the point anywhere you want.

Drawing mask in After Effects around an object

Step 2: Position your point to the right place

Once you positioned the point to the desired place, then simply let go of the space bar and your point will be locked.

Step 3: Adjust the handles

Once your point is locked in the desired position, you will then be able to adjust your handles for a more accurate curve. You can do it instantly with your pen tool without getting out of the active mode. It is a huge time-saver.

It does not stop of the Pen Tool. You can also use shape objects. Let me show you how.

Step 1: Select a Shape Object like an Ellipse Tool

Drawing mask in After Effects around an object

Step 2: Draw a shape around your object.

Step 3: Press & hold the space bar.

This will give you the freedom to move your circle anywhere you want.

Step 4: Let go of the space bar.

When you let go of the space bar, you will be able to adjust the circle even more.

That simple! I hope you found this tip useful.

About the author:

Sergei Prokhnevskiy

Sergei Prokhnevskiy is a Charlotte, NC based motion graphics designer, an online tutor, an entrepreneur, and Adobe MAX Master Speaker. Sergei is known for his quick and practical After Effects tips and tricks on YouTube, where he generated well over 6 million views on his tutorials. He has authored an online video course on After Effects Expressions and developed scripts for After Effects. He is also a former senior motion graphics designer at Fox Sports where he worked on graphics for NFL, Super Bowl, MLB, World Series, College Football, NASCAR, Women’s World Cup, and NASCAR Race Hub. He is very passionate about learning and teaching others.


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