After Effect Tip: Mask Roundness

In this post I will show you how to use mask roundness in After Effects. Let’s dive right!

So we are in After Effects and for this example I’ll select the Rounded Rectangle Tool from the top menu bar.

Rounded Rectangle Tool in After Effects
Next, I’ll draw a rectangle in my composition like so:

Drawing Rectangle in composition Adobe After Effects

What if I want to adjust the roundness of my corners? How would I do it?

It is super easy to do in shape layers. Go to Rectangle Path and you should see Roundness option which will enable you to easily increase or decrease the roundness of the rectangle with the slider.

Rectangle roundness

However, that’s not really the case when you work with masks. Let me show you what I’m talking about here.

I’m going to delete the Shape Layer 1.

Delete shape layer in After Effects

Next, I’m going to select the BG layer and draw the exact same shape on top of my layer.

As you can see, it created a rounded mask. However, there is a small problem. If I go into my mask options, I can’t see roundness anywhere.

Mask options After Effects

So how do we adjust roundness? Let me show you.

First, let’s select and delete Mask 1.

You should only see the BG layer at this point.

When you click to draw another rectangle, you have to make sure that you don’t let go of your mouse button.

So I’m going to click and draw on my canvas like so:

Click and hold mouse after effect

If you want to make your corner sharp, you just have to press left arrow key while you’re in active mode. Remember: don’t let go of the mouse button. Otherwise, it won’t work.

Make sharp edges in After Effects

If you want to make it rounded all the way, press the right arrow key.

Round edges after effects

If you want to set your shape to a specific size, you can press the right arrow key and it will set it at that size like so:

Set to a specific size with right arrow key in After Effects

Now what if you want to increase roundness? Easy! Press the up arrow keys to increase the roundness.

Increase Shape Layer Roundness in After Effects

Press the down arrow key to decrease it

Decrease Shape Layer Roundness in After Effects

The same thing applies for your middle scrolling buttons on your mouse. Scrolling up will increase the roundness and scrolling down will decrease it.

By the way, if you want to move your mask around in your composition, just press down the space bar on your keyboard and it will enable you to freely move it around.

Where you let go of the space bar, that’s where your mask will be dropped.

Now this example was for rounded rectangles but you can do the same thing with the star and the polygon tool. Let me show you. Select the star tool.

Select the star tool in After Effects

Click and draw your star in active mode.

Star tool after effects

If you want to make your star rounded, just press the right arrow key like we did in the previous example.

Rounded star after effects
The left arrow key will take you the other way.

Not rounded star after effects

If you want to increase the amount of points on your star, just press the up arrow key.

If you want to decrease the amount of points on your star, then press the down arrow key.

How to decrease points on star tool after effect keyboard shortcut

You can also use your mouse scroll button instead of the arrows. The same thing applies for the polygon tool.

Polygon tool in after effects

I hope you found this quick tip useful. Make sure to subscribe to our email list for latest After Effects tips.

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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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