Preserve Underlying Transparency in After Effects

In this super quick tip, I will show you how to preserve underlying transparency in After Effects. Let’s dive right in!

I am in After Effects and I have a very simple map animation.

Simple Map Animation in After Effects

This map does have transparency.

Now I want to bring in a simple paper texture.

I also want this paper texture to only be visible inside of my map and not the transparency.

Let me show you how to do it quickly without having to move all of my layers into a new composition and then duplicating that composition and doing the whole Alpha Matte. There is a simpler way.

Step 1: Place the Paper Texture to the top of the timeline

Step 2: Click on the Preserve Underlying Transparency. When you do that, it will take that paper texture and apply it to everything underneath it. However, it will only apply it to RGB and not ALPHA, which is exactly what I want.

Now we can do all kinds of things like changing the blending mode to Multiply.

Working like this will help you keep everything in one composition. 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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