How to use After Effects’ master properties to build a sort of multi-shader


    This week we take another look at master properties inside of After Effects to build a sort of multi-shader. This allows us to use different mattes to apply textures to an image. If you use the angle control, which is tied to a Colorama effect on each matte, you can rotate the angle so that each copy of your multi-shader comp shows a different portion of the matte that can be textured differently. In this way, each copy of the multi-shader comp becomes a puzzle piece that locks in with the other layers.

    An easy way to use this is to set the same matte layer in the master properties for the multi-shader comp, and set a different texture and angle. 360/0° is the base matte, 1° is the opposite of the matte and 180° is halfway between those (middle grey).

    But of course, that’s not the only way to use this. It can be taken much further than this concept, especially if you animate the various layers. Our project file includes the ability to have the textures animate, to have the mattes animate, or to have both animate. This is accomplished with a simple Checkbox Expression Control. Then on Time Remap for each of those layers we have a variant of this expression:

    time*thisComp.layer(“Controller”).effect(“Animate Mattes?”)(“Checkbox”);

    Since checkboxes return 0 or 1, we either have Time Remap set to 0 or set to time. I hope you guys enjoy this one and we’ll see you next week.


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