After Effects Tutorial – Using Preserve Transparency

After Effects Tutorial – Using Preserve Transparency

Here is a quick tip on using Preserve Transparency in After Effects.  An often overlooked feature, this little switch can sometimes be very useful when wanting to stack several layers and retain the transparency of the bottom layer.

Head on over to Vimeo to watch this in HD

Preserve Transparency In After Effects from Tim Clapham on Vimeo.

After Effects Tutorial – Using Preserve Transparency

Author: Tim


  1. bill
    bill On June 24, 2009 at 12:35 PM

    Hello, you’ve got a third method, wich is to put your alpha logo on the top layer, and switch the mode to “Stencil Alpha”. The thing good with this method is that you don’t need just an alpha, but you can use a lume mask, with the mode “Stencil Luma”.
    And at least, you can invert le mask by choosing “Silhouette Alpha” or “Silhouette luma”.
    But it’s just another possibility, not better.
    Bill (sorry for my bad english 😉

  2. Nick
    Nick On July 7, 2009 at 9:16 AM

    Thanks Tim,

    I didn’t know you could do this!
    Also, in response to Bill, I discovered the ‘Stencil Alpha’ option recently also. Helped me out of a bit of a tight spot. I’d done a job with Particular swooshes that were applied to a background as a screen or additive. When the client requested the swooshes separately with alphas I discovered the Stencil Alpha option which I used to retain some of the background behind them so that they retained their Screen/Add look.


  3. shuto
    shuto On September 10, 2009 at 1:51 PM

    very well explained Tim thanks.

    and thanks Bill for the stencil alpha tip.

  4. Peder Norrby
    Peder Norrby On December 24, 2009 at 9:11 AM

    Dude, I’ve been using AE since 1999 and I had never used that switch! Thanks for the tip.

  5. kwaku nyantekyi
    kwaku nyantekyi On September 15, 2013 at 8:58 AM

    I’m glad you mentioned set matte at the end. I think it’s a very under used plugin.

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