Don't require track mattes to be above the layer it modifies (and also allow re-use)
Requiring a track matte to be right above the layer it modifies seems like an archaic convention at best. Get rid of that requirement and make them like parent layers which can be anywhere and used by many layers.
Jakob List commented
The set matte effect is great yes. And may be for visual help in the timeline a lasso could be nice.
And the node based comping for ae would also be awesome in my opinion.
Or, give the "Set Matte" effect some love. Generally, some filters feel like they were completely abandoned. Example: Ramp.
Stoph Demetriou commented
Agreed. Or they could improve the functionality of the set matte, which is absolutely useless if you ever have to precomp. AE really, really should introduce some kind of node-based workflow option. AE is great (for now!) but working exclusively with layers is so old-fashioned for compositing/animation.
Antoine (Autokroma.com) commented
Agreed. AE compositions organization should get closer to nodes / graphs
Nimble Media Solutions commented
I would love this feature to work how it does in Photoshop. Can make folders (not pre-comps) - and - apply a mask(s) to that folder/group.
For now, we need to create some sort of Master Control Layer that other layers can reference. Could be done with pre-comps or Pick Whipping the properties of your Master Layer.
Steve Adam commented
i have just completed a project where it would really have helped to be able to let multiple layers refer to the same track matte. OK it's easy enough to duplicate them during the build but if you ever need to come back and re-edit something for a client, or worse still need to give that job to someone else to do, you really need total recall of what you duplicated and where/why in order to be able to do this... I'm only human!
Joshua Leckrone commented
This would be so useful!
It would be cool to use one matte for multiple layers, I'm not fussed whether they have to stay above as I find that easy to locate them.
Siamak P commented
would be great to be able to link layers to track mattes, as they are usually the layer above, so when linked you won't move them separately by mistake and would be a lot easier to manage them.
Or make Set Matte work like just like Track Mattes
Andreas Urra commented
Track mattes should work for all layer types, all dimensions and also when they are animated by their transform properties or by parenting. Without the need to precomp. This would speed up work, feel way more fluid and less complicated.
Use Set Matte effect and Transform effect or just precomp the track matte layer.
@ Darren Place : Same over here. Agreed!
Darren Place commented
This would be game changing!! I often find myself with dozens of duplicates of the same matte precomp in the timeline. To have my mattes sitting on the bottom layers and pickwhip would be huge.
Matthias Stoll commented
It could also be an idea to improve the set matte effect to ignore resolutions and basically to the same thing.
Ryan O'Connell commented
Agreed, a pick whip, with the option to select 'Source' - 'Masks' - 'Effects & Masks '
@ Justin - BAMB! that would be RAD
Justin Hemsley commented
It could work like the parenting pickwhip. That'd be awesome.
Some sort of a node-based approach would be great here, even as I know full well that AE is a layer based compositing system. It would be nice for stuff like matts.
I end up duping the Matt layer, and setting up expression links from the 'Master' mask keyframes to all the dupes in dupe layers, effectively 'cloning' the matt layer, so if changes are made, they roll out to the dupes.
Micah Haun commented
Set matte is great for shape layers. It's not a workable solution for image layers though.
Size differences tend to put the matte where I don't expect or want it, and transformations are ignored. Only track mattes do what I need for image layers, but at the expense of needing to layer them in the expected order and often making a bunch of duplicates.