Painting in After Effects Using Blending Modes

In today’s blog post, Jeff, our lead instructor, will show you how to paint in After Effects using blending modes.

Note: remember to watch the video tutorial, it will be much easier to understand and follow Jeff’s instructions.

Here is this tree that I start with.

I want to be able to make the leaves turn a different color like it’s Autumn.

I go to the Paint Brush Tool, I got the paintbrush tool or the brush tool, got the color.

brush tool in After Effects

I am going to change this from RGBA to just RGB. It paints only on areas of opacity or areas that have some color in it.

change rgba to rgb

Now, I want to also change the mode from normal to color.

change mode from normal to color


That color is a great way to blend color with something behind it. I am just going to paint on there. Now, it just paints the leaves. It paints only the things that have opacity and RGB color obviously.


Here’s the video tutorial:

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I am doing one brush tool here. I am going to miss the bird on purpose here. The one brush left to do all of this. When I originally did this I did all a bunch of brush stroke. But I am just doing one brush stroke, avoid the bird, avoid the squirrel and try to get everything done like that. That is one brush stroke. Click at Paint, there is that one brush stroke.

only one brush stroke

Take a second brush stroke with a different color. Let say for the bird. I am just going to make the bird purple, just the like of it. Now when I paint the bird, I probably want to zoom in a bit so I go control and plus to get close over here. Here we go.

painting the bird using blending modes in AE

I get on the other side, I missed a few leaves. If I paint the bird now it will be separate from the rest of the tree there. If I want to paint the squirrel, I want to paint probably a brown or color for that.

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It’s kind of hard to pick brown sometimes. I’ll just try that and see that works. It may not work perfectly but I’ll just— If I paint over here we won’t paint the background and the tree being black, it won’t pick up any color. That is how it works.


painting the squirrel using blending modes in AE


Now just Shift – Forward Slash to get the view of that. That is how you can paint on something using the— let’s say blending mode like color and paint only on the figures not worrying about going over the lines.

Thank you for watching this video. My name is Jeff Sengstack, an Adobe Certified Expert and a Lead Instructor here at If you want to watch this entire video lesson, as well as other live classes and After Effects crash courses. Then I invite you to check out the BlueFx After Effects Academy. Just click the link below this video to find out what we’ve prepared for you in the After Effects Academy.

Join The After Effects Academy And Get Acces To This Full Lesson + Monthly Live Classes And After Effects Templates

Remus Hosu

Remus Hosu

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