I am following an AE tutorial. As part of its exercise files, the tutorial provides an .ai file that has two layers: a rocket and a black background. The .ai file is then imported into AE as a composition, thereby retaining the two layers.

The tutorial then creates a circle as a shape layer. It places the shape layer below the rocket but above the background:

enter image description here

and the following is displayed:

enter image description here

When I do the same, the circle obstructs the rocket layer:

enter image description here

The only way I can get the rocket layer to be visible is by moving the circle layer all the way to the vertical bottom:

enter image description here

It's as if the two layers of the original .ai file are behaving as one. What could be the problem?

1 Answer 1


Probably a dumb question, but is your circle the same colour as the rocket? Then it would appear to obscure the rocket...

Alternatively - There could be some kind of matte on one of the layers? Click on the Toggle Switches/Modes button at the bottom of the list of layers in the timeline, and see whether any mattes are switched on.

  • 1
    That was it - white on white! Thank you so much. Wish I could upvote x10!
    – Sabuncu
    May 3, 2016 at 10:29
  • No worries at all - if you're ever not sure about something like that, switching the "Mask and Shape Visiblity" button on and off can help to see what's going on. It's Cmd + Shift + H on a mac (ctrl + shift + H on a PC I assume).
    – tomh
    May 3, 2016 at 10:44
  • I switched back to white on white to see the effects of toggling "Mask/Shape Visibility". It did not help. Sometimes only knowledge from someone experienced as yourself works. Thank you again. (No wonder BBC production values are high!)
    – Sabuncu
    May 3, 2016 at 11:44

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