Masking Video Editing 101: How to Make a Mask with Video Masking Software

By Cecilia Hwung | Last Update:

What is masking in video editing? Video mask is a general processing method on popular video post-production software for graphic processing, video editing, and VFX/molding/animation video generating. After masking the video, you can apply the effects to one or multiple particular areas. In this post, you are going to know 5 creative ways to use masking for video creating as well as how to apply video masking in common video editing software.

5 Creative Uses of Video Masking

Remove Objects from a Video with Masking

Mask enables you to cut out an irregular shape from any place of the video. There are several ways to get things done. A very common workflow on most editing software is outlining a particular object with mask tool, inverting the mask, and then duplicating the source clip on your timeline. After that, you can change the position of the first layer to get rid of the unwanted objects.

Remove Object from Video

Make Isolated Color Grading with Masking

Sometimes, you just want to perform the color grading for a specific area, for instance, you want to constrain the affected frames when changing the hue, or correcting a particular color in a small range. You can simply isolate the target subject by marking it before applying any adjustments to the color.

Change Color for A Particular Range

Create Animated Transition Effects with Masking

To make a stand-out video with a personal touch, you may need to create some customized transitions instead of adding ready-make ones. With masking and editing features offered by different editing programs, you have many ways to make creative and animated transition effects. Two good examples with the mask utility are the door reveal and screen tore transition effects.

Reveal Transitions

Create the Cool Text Effect with Masking

There are many ways to generate impressive text effects on prevalent editing software. And mask effect can make the text in your looked more professional. For example, you can create a shape mask for displaying letter by letter, add some opacity masks for making text reveal to the background of a moving object, and more.

Text Fade Transition

Track a Moving Object

On aside from masking a still object to make isolated color correction, remove unnecessary frames, you are enabled to mask and track moving subject. You can keyframe the mask that moves with the scene manually. Premiere, After Effects, DaVinci Resolve, and some industry-level editing software come with the feature of motion tracking.

Mask Tracking

They allow you to apply a track motion to a mask. That is to say, you can keep the mask track a moving object automatically. This hack is widely used for blurring faces, getting rid of a moving unwanted element, changing color for an animated object, etc.

How to Make an Ellipse, Rectangle, or Free Form Mask

To take advantages of masking to create clone effects, seamless transitions, or other creative effects, you do not need to have a professional video masking software as almost all advanced video editing software is designed with the masking feature. In the following part, I’m going to show you how to make different shape of mask by using Premiere Pro. After reading, there should be no problem for you to make a mask with DaVinci Resolve, Kdenlive, or any other video editing software, since the ways to apply video masking with different tools are similar.

You should first select the clip that you wish to apply the masking to. Next, come over to the Effect panel. Herein, you can:

1. Select ellipse-shape pen tool to create an ellipse-shaped mask.

2. Go with the rectangle-shape tool to create a rectangle-shaped mask.

Premiere Mask Tool
Use the Shape Tool

3. Select the Pen tool to create a complicated and free form mask. Move your cursor to any of the corner points of the object, and start to draw. Each click makes up a vertex point in the shape, and every two points are joined with a straight line. By adding up many points, the object can be outlined roughly.

4. If you need to create a curved Bezier path, press the Alt key while placing the cursor over a point. The cursor will turn to a pointer shape. Click the mouse and release it to get two knobs. Drag them to create and amend the curved path.

Premiere Pen Tool
Premiere Pen Tool

Note. To finish the drawing, you need to click on the initial point. If you need to modify the masks you have created, follow the below steps:

  • Drag the cursor to resize or rotate the mask.
  • Drag a mask handle to change the shape.
  • Place the cursor to the edges of the mask. Once you find a + icon appears, you can click to add a new point.
  • To remove an existing point, move the cursor to that point and press Ctrl on Windows or CMD on Mac. Once the + icon appears, click that point.
Adjust the Mask in Premiere
Adjust the Mask in Premiere

Create a Mask: FAQs

1. Mask tool not working properly in Premiere Pro.

If the outline you drew doesn't match what's being masked by Premiere Pro, then you need to check out the adjustment layer. Do make sure it is in the same resolution with the video clip.

GPU Acceleration Settings in Premiere
GPU Acceleration Settings in Premiere

Suppose the issue still exists, you can try out to enable the Mercury Playback Engine GPU acceleration (CUDA/OpenGL). To get there, come over to file on the top menu bar, select Project Settings > General > Render, and then select the proper renderer option.

2. Mask tools not appearing on Premiere Pro CS5/CS6.

Premiere CS6 and CS5 don't come with 3 mask tools (ellipse, rectangle, and pen) like recent versions. However, you can still get similar features including invert by making use of Garbage Matte.

  • Step 1: Drag the Garbage Matte effect to the video on your timeline.
  • Step 2: Set the desired shape.
  • Step 3: Utilize the Curve and Feather options to amend the edges.

3. Mask tool not working or working properly in Premiere Pro.

Updating the Premiere Pro and graphics card, and using the opacity mask tool should be able to address your issue.

About The Author

Cecilia Hwung is the marketing manager of Digiarty Software and the editor-in-chief of VideoProc team. She pursues common progress with her team and expects to share more creative content and useful information to readers. She has strong interest in copywriting and rich experience in video editing tips.

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