How to Make a Mask in Final Cut Pro

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Hi! This is Dylan from Stupid Raisins. In this video I will show you how to make a mask in Final Cut Pro.

A mask isolates a specific area of the frame. You can use masks to remove a background, cut out a person or face or apply an effect to a specific area. 

There are five different mask types that you can use to create various effects, and each one has its own advantages. But if you’re not careful, it can be difficult to know which mask is best for what effect.

If you’re looking for an easy way to create masks in Final Cut Pro, then you’re in the right place.

In this video I’m going to show you how to use all 5 masks in Final Cut.

I’m also going to show you how to remove a background, add a vignette and a cool animation trick to move your mask.

Ready to go? Mask and you shall receive.

To add a mask, select your clip, open the Effects browser, scroll down to the Masks category and double click your mask. Even faster, you can drag and drop your mask onto your clip.

Let’s play with the Shape Mask. The shape mask creates a mask in any shape from oval to rectangle. 

We have several on screen controls. The outer ring controls the Feather or softness and the inner ring controls the scale uniformly. The green handles change the scale independently. The white dot in the upper left corner changes the curvature and the middle circle and handle control the position and rotation of the mask. You can turn off the controls by clicking the Shape Mask Onscreen Controls button.

Use Radius to change the width and height of your mask. Fill opacity controls how transparent your mask is and invert mask switches what is being masked out. You can use View to see the original clip without the mask applied. Falloff controls how steep the feather or softness is. This is the only simple mask that can be converted to control points for more complex custom masks.

Next up is a Vignette mask. A Vignette mask is a horizontal oval mask with soft edges.

The outer ring controls the falloff, the inner ring controls the mask size and in between the rings changes the size and falloff at the same time. The middle circle changes the center of the mask.

Next one is the Image Mask. An Image Mask is a mask that replicates the shape of an image. This works best with Shapes Generator.

First, go to your Titles and Generators Browser. Scroll down to Generators and click Elements. Drag the Shapes to your timeline. Then go to your Generator Inspector. Under Shape. Click the drop down menu. Here you can choose any shape you want from Circle to Heart. Once you’ve selected a shape. Go to Drop Shadow Opacity and make it zero percent. Next, go to your Effects Browser and search for Image Mask and drag it to your main clip. 

Then go to your Video Inspector. The Mask Source is where you will select your source clip to be your mask. Under Mask Source, click the arrow to select your source clip. Click the Shape clip you made and then hit Apply Clip. You can now delete the Shape you made.

Leave the Source Channel to Alpha. This is just for color channels.

You can tick the Invert Mask if you want to create a cut out. 

Then to change the position of the mask just click and drag the middle circle. Then to move your masked clip just right click and click transform. You can now move the clip with the mask. 

I’m only gonna mask this once. Are you enjoying this video? If so, give it a thumbs up. Thanks!

Next is the Graduated Mask. This is for creating a mask based on a gradient (from fully transparent to fully opaque).

The top circle is for adjusting the Center. The bottom circle is for adjusting the Target. The farther the Target from the Center, the longer the gradient.

Then the Amount is for adjusting the intensity of the mask.

You can animate the Graduated Mask to create a transition for your Infobar at the bottom or even a Lower Third. First, you align the center circle in the middle. Next, align the target circle on the edge. Then, go to the first frame of your clip. Then go to Graduated Mask and click the drop down arrow. Now click Add and go back to your timeline. Drag your playhead to where your transition will start. Then go to Graduated Mask. Click the drop down arrow and then Add. Then drag your playhead where your transition will end, then Add keyframes. Finally go to the last frame of your clip the Add keyframes.

Once the keyframes are added. Drag your playhead to the first frame. Go back to Graduated Mask and then change the Amount to zero. After that, go to the last frame of your clip then change the Amount to zero. This is how it looks. 

Mask but not least we have the Draw Mask. With this mask you can create custom masks with control points.

First, go to your Effects Browser and search for Draw mask. Drag and drop it onto your clip. In the Viewer, add control points by clicking and moving the pencil icon. By default it will be straight lines but if you click and drag you’ll get a curved line. Complete your custom shape by clicking on the first control point. To move a point position, just left click it and drag to the new spot.

To add more control points after you’ve closed your mask, right click where you want the new control point and select Add Point. To remove a control point, right click on the control point and select Delete Point.

You can also make the lines between control points curved or straight by right clicking on a point and selecting linear or smooth. A smooth control point has these handles to adjust the lines. Right click on a handle to break the handles for independent adjustments.

Let’s go to our published parameters. A Linear Shape Type will make all lines straight. Bezier is a mix of straight and curved lines and B-Spline is all curved lines.

Fill opacity controls how transparent your mask is and invert mask switches what is being masked out. You can use View to see the original clip without the mask applied. Feather controls how soft the mask is and falloff controls how steep the feather is.

Under transform you can change your mask’s x and y positions or just click and drag any inner part of the mask in the viewer. You can change the rotation as well and you can set precise point positions under Control Points.

Let’s remove the background of this clip. First add straight and curved control points around this chair and woman. Next I’ll adjust the feather and falloff.

As you can see the woman moves around and her head goes outside of the mask. No worries, we can animate the mask to move with her head. 

Move your playhead to the beginning of the clip and left click next to Control Points and Add a keyframe. Back in your timeline, move forward 10 frames by pressing Shift + right arrow. Adjust your control points. Repeat this process through the entire clip. Move forward 10 frames and adjust points. 

Then go frame by frame using the left and right arrows and add keyframes for more precise mask movement by moving your control points.

This can take a while but it’s worth it for a smooth animation. Check it out!

Now that you’re a mask master, I have a free gift for you. It’s a pack of Final Cut Pro plugins to enhance your videos and impress your clients, friends, family – even your mother in law! It’s worth $138 but it is yours free. Click the link in the description for your free gift!

About Dylan Higginbotham

Hey there. I'm Dylan Higginbotham, and I'm pretty dang obsessed with Final Cut Pro X plugins. Subscribe below because I love giving away free plugins and contributing great content.

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