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How to Create Masks in Adobe Premiere Pro Like a Pro

  • Post category:FILMMAKING
  • Post published:November 6, 2023
  • Reading time:8 mins read

Do you find yourself in need of creating image masks for color grading, special effects, or other applications in your video projects? Adobe Premiere Pro is here to simplify your workflow by allowing you to create image masks directly within the program.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of creating image masks in Adobe Premiere Pro and explore various scenarios where this skill can prove invaluable.

1. Choosing the Right Workspace

To embark on your journey of creating image masks, ensure your timeline with the shots that require masking is open. Go to the “Window” menu and select “Workspaces,” then choose “Editing.” This workspace is optimized for video editing and image mask creation. Also, ensure that the “Effect Controls” tab is open in the upper left-hand window; if not, you can select it to prepare for mask creation.

How to Create Masks in Adobe Premiere Pro

2. Removing the Clip Underneath

How to Create Masks in Adobe Premiere Pro

Creating an image mask is akin to cutting a hole in your clip, making the area beneath it visible. To minimize potential errors during the masking process, make sure there is no content visible beneath your clip. This step is crucial to maintain precision in your mask creation.

3. Spotlight Your Clip

By spotlighting the clip you are working on, you ensure that your masking work will only affect this specific clip and nothing else in your project. This focused approach allows for efficient and accurate mask creation.

4. Create an Opacity Masks

How to Create Masks in Adobe Premiere Pro

Adobe Premiere Pro offers three options for creating a custom mask within the Opacity effect controls: an ellipse, a four-point polygon mask, and a pen tool. For precise control over your mask’s shape, select the pen tool.

As an example, let’s say you want to mask out a reflection in a mirror. You can place points at each corner of the mirror. Once you close the shape by connecting the last point to the first, your mask will be defined.

5. Invert the Masks

After creating the mask, you can enhance its visual representation by clicking the checkbox labeled “Inverted.” This action transforms the mask’s interior into black, allowing you to see the original footage surrounding it. You can further fine-tune the mask’s appearance by adjusting parameters like feathered edge, mask size, and initial placement, ensuring a seamless blend with the shot.

6. Placing Your Second Clip Underneath

How to Create Masks in Adobe Premiere Pro

To reveal the footage you want to appear within the mask, place the clip with the desired content on Video Track 1, directly beneath your masked clip. Now, the area you previously cut out will display the new footage. You can adjust the alignment of the underlying footage by manipulating its position using the x and y coordinates in the Motion tab within Effects Controls.

How To Do Screen Replacements

One practical application of image masks is screen replacements for corporate clients. Suppose a client requests the removal of sensitive information from a shot. Robbie Janney, in a similar tutorial, demonstrates how to achieve this effect using Adobe After Effects and Premiere. An essential difference in his approach is the use of a green screen for masking, enabling more precise tracking of the replacement image.

Here are some valuable tips for screen replacements:

  • Download a green image (.jpg) from the internet and open it on your phone’s photo app, covering the entire phone screen. This technique facilitates smooth object placement over the screen without disturbing the replacement image.
  • Ensure all four corners of your device remain visible for accurate tracking during the motion tracking phase.

Expanding the Possibilities

Masks in Adobe Premiere Pro aren’t limited to just the Opacity effect controls. They find practical use in effect controls like Lumetri Color for color grading and color qualification. Additionally, masks can be employed to create scenes where the same actor appears multiple times within the same frame.

You can add animation to image masks to track objects within the frame, allowing for the creation of stunning special effects, all within the Adobe Premiere Pro environment.

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Creating image masks in Adobe Premiere Pro is a powerful tool for video editors and content creators. Whether you need to perform screen replacements, apply color grading, or control specific image regions, mastering the art of image masking can elevate the quality of your video projects.

With the guidance provided in this article, you’ll be well on your way to creating professional image masks like a pro in Adobe Premiere Pro.

So, let’s get started and unleash your creativity with the magic of masks!

Aanchal Shukla

I'm a Graphic designer with over 10 years of experience now turned full time Wordpress Developer , SEO Expert and Writer for I post simple FAQ guides and tutorials that cover Graphic, Animation, Filmmaking and Passive Income and Product Review in general.