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Masking Basics in Final Cut Pro 2018

January 25, 2020

When you upgrade from iMovie to Final Cut Pro, you get a host of new tools and features. All these new tools and features are very
useful, but some are more so than others. The ability to add a mask to your video clip is one of the most useful features you don’t normally get in the free software. Today we’re going to take a look at using the mask tool in Final Cut Pro. Hey guys, whats up. My name is Serge, and welcome back to my channel for another Final Cut Pro tutorial. Before we go any further, if you haven’t yet, scroll down and hit that small red subscribe button below. This way you’ll get to see all my videos when they come out, at least one every week. Go ahead, I’ll wait….. OK. Now that thats done, what exactly is a mask, and what does it do? Adding a mask to a video clip adds an area of transparency to part of the image. When there’s no clip layered below the mask, this area will show up as black. When there is a clip or an image under the
masked clip, that clip will be visible through the transparent part of the mask. This can be used for layering clips, highlighting parts of the video, adding effects to only specific parts of the
image and so on. Lets take a look at the shape mask. A shape mask allows you to quickly create a mask in any shape from an ellipse to a rectangle. To apply a shape mask to your clip open the effects browser and scroll down to the masks category. Select the Shape Mask, and drag and drop it over your clip. The area inside the mask remains the same, and everything outside the mask becomes transparent. Because there’s no clips under our timeline
clip, this area appears as black. If we were to add a clip underneath, that clip would show through in the areas outside our mask. Let press Command Z to undo that. When you apply the shape mask, it’s on screen controls appear in the viewer, and the adjustment parameters appear in the effects section of the inspector. You can use either the on screen controls, or the adjustment parameters in the inspector to adjust the shape of your mask as needed. Lets take a look at adjusting the mask using the on screen controls. To reposition your mask, click and drag the white circle inside the
mask. Click and drag the green handle connected to the white circle to rotate your
mask. The four green dots on the sides of the mask are used to adjust the shapes width or height. Clicking and dragging these will adjust the shapes opposite sides. You can also hold down the option key while dragging to adjust one side only, or, if you hold down the Shift key while dragging, all four sides will be adjusted proportionately. To adjust the curvature of the mask, click and drag the white control handle in the top left corner. Dragging it to one extreme will give you a
perfect rectangle, while dragging it to the opposite extreme will give you an oval, or a perfect circle. To control the edge softness, click and drag the outer circle. Dragging the outer circle close to the inner
circle will give you a hard edge, while dragging the outer circle away from
the inner circle will soften the edge, and give you a more gradual transition. All these controls are also available in the
inspector, along with a couple additional controls. Selecting the Invert Mask checkbox will reverse your mask, making the inside transparent. Also, clicking the covert to points button will convert your mask shape to control points, which we’ll talk about in one of my upcoming
videos. So, now that we know how to apply a mask, and how to make all the adjustments, lets see how we can use a shape mask to highlight the subject in our clip. First thing we need to do is duplicate our
clip. Hold down the option key and drag up the clip to make a copy of it. Next, apply the shape mask, and resize it to fit the subject in the clip. Select the bottom clip, and in the color correction section of the
inspector, bring down the global saturation, bring down the highlight exposure and bump up the shadows, just to flatten out the image a little. Next, select the top clip again, and bring up the global saturation a bit, to make our subject pop. Lets take a look at our image before, and after. This was just a simple example of how to use a mask in Final Cut Pro. Next week, we’ll take a look at some of the more complex masking controls, by using the draw mask effect. If you haven’t yet, make sure to hit the subscribe button and turn on notifications so you don’t miss
it. And feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments below, and I’ll try to get back to you as soon
as I can. So, thanks for watching, and I hope to see you back next week.


  • Reply Terme Bergamo March 24, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    Great vid thanks, but when you made the mask of the blue dress lady it was very vague and included the trees. Please do a video on how to refine the selection and follow the subject when it鈥檚 moving. Thank you for your good work.

  • Reply wan-der-lust March 24, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    Thanks, Serg… FCPX never ceases to amaze me. (and your tutorials too 馃榾)

  • Reply Rock Toone March 24, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    Serg, I would love to spend a week just in a question and answer session. MANY!!!! folks need to learn from your style; say Hello, and get to the content! Keep them up!!!! BTW, do you have a place to donate some $$$; you are very deserving of it!

  • Reply Supermonkey 1964 March 24, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    Awesome video! I'm learning more & more from you. Thank you. 馃檪

  • Reply 小校袩袝袪 孝袪袝袡袛袝袪 March 24, 2018 at 9:57 pm

    good video! 小锌邪褋懈斜芯!

  • Reply jaythizzle1969 March 25, 2018 at 12:07 am


  • Reply Lex McFarley March 25, 2018 at 2:38 pm

    I am using FCPX 10.4 and the mask dots disappear when I put the cursor over the video to pick the mask dots or the shape mask shape to change it.

  • Reply Hana & Goku March 25, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    yeah will be looking forward to your draw mask video. please make sure to cover how to manipulate the control points on curved shapes, majority of masking videos on youtube are ignoring this as they are most probably not good in it, either! 馃檪

  • Reply Beyonka Home Decor March 26, 2018 at 11:41 pm

    Can you do a video on how to use Proloquist Volume 2 and Prowall Volume 2 (both from Pixel Film studios)? There aren't a lot of videos on how to use their plugins and the ones they do aren't thorough enough for me. It's so frustrating. And you have an excellent teaching style. It's easy for me to learn from you. So far, you're videos have been great!

  • Reply FAIR USE FUNNY April 5, 2018 at 1:54 am

    It鈥檚 next week. Looking forward to your next video

  • Reply GoodFellasMediaTV April 7, 2018 at 2:49 am

    FCPX isnt free software.

  • Reply Ignace Van Bost April 18, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    Hoe verwijder ik plugings in fcpx?

  • Reply Chris Debono April 28, 2018 at 3:36 am

    trying to draw a mask but I don't get the tool to allow it.. I drag mask and nothing,

  • Reply Lil Jockey May 19, 2018 at 5:48 pm

    Nice tutorial man .

  • Reply EditQuik Productions June 20, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    Serge nice video!! Can you through some light on rhythmic editing(retiming basics-advanced) & how to make own LUTs in FCP? Thanks in advance

  • Reply littlecicero June 23, 2018 at 10:39 am

    The most systematic and thorough explanation of an FCPX feature I remember having seen. Very impressive.

  • Reply Lifetime Travelmates July 5, 2018 at 10:31 am

    Thanks for the video! Nicely explained!

  • Reply ZAYLOW July 25, 2018 at 3:07 am

    Hello all. Question? Is it possible to mask out the background of a video clip that I create and replace it with a different background ? Thx

  • Reply Mike Miller July 25, 2018 at 8:16 pm

    Is it possible to zoom an image inside a mask without zooming the mask itself?

  • Reply Derrick Hogue August 24, 2018 at 3:38 am

    how do you keep the black vignette with a clip on top of another clip ?

  • Reply Efisio Cross | Orchestral October 23, 2018 at 10:25 pm


  • Reply Mama Julie Cooks November 6, 2018 at 10:45 pm

    Hey I just wanted to thank you for your videos!!! Im new to FCP and our videos are great in many ways but for me they start with the basics and then advance from there which I really appreciate. You don't assume we already know things and further they are very clear and concise. THANK YOU.

  • Reply Rob McWatt November 8, 2018 at 9:02 pm


  • Reply sunjamrblues December 3, 2018 at 3:23 am

    Finally! A video that gets to the point, is clear and concise, and well explained. Many thanks! I've subscribed.

  • Reply fazal desk March 3, 2019 at 8:54 am


  • Reply Yusuf Cet April 8, 2019 at 9:09 am

    Thanks Serge. I just noticed that all i learned from FCP was by watching your clips. Every time when i searched for an effect on youtube you were the one to help me.

  • Reply 360selfcare with Vale April 10, 2019 at 7:54 am

    I click like even before watching your videos now 馃槃 they're all so useful 馃檹馃徎

  • Reply C N May 24, 2019 at 4:22 pm

    Does this mean we are able to animate a text highlight using a mask, like this? Or is that still strictly something in motion? I have been trying to learn this effect for so long. If this is not the way, could you make a video explaining this effect? I think a lot people would like to know. Great video! Subbed.

  • Reply Graham Banks May 27, 2019 at 12:35 am

    Now that's a great tutorial with no fluff nor filler! thanks!

  • Reply Tamer Bekir July 1, 2019 at 4:36 am

    Thanks man. The dragging while holding option just changed the game for me.

  • Reply Patrick DonEgan July 9, 2019 at 10:41 am

    where is that beach?

  • Reply Love To Learn September 16, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    YYEEEES!!! THANK YOU!!! SO HELPFUL!! Quick and simple to follow!!馃憦馃徎

  • Reply Fancylooks September 30, 2019 at 9:57 pm

    Thank you very much, The mystery I need to discover is how to move and slide the object inside the mask without moving or resizing the mask

  • Reply innerstrings October 29, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    Thanks for the tutorial. What I miss from FCP, since updating to FCPX, is the option to circle mask (without having to do it the way described in this video, which is more complex). Is there an easy way to mask with a perfect circle?

  • Reply Diane Christin December 24, 2019 at 4:54 am

    I am just mastering final cut pro x and this was such a help! Thank you for making the complex understandable and less intimidating! Such an important tool and I cannot wait to use it!

  • Reply Mat Stokes January 2, 2020 at 9:55 pm

    Hey Serge. Loving your FCP tuts. I'm a beginner and your video's are perfect for me. Cheers HNY

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