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Video Tutorial: How to Apply and Keyframe Shape Masks in Final Cut Pro X

Ashley Kennedy
By Ashley Kennedy

Use Shape Masks to exercise precise control during color correction!

In Final Cut Pro X, you can use shape masks to define specific areas to apply color corrections.  Not only that, but you can animate your masks over time, as well as combine them with other color correction effects, like color masks.

Watch this video tutorial to find out how to use shape masks!

This Final Cut Pro X video tutorial will teach you how to:

  • Apply and manipulate a shape mask to your image
  • Apply color corrections to the inside and outside of your mask
  • Keyframe your mask over time
  • Combine a shape mask with a color mask

Full Video Transcription

Hello. This is Ashley Kennedy with Premiumbeat.com, here to show you how to apply and keyframe shape masks in Final Cut Pro X. When I apply a shape mask I’m affecting the color correction either inside or outside of a given shape. Let’s go ahead and try this. I’m going to click on this clip in the timeline and open the Inspector by pressing Command 4. In the color category, I want to click on this button here, “Add Shape Mask.” By default we get a double circle. The inside circle is the shape of our shape mask, so I can make it more oblong, up and down or side to side, or I can even turn it into a square, or I can use this control right here to rotate it. And the outside ring here is basically controlling the fall off from the inside shape to the rest of the image. So if I had it very close to the shape, it would be a very harsh edge, and if I made this a lot bigger, it’s going to be a fine gradient as it gradually goes to the outside image.

What I’d like to do here is kind of create a dreamy sequence, so we want to have a white haze around the outside of this image. We’re going to go ahead and rotate this, and we’ll make it a little bit more square, and a little bit larger, here. We’ll bring the fall off in slightly. OK, so we’ve set our shape mask. Now we’re actually going to apply the color correction. I’m going to enter my color correction controls and like I said I want it to kind of have a bright, hazy, fuzzy feeling so I want to affect the outside of the shape, so we’re going to click on outside mask. And then I think I’ll just go ahead and bring up the exposure a little bit, and maybe bring down the saturation. The cool thing about a shape mask is that you can actually simultaneously affect the inside of the shape as well as outside.

So, we’ve already made changes outside the mask, let’s go ahead and choose inside, and I can affect the exposure, the saturation, or the hue values here. Maybe I want to make that red pop a little bit more by bringing down the shadows. There’s also an option to come down here to this gear and use one of Final Cut Pro X’s default color correction setups. So, we can kind of go through and see if there’s anything that we like here. OK, maybe I’ll use that contrast, and you can use that as a starting off point. As you can see it brought my highlights up and my shadows down. Maybe I want to crunch that even a little bit more to kind of add to my dream quality and you can kind of see that we have our haze going on. If we want to adjust our mask a little bit and bring that in we certainly can. I actually need to grab the outside ring so I will change this to 25% so that I have access to that and make it less of a gradual fall off so we have more of that haze. This is getting to be a little bit more what I am after here. It’s very dream sequence like. So let’s go ahead and play through this and see if we like it.

Alright, so it’s getting there. One thing I might like to do is actually fade this dream like quality in so let’s add a few keyframes. We’ll go ahead and go back to our Inspector and let’s open the video animation by clicking on these arrows here and say show video animation, the keyboard shortcut for that is control V. We want to go ahead and add a couple of keyframes, so let’s go to the very beginning,and we’ll add a keyframe right here and let’s say that we’d like the dream sequence to be in full effect by about right here, so let’s add another keyframe right there. So we’ll go back to the first keyframe and lets click on our mask here so we can see it, and all I’m going to do, is actually just drag this out to the edges so we can’t see it. So what’s going to happen is from the first keyframe it’s going to have basically no halo around the image, and then it’s going to animate on slowly until it’s in full effect right here. So let’s go ahead and play this out.

Alright, looks good. I might come back in and alter this slightly so that I can see more of her head, and I think I will just move that just a little bit. It’s getting to look a little bit more like what I had in mind. Now keep in mind we can keep layering our color corrections effects if we want to. If for example, I wanted to make her red sweater a little bit more purple, perhaps, I can add a correction and grab my color mask tool and sample the red sweater, like so, and go in and make that a little bit cooler, a little more purple. OK, maybe not quite so saturated. And so here we have both a color mask as well as our keyframed shape mask coming in.

Really the sky is the limit. Just keep layering and layering if you want. We can go ahead and X this out so that I’m back to my primary story line, and there we go. Alright, thanks so much for watching our video tutorial on shape masks in Final Cut Pro X. Be sure to check back often at Premiumbeat.com where you’ll see more exciting video tutorials in both Avid and Final Cut Pro. This is Ashley Kennedy with Premiumbeat.com.