Apply a color mask to a video effect

You can create a color mask to apply a video effect, including a color correction, to a particular color in an image, or to exclude a color from the effect.

For example, you could use a color mask to mute a brightly colored shirt in the background that distracts attention from a shot’s main subject.

Apply a color mask to a video effect

  1. Add a clip to your project and select it in the Timeline.

  2. Position the playhead in the Timeline so that your clip appears in the Viewer.

  3. Add an effect to the Timeline clip from the Effects Browser.

    Note: This includes the Color Correction effect, which you can apply from the Color category of the Effects Browser or from the Enhancements pop-up menu in the toolbar.

  4. To open the Video inspector, choose Window > Show Inspector (or press Command-4).

    Viewer and Video inspector showing clip with a video effect
  5. In the Effects section of the Video inspector, move the pointer over the effect name and click the Apply Effect Masks button .

    Video inspector showing the Apply Effect Masks button of an effect in the Effects list
  6. In the pop-up menu that appears, choose Add Color Mask.

    The Color Mask parameter appears in the same section of the Video inspector, and the pointer changes to the eyedropper tool.

  7. In the Viewer, position the eyedropper on a color in the image that you want to isolate, and drag to select the color.

    Color Mask eyedropper being dragged over Viewer

    As you drag, two concentric circles appear. The size of the outer circle determines the range of color that is included in the color mask. As you change the outer circle size, the image becomes monochrome except for the color you’re selecting. You can drag a new selection circle as many times as you like to try for better results.

    Note: When you stop dragging, the effect is applied to the area you selected. If you applied a color correction, you’ll see the effects of the color mask as soon as you start making adjustments in the Color Board. You can then return to the Video inspector and use the eyedropper to make any adjustments to the color mask.

  8. To change the range of color included in the mask, do any of the following:

    • To add color shades: Hold down the Shift key, position the eyedropper on a color you want to add to the mask, and drag to select the color.

    • To subtract color shades: Hold down the Option key, position the eyedropper on a color you want to remove from the mask, and drag to select the color.

  9. To adjust the color mask edges, drag the Softness slider.

    Tip: To view the mask alpha channel while adjusting the Softness slider, hold down the Command key.

  10. To view the color mask alpha channel, click View Masks (next to the effect name).

    The mask’s alpha channel appears in the Viewer. White indicates fully opaque mask areas, black indicates areas outside the mask, and levels of gray indicate transparent mask areas.

    Viewer and Video inspector showing the color mask alpha channel of a clip