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Using a shape mask to isolate a correction

From: Color Correction in Final Cut Pro X

Video: Using a shape mask to isolate a correction

Earlier in this chapter we talked about using a Color Mask, or what essentially amounts to a key to make a secondary correction. While Color Masks work very well in a variety of situations, they have a couple of downsides. First, if you have a lot of similar Hue, Saturation, and Lightness values in a shot, it can be hard to isolate what you want. Second, if there is a lot of subtle gradation in what you're trying to select, it can be hard to get a solid or clean selection. Well, to adjust these problems we have another way of making a secondary color correction in Final Cut Pro X. That way is known as using a Shape Mask. Known as Windows or Vignettes in other dedicated color correction applications, Shape Masks will allow you to use a geometric shape to make a secondary correction.

Using a shape mask to isolate a correction

Earlier in this chapter we talked about using a Color Mask, or what essentially amounts to a key to make a secondary correction. While Color Masks work very well in a variety of situations, they have a couple of downsides. First, if you have a lot of similar Hue, Saturation, and Lightness values in a shot, it can be hard to isolate what you want. Second, if there is a lot of subtle gradation in what you're trying to select, it can be hard to get a solid or clean selection. Well, to adjust these problems we have another way of making a secondary color correction in Final Cut Pro X. That way is known as using a Shape Mask. Known as Windows or Vignettes in other dedicated color correction applications, Shape Masks will allow you to use a geometric shape to make a secondary correction.

And in this movie I want to show you how we can use a Shape Mask to make a secondary color correction. And this project has a shot that looks pretty good. Let me go ahead and select it and then press Command+4 to open up the Inspector. Here in the Color area of the Inspector you'll notice that I have the default correction, Correction 1, and I've actually already gone ahead and used this correction to perform a primary color correction. I can toggle this correction on and off by using this blue box right here. Here is the original shot, and here's the corrected shot. All I did was perform a simple exposure correction on this shot to improve its contrast.

But one thing is so bothering about the shot--these bright windows right here. Now if I come into this correction, the primary correction that is, and over to the Exposure pane, and use the highlight or white exposure control and drag down to darken the highlights of this shot, I'd have darkened the highlights in the entire shot, not just in the windows, and that's not what I want to do. So what I want to do is come back to the main level of the Inspector by clicking the Back button here, and then what I want to do is add a new correction. To Add a New Correction I'm going to click on this plus button right here, and we can add as many corrections as we want to a shot. And now I have a new correction, Correction 2. Let me go ahead and select that correction.

Next to where it says Correction 2, I have two icons. Earlier in this chapter we took a look at this icon. This is the icon to create a Color Mask, but this icon right here allows us to add a Shape Mask, so let me go ahead and click on that icon. When I do, over in the viewer, I have some on-screen controls. Let's take a look at how these controls work. First, by using the green controls right here, I can resize and adjust the Aspect Ratio of the shape itself. By using this translucent control right here, I can change the shape from a circle to a square or back to a circle.

Using the center control right here I can position the shape around the screen just like this, and then by using this control right here I can rotate the shape. Let me go ahead and position the shape over the window just like this. All right, that's working pretty well. Go ahead and rotate that just a touch. That's working. Now it's always important before you actually make a correction with a shape that you add a bit of softness to the shape, and how I do that is with this outside line right here. If I click on the line and drag out, I can soften up the shape.

By softening the shape after we make the correction, we won't see any hard edges on the shape. Now that we've placed the shape, let's come back over here to Correction 2 and click on this button right here to access the Color Board for this correction. Here on the Exposure pane what I want to do is use my highlights or whites exposure control and drag down just touch to darken up those windows and return some highlight detail to them. That's looking way better. One thing you should notice though is at the bottom of the Color Board I have two buttons right here, Inside Mask and Outside Mask.

Inside Mask is the default option and what this means is that when I make a correction here on the Color Board, the correction that I perform will affect the inside of the shape. If I switch to Outside Mask, any correction that I make will affect the outside of the shape. Inside and Outside corrections can live together at the same time. So I've already made an inside correction on the shape. What I'm going to do is switch to the outside as I already have, and then I'm going to use the highlights control right here in the Exposure pane and drag down just a touch. And you'll notice that the highlights outside of the shape darkened up.

Now for this shot I actually don't want to make that correction, so I'm going to go ahead and reset the Outside Mask Exposure correction that I just did. Let's go back to Inside Mask. If we go back to the main level of the Inspector by clicking the Back button here on the Color Board, I want to show you something else. When you're making a correction it can be kind of annoying to have the outline of the shape itself here on screen. So if you click on this button right here, this little blue icon, you can hide the actual shape itself. Of course, you can always come back into the Correction and keep adjusting the correction, just like that. But you're just not seeing the outline of the shape itself, which is nice to not to have in view when you're doing subtle color corrections using a shape.

Let's come back to the main level of the Inspector here. Let's toggle this correction on and off. So there is before and there's after the correction. It looks pretty good. So you can see that Shape Masks can be a powerful way of making a secondary color correction and even more powerful when you factor in the fact that you can make corrections inside and outside of the shape. Now I know what you're thinking, what happens if the object you're isolating with the Shape Mask moves? Because in this shot as I scrub through, you notice that the windows, well, they're obviously not moving.

That's a great question, and we'll talk about keyframing shape masks a bit later in this chapter, but for now, hopefully you're more comfortable using Shape Masks to make secondary color corrections.

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Color Correction in Final Cut Pro X

30 video lessons · 12145 viewers

Robbie Carman
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