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Lesson 9 from: DaVinci Resolve: Compositing with Fusion

Casey Faris

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Lesson Info

9. Masks

Learn how to create a mask and apply it to your video.
Next Lesson: Animation

Lesson Info


So we've been learning about a bunch of different kinds of nodes. And so far, we've learned about effects. We've learned about generators and we've learned about merge nodes. So just knowing these, you can do a ton of stuff in Fusion. If you can wrap your head around this, like, man, you can do almost anything you want so far. But what's going to take things to the next level is using masks. So here in our flow, down here in our nodes, you might notice that all of these nodes have this little blue input. This is where you connect a mask. A mask is really a way to limit what is happening in a specific node. You can make a mask by using any of these little outlines here towards the middle of our interface. I'll just grab a circle mask and drag that down. And as we have that selected, we see this little overlay here in our viewer. No matter what you have a node connected to, if you select a mask, you can always see the mask overlay in the viewer. And so I can grab this overlay and resize ...

it just by clicking on various parts of the shape and moving that around. And really what this is going to do is anything that we connect this mask to, it's going to limit that node to this mask. You can think about it this way. If a node is doing something, connecting a mask is like saying, "Just do it here." I think that's a great way to think about it because again, it can get confusing, like if you want to run something through a mask or if you wanna put a mask over something. It's almost like a node that just kind of goes off to the side that says, "Hey, hey, hey. Just do it right here. Don't worry about doing it everywhere. Just do it right here, okay? So depending on what kind of node you connect the mask to, it's going to have different effects. So if I connect this to a generator, I grab this ellipse and connect it to the blue input of our text, it's going to limit the text to just be under this mask. So what we're doing is saying, "Make some text but just do it where this ellipse is." Okay? That's different than connecting our mask to our transform because what that's doing is saying, "Transform this, make it a little bit smaller, but only do it under the mask." So now we can have some really cool effects like this and you can use masks to kind of limit these cool things and have this little animation there. That'd be kind of neat, right? If we connect a mask to a merge, that's gonna look similar to what we did for the text. But really what we're doing is we're saying, "Okay, take this text and transform it and then merge it over this blurry background but only merge it under this mask." That's the only place I want you to show that foreground. If we connect this to a blur, that's gonna say, "Let's blur the image but only under the mask." If we say media in, "Let's show this image from the timeline but only under the mask." The reason this is blurry is because we are masking this image like this. We're bringing in this kind of circle with this harsh edge and then we're blurring it. So again, the node order matters a whole lot. So that's really how a mask works. And there are a lot of different ways that you can hook up masks in really fancy ways, but if that concept is clear, that whatever you connect a mask to, it's going to limit whatever that node's job is to just that mask. You notice there isn't a mask for our media out. That's because we're not going to render something to the timeline, but only inside of this mask. It's just kind of too much work for a Fusion to do. So if we want to do something like that, like limit everything to a mask, again this is kind of one of those things that's a little bit confusing. For me when I started out in Fusion, I was thinking, "Okay, well, if I apply a mask mask to something, then it should always cut it out." Like, it should always only show stuff that's under that mask, which we've already learned isn't really true. If I put a mask on our transform, it's not that it's cutting out our text, it's only transforming our text under that mask. Okay? So again, if I were to connect this merge to our mask, well first of all, it just doesn't work. You can't connect anything to a mask because it doesn't make sense. But if I were to do that, it wouldn't limit the transparency of my whole composition to that mask. In order to do that, I would have to use a different node something like a matte control node. So this is just a fancy node that controls transparency of things. And it has all kinds of intimidating inputs and everything. But the easiest way to do this is just to connect our merge to the yellow input and the output of our matte control to media out and nothing's happening so far. And then we can mouse over of these little inputs and figure out which one we want to connect it to. The one that we can connect it to for this is called a garbage matte. And so, that's this lower gray one right here. I can take this output and connect it to this lower gray one. And now, what we're doing is actually cutting things out because what matte control does, it's job is basically, "Hey, show everything that I've connected with some kind of transparency." All right? And so what we're doing by connecting a mask to that garbage matte is saying, "Okay, show everything that I have connected except for under this mask." Now, if we want it to be just under the mask, we can select the mask here and go over to our inspector and we have all these different kinds of controls. One of them is invert. And so now we have this cut out to be just under this mask. So, I know that's like a little bit more advanced than we probably want to get into right now but that was a really big hangup for me when I was learning Fusion is like, man, I just want everything to kind of be all together and just be limited to under this mask. That's how you do it. Use a matte control, connect your mask to the garbage matte input for the matte control, and that's how you can kind of limit things. Now, you'll notice ironically that this mask doesn't actually work very well if I take the output here and I connect it to the mask input of our matte control. The reason that doesn't work is because the matte control is already kind of trying to control the transparency and all the jobs that it's doing, you're limiting with the mask and we're not really asking it to do anything yet. We're just telling it to do, "Do your job," which is nothing, "under this circle." And so nothing happens. So what we really need to do is connect this circle to the right input for this matte control, and now we're getting what we want. So, I'm gonna get rid of those and let's connect a mask to something that actually a little more sense, which is maybe our blur. So I'll connect that to our blur and I'll soften this edge out a lot and I can adjust this just so it's a little bit more blurry behind our text, so it's just a little bit easier to read. This might be an effect you want, maybe it's not, but this is the way that you would do something like that. If we keep it nice and soft, then we have this nice little kind of glowing effect behind here. Of course, we don't have to mask it like this. We can always delete the mask and show everything. Or what's really cool about nodes is we can keep this node around and just disconnect it, just to try it out. And we always have that on hand if we want to connect that back to our blur. Pretty cool. So this is one kind of mask, and then we also have a rectangle mask which will make a rectangle surprisingly, and we have a polygon mask. A polygon mask is what you would think of as like if you want to draw a shape, you can click and drag and you can do kind of your custom shape like that. We also have abyss blind mask, which is sort of like a polygon mask, but it's made to be really soft. And so it kind of averages out these corners here. And so, this is great if you want a shape that is always soft that you never have any kind of sharp edges on. It always kind of just averages things out. This is really nice if you want to make more of an organic shape. But all of those work the same no matter what shape you have, and those are kind of the basics of masks.

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Ratings and Reviews


This is a great course. I'm an absolute beginner to Fusion (although I know a bit about the editing within Resolve). The course walks its students through the basics in a very easy-to-understand process. I feel confident that I can now use Fusion effectively for my videos. Highly recommended.

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