Using a Color Mask

Lesson Details

Subject: Editing

Title: Using a Color Mask


A look at how to replace a color in a very specific area of your image in FCP X.


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In this Final Cut Pro advanced lesson, we’re going to look at how to replace a color in a very specific area of your image. I have my skateboarder interview clip here in my timeline, and I want to change the color of his glasses frames from blue to purple. First, open your Effects browser and click on the Color Category along the left.

Then drag and drop the Color Correction effect onto the clip on your timeline. Next, make sure that the clip in your timeline is selected, and then open the inspector Video tab. Your color correction effect will be in the video parameters list.

If you hover your mouse cursor to the far right of where it reads Color correction 1, a small box with a circle will appear. Click on that and choose Add Color Mask. When you bring your mouse cursor over to your Viewer window, it will turn into an eye dropper. Click on anywhere on the blue glasses frames to set the color to be changed. And I can see that the color swatch in my inspector is the same blue color as the glasses frames.

Now because the glasses have a distinct edge, I’ll need to drag the softness parameter slider all the way to the right, so that it’s at 150 or the maximum amount. Now click on the arrow to the right of where it reads Color Board to open it, and then click on the Color option at the top. I’ll click and drag the global color adjustment circle over to purple, and as I drag, I can see the glasses frames change colors until I find the bright purple color that I want.

And there it is.

But I can see that some sections of the rest of the image have also picked up the purple color. So I’ll need to also add a Shape Mask to determine a particular section of the image to constrain the Color Mask to. To do this, I’ll make sure that my clip is selected in my timeline and go back into my inspector. I’ll hover my mouse cursor to the far right of Color Correction 1, and choose Add Shape Mask.

A double-ringed circle has appeared in my viewer. The inside circle is the area that will be masked or selected, and the outside circle is the amount of mask fall-off. I’m going to grab this using the center handle so that it’s on top of my skateboarder’s face. And if I drag this top green dot handle inward, my circle becomes more oblong and narrower. I’ll drag the entire shape mask up slightly again so that it’s just around the glasses frames, and I might need to adjust my inner circle a bit more.

If I want to see how my shape mask isolation looks, I can click in my inspector window where it reads View Masks. Now I have a black, grey and white image that shows me all the areas that were picking up the purple hue, and I can see that my shape mask is around the glasses frames, but the outer fall-off circle is including some of the rest of the image that I don’t want.

To fix this, I’ll just drag the outer circle inward so that it’s directly on top of the inner circle, and I can see those other grey areas in my black and white image disappear. Now if I go back to the inspector and click on View Masks again to turn it off, I can see that the purple Color Replacement is only affecting the glasses frames now. If I click on the Blue box to the far left of the Shape Mask parameter in my inspector to turn it off, you can see the purple areas return to the rest of the image. I’ll just click on the Shape Mask box again to select it or turn it on, then click on the blue Shape Mask icon at the far right to remove the shape mask overlay from my viewer.

Now if I play that clip back you can see that the glasses frames stay purple.

© Michael Rosenblum & Lisa Lambden 2015