How To Mask in DaVinci Resolve - LEARN In 1 Min!

Learning how to mask in DaVinci Resolve is an essential skill for anyone looking to enhance their video content. In my opinion, by isolating different elements in a shot, masking enables accurate color grading and adjustment of visual attributes in various ways. Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out with three months of experience, this guide will walk you through the key methods and tools you need to master masking in DaVinci Resolve.

October 3, 2023
How To Mask in DaVinci Resolve - LEARN In 1 Min!
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DaVinci Resolve Masking Tutorial

Adding Basic Masks to Your Video Projects

Let's start with the basics. Adding a basic shape mask in DaVinci Resolve is a simple task that anyone familiar with image editing software will master in no time. Here's how you can do it:

  1. Load up the clip you wish to mask: Head to the main menu and select File > Import > Media, then choose your file.
  2. Select the window/mask type: For instance, Circle or Linear for basic shapes.
  3. Fine-tune the shape: Click and drag around the object you wish to mask in your footage. Adjust the anchor points to get the perfect shape.

By the way, any masks applied in DaVinci Resolve can be inverted with a single click. This allows the surrounding elements of the footage to be selected instead. It's a handy trick that might as well be used to achieve different effects.

Using The Magic Mask

  • Import Your Clip: Start by importing your desired clip into the Edit page. Ensure it's properly trimmed and positioned on the timeline.
  • Activate Magic Mask: Navigate to the Color Page and click on the Magic Mask button, usually found next to the Tracker tool.
  • Select the Qualifier Tool: This tool (resembling a dropper icon) is essential for selecting the area you want to mask. If it's inactive, click on the drop-down menu below the viewer and select the Qualifier button.
  • Drawing Over the Subject: Use your mouse or a stylus to draw over the subject. DaVinci Resolve's intelligent design will detect the subject and create a mask around it.
  • Toggle Mask Overlay: This feature, represented by a square icon, allows you to view the masked area in red, ensuring precision.
  • Choose Mask Quality: Depending on your needs and your system's capabilities, select either “Faster” or “Better” mask quality.
  • Select Mask Type: You can choose between “Object Mask” or “Person Mask”. The latter gives you the option to refine your selection further, focusing on specific features like arms, clothing, or face.
  • Track the Mask: Use the tracking buttons in the Magic Mask panel to ensure your mask follows the subject throughout the clip.
  • Adjustments: After tracking, you can adjust color, brightness, or other properties of the masked subject or its background.
  • Masking in DaVinci Resolve’s Fusion Page

    The Fusion Page in DaVinci Resolve offers a plethora of advanced compositing tools. Masking here is a cornerstone, allowing you to separate elements, remove unwanted objects, or limit the effect of a particular tool.

    Fusion Page Masking Techniques

    1. Import and Switch: Import your clip into the Edit page, ensuring it's trimmed and positioned. Then, switch to the Fusion Page.
    2. Create a Mask: Fusion offers a variety of mask tools like Bitmap, BSpline, and Ellipse. For this guide, we'll use the B-spline mask tool. Access it by right-clicking, selecting “Add Tool”, then “Mask”, and finally “BSpline”.
    3. Draw the Mask: Click within the viewer to create vertices. Form a spline between them and close the shape by clicking on the first vertex. Adjust the mask shape by moving the vertices.
    4. Connect the Mask: Connect the BSpline mask to the desired node, such as MediaIn1 or an effect node, to apply the mask effect.
    5. Add an Effect: Add effects like blur to the footage. Disconnect the BSpline node from the MediaIn1 node and connect it to the effect node.
    6. Adjust Mask Properties: Refine the mask by adjusting properties like soft edge and border width.

    Crafting Masking Transitions in DaVinci Resolve

    Masking transitions can add a unique flair to your videos, creating seamless shifts between clips.

    Steps to Create Masking Transitions

    1. Choose the Right Clips: Opt for two clips with an object or person covering the frame, like a person walking across the scene.
    2. Edit the Clips: Cut the first clip where the object leaves the frame. Place it on a layer above and position the second clip underneath, aligning with where the object enters the frame.
    3. Activate Alpha Output: Navigate to the Color tab, right-click in the node section, and select ‘Add Alpha Output’. Connect the blue square to activate it.
    4. Access the Window Section: Open the window section to find the masking tool and start masking the object.
    5. Keyframe the Mask: Go frame by frame, drawing a mask fitting the object's shape. Adjust the mask's softness for smoother transitions.
    6. Speed Ramping: Add speed ramping to control the transition's speed and flow, making it more dynamic.

    How to Invert a Mask

    Inverting a mask is just as simple as creating one. Once you've created a mask you're happy with, it can be inverted so that the surrounding elements of the footage are selected instead. To be honest, this is a feature I use quite often, and here's how you can do it:

    1. Click on the mask you wish to invert: You'll find it in the list of available windows at the bottom of the screen.
    2. Click the circle icon for this mask: It's located beneath the Delete button.

    Adding Multiple Masks to Your Video

    How about adding more complexity to your project? DaVinci Resolve allows users to add multiple masks to their video files, choosing from all available mask types listed. These include Linear, Circle, Polygon, Curve, Gradient, and more.

    1. Click on the mask type you wish to add: It will be added to the list in the Window category.
    2. Edit the mask in the main video preview window: If you wish to add a new mask that can be adjusted independently, click Alt+S, and a new node will be added to your project.

    Adjusting the Image Attributes to Masks

    Now, let's dive into the details of adjusting image attributes to masks. Hue, saturation, and other attributes can be applied to the masked areas when selected. In other words, you have full control over the visual aspects of your masked areas.

    1. Select the mask in the Window list: Then make any adjustments you wish to make to the primaries.
    2. Adjust attributes: These include Color boost, Shadows, Highlights, Saturation, Hue, Lume mix, and more.

    Using the Pen Tool for More Precise Masking

    For more complex objects, the linear and circle masking options might not be sufficient. On the other hand, the pen tool allows for more precise fine-tuning of masks. Here's how you can use it:

    1. Select the pen tool: It's in the list of tools in the Window category.
    2. Work around the subject: Click regularly to add new markers to match its outline.
    3. Enhance accuracy: Zoom in on the subject for a closer view, and reposition the camera for a clearer view.

    Applying Effects to Masked Elements

    Furthermore, DaVinci Resolve not only allows you to make discreet adjustments to the color values of the area you've masked but also enables you to apply a full range of effects. I'd suggest exploring this feature to add a professional touch to your videos.

    1. Head to the Inspector: It's in the top right-hand corner of the screen.
    2. Select Effects: View the list of effects in the Library.
    3. Drag the effect onto the Node: Make any adjustments to the effect in the settings until it meets your requirements.


    How Do You Mask an Object in DaVinci?

    Masking an object in DaVinci Resolve is easy to do using the Object Mask option from the Magic Mask panel. In addition, you can improve the quality of the mask by choosing either Faster or Better to increase the level of accuracy of the mask.

    How Do I Mask the White Background in DaVinci Resolve?

    Removing a white background from DaVinci Resolve can be achieved by selecting the Medialn node in your project's timeline while on the Fusion tab. Adjust the high and low slider of the Luminance section until the background disappears.

    Where Is the Mask Tool in DaVinci Resolve?

    The mask tool in DaVinci Resolve can be found on the Colour Tab by selecting the Window option underneath the timeline video preview window. You can add additional masks from the list of options, including linear, circle, and pen to create the relevant masks you need for your project.