Using masks in Imerge Pro | Part 1

by birtanpublished on September 12, 2020

Hi, I’m Axel from FXhome, and this video series is going to answer the question, “How do I use masks in Imerge Pro?” This video will examine how we can use Gradient Masks and Image Luminance masks to convert this image into this. As well as taking a quick look at area masks. Later videos will look more closely at other mask types. Masking is the process of selecting a limited portion of a layer, which can be useful for several purposes. When applied to a layer, the mask limits what part of the layer is visible, allowing you to combine parts of multiple layers and create a single composite

Image. When applied to an effect, the Mask defines what part of the layer will be modified by the effect. This is how you make localized adjustments, rather than changing the entire layer with every effect you use. The Layer Masks menu is found here, and contains six kinds of masks. The Effects Masks menu contains five kinds of masks. Other than the Image Alpha mask, which only applies to Layers, all kinds of masks can be used either on Layers or on Effects. The first kind is a Gradient mask. One common

Situation where gradient masks are used is for modifying skies. This image has some nice clouds in it, but perhaps we need to add some sunset color. So we create a plane, assign it a color suitable for a sunset, then change its blend mode to Soft Light to blend it onto the original. But we don’t want it to affect the foreground here, so we can open the Layer Masks menu, and add a Gradient mask to the layer to remove it from that area. The gradient mask is controlled by this widget. The dashed line indicates the mid-point of the gradient.

The black handle is where the mask becomes completely transparent, and the white handle is where it reaches complete opacity. So by shifting the handles, we can adjust the size and angle of the gradient. For a normal landscape, we would set the gradient to match the horizon, and add color to the sky. But since we have water here, that water should reflect the color of the sky, so we will shift the gradient to follow the edge of the foreground. I’m going to reduce the color a touch, by lowering opacity of the

Plane. I would like to reveal more of the detail in the foreground, and we can use a gradient mask for that as well. If we select our image layer again, add an exposure effect, and bring up the shadows a bit, that looks pretty good, but its altering the whole image. We want to remove this exposure effect from the water and sky, but we still want the image to be visible in those areas. So rather than a layer mask, we will use an effects mask. This icon at the top right of each effect opens the effect mask menu, where we can select

The Gradient Mask. The same onscreen controls appear, so we can mask the effect to only be applied to the foreground. To remove the orange tint from the trees and darker areas of the foreground, let’s look at another kind of mask: the Image Luminance Mask. Its not the next kind of mask in sequence in the menu, but it is the kind of mask we need for this situation. So let’s jump to it. This mask is based on the luminance of your image, so we can easily constrain an effect to the highlights of the image, or,

As we need in this case, the darkest areas. Create a new Adjustment layer for our final grade, and add an Exposure effect. Pull the Saturation down, until the blacks are restored. Then open the Effects Mask menu for exposure, and add an Image Luminance mask. For adjusting a luminance mask, it can be useful to view the mask directly. To do this, open this menu that says Apply, and select Show. This shows us the mask in greyscale, so we can see exactly what areas will be affected. Shift the tone down to the shadows, and decrease the range

To limit it to only the darkest areas. You can also Overlay the mask through that menu, which shows it in red so you can see the image and the mask at the same time, or you can disable the mask. Switch back to Apply, though, to see the result of our mask, and toggle the Exposure effect on and off to compare the results. I’m going to add a couple more effects to this image to finish it. Clarity will add some contrast and detail, and Color Adjustment will boost the oranges a bit. These aren’t really part of the tutorial, as they

Don’t need masks, but they are part of processing this image to a finished state. Moving on to Area Masks, here is an image of a Cooper’s Hawk that sometimes lands on my fence. As, in fact, he did when I took this picture. I want to brighten his eye a bit, for which I will use an Exposure effect, then in the Effects Mask menu, I will add an area mask. An area mask is a basic shape applied to a specific location. It starts as a square, but we can round the corners until we have a circle using this corner handle.

We can change the size using the side handles, and if we hold shift, then we can constrain its shape while resizing. The dashed line around the outside adjusts the feather size around the edges. With the mask adjusted to cover just the bird’s eye, we bring up the Exposure control to brighten that area. That’s pretty good, now I’ll just add a Saturation Editor, and increase the saturation of the oranges to finish off this image. So, that concludes this video, but this is just the start of the masking options in Imerge

Pro. Please stick around for our next video, where we will look at other kinds of masks, what situations they are useful for, and how to quickly add masks to your projects without using the Mask menus. Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next time.

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