Easy Masking Transition Effect in Premiere Pro CC

Spins, flips, slides, dissolves, morphs, zooms, and star wipes; every transition can have a meaningful impact on the story you’re telling. They can merge two ideas into one, transport us across space and time, or seamlessly combine shots together in a way that nobody even notices.

Some transitions look amazing and are easily to drop into place. Others are default, and can look like pretty lazy work (I’m looking at you, Cross Dissolve). But the best transitions, those are the ones that are planned out, take time to create, and help engage the audience either because they’re smooth and slick, or jarring and intentionally distracting.

Mark Brown over at Editors Keys put together this great tutorial of how to create a quick Mask Wipe in Adobe Premiere Pro.

As a longtime After Effects user, I’ve always found the Effects Controls panel in Adobe Premiere Pro to be a bit confusing. It looks a lot like After Effects but it’s just missing a lot of the features.

Before I come off sounding like Andy Rooney, I’ll promise you that I’ll first cover Editor Keys’ method then I’ll give you a tip on how you can do this a little faster in AE too.

Masking Wipe Transition in Premiere

  • Select Shot A
    • Choose a shot that contains an object that enters the frame, fills it completely, and then exits frame.
  • Select Shot B
    • For the best results, select a shot that moves in the same direction (left to right, floor to ceiling, etc) as Shot A.
  • Identify the first frame of Shot A where the object begins to exit, and place Shot B on the video track beneath it, 1 frame prior.
  • Highlight Shot A and Enter the Effect Controls Panel
  • Under Opacity, Select The Pen Tool

  • In the Program Monitor, draw a Mask around the empty space as the object in Shot A exits the frame.

  • In Effects Controls, select Invert to crop out the empty space in the image.
  • Adjust Feather and Expansion to taste
  • Click the Stopwatch Icon Next to Mask Path

  • Incrementing 1 Frame At A Time, Highlight and Adjust Your Mask to Manually Track the Object Until the Object has Exited Shot A
  • You have now completed a Mask Wipe Transition.

To me, working in the Effect Controls panel in Premiere feels like I’m using something that was designed as an after thought. Or even worse, it seems like something that was intentionally stifled so it wouldn’t compete with After Effects so you’d have to subscribe to that too.

But if you’ve got AE installed, you can do this same transition a slightly different way to save yourself a little bit of time.

Masking Wipe Transition In After Effects

  • Select Shots A & B and Aligned Them On Your Premiere Timeline as Previous
  • Highlight Both Clips, Right Click, and Select Replace With After Effects Composition
    • Adobe After Effects will launch with your two shots in a composition
  • In After Effects, Highlight Shot A
  • Select the Pen Tool, and Draw a Mask Around the Object

  • Go to the Tracker Panel, and Press the Forward Play Arrow
    • Barring any unforeseen complications, After Effects will automatically track the object in every frame, masking out the empty space as it clears.

  • Save
  • Return to Premiere to Render
  • You have now completed a Mask Wipe Transition.

Dynamic transitions work very well as a stylistic component, but they can also be used to punctuate important story elements. If you use these effects sparingly, they’ll have a greater impact on the viewer – drawing their attention to the visual or story elements that you want them to notice.

A lot of content creators tend to overuse transition effects. With all of the speed ramping, zoom blurs, swish pans, and etc, sometimes these videos get difficult to watch. I often get the sense that I’m only seeing a montage of images flying past, and I’m not exactly sure what I’m even looking at. Yes, the shots look terrific but the story really starts to get lost in a collage.

Understanding masking effects in both Premiere Pro and After Effects can help you grow artistically as a filmmaker, and I highly recommend giving this a try. As always, if you have some clever tricks up your sleeve that you’d like to share, let us know in the comments below.

[source: Editors Keys]

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