The Basics of DaVinci Resolve Fusion Masks

DaVinci Resolve 13/01/2020 2 min read

The Fusion page in DaVinci Resolve offers video editors and mograph artists powerful tools for masking. A common task for editors is to mask footage ranging from a simple vignette to tracking and rotoscoping. In this tutorial, we’ll get you up to speed with the basics of masking in Fusion. You’ll learn the different types of masks, plus how to create, modify, and animate them. Let’s get started!

How to Use Masks in Fusion

1. Types of Masks

The Fusion page in Davinci Resolve offers a variety of masks to choose from. Four of the most used masks are available in the toolbar: Rectangle, Ellipse, Polygon, and B-Spline

The first two are basic shapes, and the last two you can use to draw a shape. Drawing shapes comes more into play when tracking masks to follow the video and when rotoscoping (separating a foreground element from the background). These and all the other masks are available from Effects Library > Tools > Masks.

To learn more about the other effects available in DaVinci Resolve, check out this tutorial here.

2. Creating Masks

With the types of masks outlined, let’s take a look at an example. We’ll show you how to create a mask using this fire clip.

Rectangle and Ellipse

  1. On the Fusion page, you have a MediaIn node and MediaOut node. Click on MediaIn1 and select the Rectangle or Ellipse Mask from the toolbar. 
  2. A mask is applied, and the checkboard shows transparency. If you were to export this clip with an alpha channel, the checkboard area would be transparent.
  3. Modify the mask settings in the Inspector to taste. 
  4. The Filter drop-down gives you a variety of blur qualities that you can apply when adjusting the Soft Edge and Border Width.

Polygon & B-Spline

  1. Apply a Polygon or B-Spline mask to MediaIn, and the video will disappear. You will need to draw a mask first when using these two tools.
  2. Select Polygon1 or B-Spline1, and press the 1 key to load into the left viewer.
  3. Select the first drawing tool (Click Append) and draw a box, making sure to close the mask (a circle will appear when the mask is closed), and you now will have a white mask on black.
  4. Once the mask is closed, Fusion switches you the Insert and Modify tool. Clicking on the mask with this tool will modify an existing point or add a new one.
  5. To only modify a mask, switch to the Modify Only tool.

3. Animating Masks

To animate the mask on, you can use a simple expression to save time. DaVinci Resolve has expressions similar to Adobe After Effects. Let’s say you wanted to link height to width. Here’s how to do that: 

  1. Adjust the Width and Height with one slider. 
  2. Right-click on Height, and click Expression
  3. Drag the plus sign beside Height to Width to link them together.
  4. To animate Width and Height, right-click on Width and click Animate. This adds a red diamond for Width where your playhead is. Drag the Width slider to 0.
  5. Move the playhead to 2 seconds, and drag the slider to .8 to create your mask animation.

We hope you enjoyed this look at how to create and modify masks in the Fusion page of DaVinci Resolve. You should now know how to use the various types of masks available, effectively adding them to your videos, and even how to animate the mask on. We can’t wait to see how you creatively apply your new masking skills!

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