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Activity Forums VEGAS Pro HOWTO:Masking by color range and luminosity values, not anchor points

  • HOWTO:Masking by color range and luminosity values, not anchor points

    Posted by Neil Pollick on May 9, 2024 at 2:26 pm

    After learning, with help in this forum, how to separate a correctly exposed foreground (a person) from and overexposed background for differential exposure adjustments (by making a monochrome version of the clip then applying it with Mask Generator) I would like to refine my skills.

    I saw a video were a guy was making selections using a horizontal representaion of a tone curve but he didnt explain how he got there.

    I want to know how to get most control over selecting specifc tonal ranges and colors to create monocrome versions of a clip – presumably to apply with mask generator.

    Help is appreciated.

    Vegas Pro 20
    Razer Blade Stealth 13 (Early 2020) – RZ09-0310
    Intel(R) Iris(R) Plus Graphics
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti with Max-Q Design
    Windows 11 Pro 64-bit (10.0, Build 22000)

    Mads Nybo jørgensen
    replied 2 months ago
    3 Members · 8 Replies
  • 8 Replies
  • Hector Vera

    May 9, 2024 at 6:32 pm

    May I see like an image or video example of exactly what you would like to achieve with that? Then I can see how I can give you some tips on this. I have over 10 years of experience with Sony Vegas so I am sure I can give you some more tips with a bit more understanding on it! 🙂 With the computer specs you have, I am sure you can achieve it!

  • Mads Nybo jørgensen

    May 9, 2024 at 7:10 pm

    Hey Neil,

    Don’t know if this tutorial will help you, but it looks fairly comprehensive:

    There are more than one way to achieve what you want to do. Working with colour correction is not an exact science when it come to the final out-put, no matter what software you use, it is a question of Trial-and-Error until you arrive at a result that you are happy with.

    Seeing a reference shot and potentially a screen-shot of your time-line will go soo much further for anyone to pin-point how to make suggestions.

    Hope this helps – there are people around here much better at Vegas, do keep an eye out for them.



  • Neil Pollick

    May 11, 2024 at 8:52 am

    In repsonse to your request Hector …………..

    This is not a skill I need to apply right now. I guess I am hoping that there will be a high degree of control in making masks as there is in Photoshop wherre you can make black and white masks by selecting specific luminosity ranges within an image, using RGB channels or by selecting color ranges …. and you can add selections to make a mask that combines color ranges and luminosity ranges. The methods are powerful.

    I am sure that the luminosity ranges can be done in Vegas. I saw that.

    Any shot/clip I share with you will just be an example, there is nothing specific at the moment that I want to correct, but there will be in the future. I am not interested in making masks per se , I am interested in how to make selections based on color and luminosity ranges. Even if you do not see the usefulness of making such selctions in the sample I am sharing with you, these ARE the 2 things I want to learn.

    In this clip the blues and greens of the background and the the lighter exposure of the background would be a good basis for separation. I have already developed a good mask for this clip that does separate her from the background but it is not perfect (it doesn’t have to be actually).

  • Neil Pollick

    May 11, 2024 at 8:58 am

    Thanks Mads

    Thanks for the Color Grading link but that’s not the problem here.

    Please read the post I made in reply to Hector Vera for a sample image and more explanation of my ambition if you are still interested.

  • Mads Nybo jørgensen

    May 11, 2024 at 9:42 am

    Hey Neil,

    Somehow the html got corrupted when I pasted it into my post above. If you delete the end of that html, you should get this. Which hopefully will work:

    In essence, what you are looking to do is a “Color Key” or “Change to Color” effect – these are stable tools of most video editing software tools. There is nothing amazing to this, except for the expectations of the production.

    As I am sure that you’ll recognise, your image would be easier to work with if shot on a Green Screen, and the background added afterwards. However, for total control (perfection), you can mask the foreground, so you either only apply effects to that or the background or both.

    But in its basic form, and there are many tutorials on how to do this, you’ll want to pick the color that you are changing, and manipulate the range and intensity of that color only.
    This is one slightly older tutorial, but appears to cover it:

    In Vegas Pro 20 you should have Boris FX Primatte Studio for advanced chroma keying, which may do the job for you in regard to isolating the colour. In any case, you should spend time getting to know that plugin really well.

    If you have the finance, you whould also investigate BorisFX Continuum suite – comes with a free trial, and you can subscribe on a monthly basis which will allow you to use it as a pay-as-you-go.

    If you really want to get deeper into your finishing, the Blackmagic Davinci (with Resolve and Fusion) is currently the best game in town, which starts from free. Or as you are making reference to Photoshop, you could take up After Effects (also comes with a monthly plan).

    But, regardless, there is no easy quick solution to your question, as every piece of video and image is different. And, you can easily spend hours on just one piece of video, for just at the end of it, you are the only one who will notice the difference.

    Hope that this helps.


  • Neil Pollick

    May 11, 2024 at 10:54 am

    Thanks Mads……….. I will look at the stuff

  • Neil Pollick

    May 11, 2024 at 1:31 pm

    Suggestions so far have been helpful but I am still looking to find ways to construct a black and white mask using from a luminance range and/or color ranges. This is a monchrome black and white mask, which I know already exactly how to apply.

    I am sure that a mask can be made based on a luminance range (the method I saw involves a horizontal bar representing a 256 brightness range but the video I saw was not explanatory). Perhaps also from color ranges.

    If you know of a way to do these specific things then please answer here.

    I know there are many ways to approach grading in Vegas, and my skills have already expanded, but THIS IS WHAT I AM SPECIFICALLY ASKING ABOUT RIGHT NOW.

    Trust me, I am skilled, experienced and creative and can perform wonders.

  • Mads Nybo jørgensen

    May 11, 2024 at 3:01 pm


    With all due respect, shouting will get you no where on Creative Cow. Especially if you are on a level where you want people, giving their time for free to help you, to provide a solution served on a silver plate.

    I am guessing that you will want to turn the whole image into an alpha mask, and then manipulate that for what-ever reason.

    There is this thing called Google, that will give you results like this:–115260/

    But whether you do a key, or mess around with an Alpha mask, the outcome is likely to be the same, except using a key effect, combined with a mask, will be WYSIWYG. Where as Alpha, you have to remember what color you are messing with…

    Alpha is a completely different mindset, which as you say, is best found in Photoshop. Or After Effects. Or Davinci Resolve…?

    With kind regards

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