One of the things I love about Photoshop is how deep and flexible it is. The industry standard image editing software has the ability to do a multitude of things that just listing them wouldn’t do the software justice. Photoshop is a valuable part of my post production workflow. One of the things I enjoy creating in this application more than anything are mattes. Using the shape tool, I have the ability to create unique shaped mattes which I can then use in my editing software of choice. Below is a tutorial I did 2 years ago for using mattes from Photoshop to create a diagonal split screen effect.
I’m going to quickly show you how to create a matte in Photoshop from a shape you can use in your editing software.
One of the first things I tend to do when creating a matte is use the paint bucket tool and make my first layer black. When dealing with alpha and luminance, black represents the area that is transparent while white represents the area that is opaque.
Next, I will use the shape tool and go through my available shapes. By default, Photoshop has a plethora of shapes you can use. You have options such as the rectangle, rounded rectangle, ellipse, polygon, line and custom shape. If you want to add more shapes to your collection, you can download some from Deviant Art – some are free and others you can get for a reasonable price.
I’ll use the custom shape tool and choose a chevron shape. I’ll make sure that it is white. It can be any color but black or grey, as those would cause transparency to happen which we want to avoid.
I’ll create multiple instances of this shape so that it stretches the length of my composition.
Now we can save this composition for use in our editing software. When you want to save items like this from Photoshop, you can go about it a few ways. You can of course save it as a .psd file and it will import fine into your editing software. This tends to be of higher quality and will help you maintain access to your layers and have more import options.
You can also save it as a .jpeg, .png, .tiff or any other image format. When you save it in an image format, this will merge your layers into one image,unless you save it as a .tiff, which supports layers. Since I want to use this as one image in my editing software, I will save it as an image format.
If I heard over to my editing software, I can import the image into my project panel.
Now if I perform the method of using a matte filter (for Premiere and Media Composer) or matte blending mode (for Final Cut Pro) I can place my video inside the matte and create a cool composite.
Matte creation in Photoshop is a valuable technique to know as Photoshop tends to be more flexible in image manipulation/creation than your editing software may be.
I’m the NLE Ninja with AudioMicro asking you to stay creative.