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What's New in Sony Vegas Pro 12?

Vegas Pro 12, the new version of Sony's flagship NLE that debuted a few weeks ago, boasts several new features for online video production pros including simplified color matching, advanced mask creation and manipulation, and increased 64-bit support, while shipping as part of a new suite that includes Sound Forge Pro 10 and the HitFilm 2 Ultimate effects package.

Advanced Mask Creation and Manipulation

Here's a cool, useful feature: Third-party plugin developers such as BorisFX and NewBlueFX have produced plugins to facilitate creating quick (and sometimes complex) masks in Vegas without using additional tracks.

Vegas 12 now gives us this ability and it's pretty powerful.

I'll describe a simple oval mask; Vegas gives you both oval and square as basic shapes, but you can use the Ctrl-Alt-Shift keys to modify these basic shapes as you create them, as well as modify the masks once they are created.

It's a great way to create garbage mattes quickly and then go in and clean them up later as needed.

Click the Event Pan/Crop button on a piece of media you want to affect. Refer to Figure 3 (below) for this next section: Click the Mask checkbox in the lower-left corner of the window. On the left side, choose the Oval mask tool. Using your mouse, click-drag to select an area of the screen.

In Figure 3 (below), I've selected the singer on the right side of the screen.

Sony Vegas Pro 12
Figure 3. Creating a simple oval mask

Just below the capture area you can select feathering for the mask--either Feather Inside, Feather Outside, or Both (which is what I chose), and adjust the slider to taste. I added a track of generated media underneath this event, and the resulting image is shown in Figure 4 (below).

Sony Vegas Pro 12
Figure 4. The resulting image

You can also apply a mask to an effect. Using the same media (minus the generated media) I've added a Spherize effect to the event as shown in Figure 5 (below).

Sony Vegas Pro 12
Figure 5. Spherizing an Event

Next, expand the Mask toolbar at the top below the Presets, and for the Apply to FX item, choose Yes. Click the Oval mask selection tool, and draw an oval around the singer's face only, not his entire body. Then check the Mask checkbox at the lower left and see that the Spherize effect is now only visible in the area that you masked. Finally, adjust the feathering as before (Figure 7, below).

Sony Vegas Pro 12
Figure 6. The Spherize effect applied.

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