Learn how to create a layer mask using the Pen tool to cut out an object from its background.

What you'll need

This sample file contains Adobe Stock assets you can use to practice what you learn in this tutorial. If you want to use the sample file beyond this tutorial, you can purchase licenses on Adobe Stock. Check out the ReadMe file in the folder for the terms that apply to your use of this sample file.

What you learned: Use the Pen tool to create a layer mask to cut out an object from its background

Create a freeze frame of the frame used for the cutout

  1. Move the current-time indicator to the frame where the element to isolate looks the best.
  2. Select the layer to freeze in the timeline.
  3. Choose Layer > Time > Freeze Frame.

Use the Pen tool to cut out the element from its background

  1. Select the Pen tool from the Tools panel in the upper left.
  2. Add points at the key points around the object, eventually clicking back on the first point to close the mask. (Click to add a point; click and drag to add a point and draw out handles.)
  3. Adjust the anchor point positions and handles to fine-tune the placement of the mask.

Tip: Option-drag (macOS) or Alt-drag (Windows) a handle to break the handles and have each handle move independently on either side of the anchor point.

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