Feather crop in Premiere Pro

I think the idea of feathered edges on a piece of footage that was cropped with standard Premiere Pro crop effect is as old, as the crop effect itself. I know that I’ve been waiting for Adobe to make it since I started using their software, which means version 6.5 of Premiere (not yet “Pro” then). And I know I’m not the only one.

How many of you have fallen prey to the hope that “feather edges” effect would actually work as it should with cropped footage? Or wished for more control than blurring the alpha channel via the “channel blur”? Or used titler or photoshop pictures as track mattes?

Fortunately, there’s no more need for this. Not because the guys from Adobe actually decided to focus their efforts on this non-critical, although pretty non-complicated, task. Drawing on my background of a would-be computer scientist, physicist, and – of course – video editor, I decided to delve into the dreaded Premiere Pro/After Effects SDK, and created the effect myself.

So, without further ado – here’s the Feathered Crop effect that I’ve written. It seems to be pretty popular (even more than the Vignette) and has gone through a few iterations already, each one adding new functionality.

The effect is free, but I appreciate donations, especially if you like the results that you are getting. I’d like to thank everyone for their generous support, and kind words. Enjoy!

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39 Responses to Feather crop in Premiere Pro

  1. Great Tool! I use it, and made a donation today. Thanks.
    My suggestion is to make this tool like the eight or 16 point garbage matte with feather option!
    Thanks man!
    Greetings, Christiaan

    • BartW says:

      Thanks a lot for your support!

      This is a great suggestion. Actually, I’ve been pondering on some reasonable way to create masks and garbage mattes in Premiere more similar to what is implemented in After Effects, but since Premiere’s UI in the project window is so unresponsive, it’s almost pointless, and would require some serious acrobatics. We shall see. So far I’ve been stranded in my other projects that allow me to earn my living.

  2. Dwayne says:

    Im trying to use tye plugins on CS 5.i have installed them into the correct folder. For some reaso they will not show up in Adobe. Any ideas

    • BartW says:

      Are you on OS X 10.5 or earlier? For some reason this plugin is not supported for OS X lower than 10.6.

      • Cherry Cular says:

        Hi! Does this work on OSX Yosemite 10.10.2? I followed the instructions, but it still won’t show up in my Premiere effects folder.

        • BartW says:

          This is the folder where all my and third-party plugins are installed: MacHD/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Common/Plug-ins/7.0/MediaCore/

          I am running OS X 10.10.3

  3. Mark says:

    Seems to be geeking out after I upgraded to PPro 6.0.2…

    • BartW says:

      What exactly do you mean?

      • beepbloop says:

        I’m running into the same problem on OSX and 6.0.2. At first glance it appears to work in the timeline, but when I pause, the graphic the effect is applied to disappears. Then when I play, it reappears and works properly…. that is… until I render the entire sequence, and then the graphic blinks off and on.

        • BartW says:

          I’ll try to follow it with Adobe, to check what was changed in 6.0.2 that could cause such problems, however personally I have no way of debugging OS X issues on versions higher than CS5. I’m running on PCs, and the only Mac that I have access to does not have CS6 installed. Apologies.

        • BartW says:

          If you could run a simple test for me, and answer a few questions, it would allow me to get more information about the problem. First, is the graphic you are applying the effect different size (especially smaller) than your sequence? Is your playback resolution the same as paused resolution? If not, then what are the ratios, and could you check how the plugin behaves with various ratios? Secondly, could you render part of the sequence in 8-bit (Maximum Bit Depth turned off) and in 32-bit (MBD turned on), and let me know if there is any difference? Also, does the plugin behave differently in 8-bit sequence than in 32-bit? If you use the plugin on other clips than your graphics, does it also fail? Lastly, if you use codec like QuickTime Animation, and H.264, is there a difference in rendering?

  4. beepbloop says:

    Hey Bart –

    First of all, I want to make sure to thank you for making great, useful, and free plugins.

    While I thought the Graphic was the same size, it appears that it is actually 1920×1079 according to Premiere. 1 pixel short of my Sequence resolution

    Playback resolution is 1/2 and Paused is full. However, when setting Paused to 1/2 the graphic still disappears once the sequence is paused. Setting Playback to full while Paused is also set to full nets the same results. The image disappears whenever the sequence is paused at all resolutions: full, 1/2, 1/4.

    Rendering it in 8bit and 32bit nets two different results. In 8bit, the graphic does not appear during any parts that are keyframed. It only appears once the keyframed animation stops and then it flickers on and off. In 32bit things get a bit more interesting, the video bugs out quit a bit. Not only does the graphic flicker on and off, but the talent jumps around in frames, though audio is fine.

    When the sequence is in 8bit, the plugin behaves fine when playing, but disappears when paused (as mentioned). In 32 bit it works fine when the sequence is played, but when paused, the color changes and frames get swapped around.

    Throwing the plugin on the footage my talent is on gets me the same results, and that footage is a proper 1920×1080.

    There’s a little red x warning in the lower right of Premiere letting me know that a low-level exception has occured with CI Feathered Crop.

    Hope all of this info helps. I wish I could send you some of the footage, but due to the nature of project I’m unable to. I’m wrapping up for the day but if I get some time I’ll see if I can recreate the issue on other footage.

    • BartW says:

      Thanks for taking time to do extensive testing. It’s a really weird behaviour, especially with 8-bit sequence, and with the footage of the same size as the sequence. At this point I would have to see it to reach some conclusions. I assume the problems persist if the animation is not keyframed?

      Try switching on “Maximum Render Quality” in the sequence settings and set your rendering performance to memory. It helps in certain cases.

    • BartW says:

      Take a look at the download page, there’s a new version of the plugin just for CS6 on OS X. The problem should be fixed now.

  5. James says:

    Please make a garbage matte that can be feathered and inverted. I would happily pay!

    • BartW says:

      Garbage matte with unlimited points is pretty tricky in Premiere Pro, and I’m not sure that the laggy UI lends itself to such manipulation. However, I do agree that this functionality is seriously lacking. In the meantime you can use 4-, 8- or 16-point garbage matte and then channel blur to blur alpha as a crude workaround.

      • Karl Idsvoog says:

        Ok, I’ve added the garbage matte – what do I channel blur to feather the matte?

        • BartW says:

          I don’t understand the question. Are you referring to my plugin or the standard Premiere plugins? Garbage matte filters cannot be blurred in Premiere.

  6. John Mullins says:

    Great plug in! Thank you for taking the time to make it… Any suggestions on how to make an oval or circle mask using your plugin? Thx again!

    • BartW says:

      Thanks. Yes, you can make an oval mask using another of the plugins – the Vignette. When you apply the Vignette, you have the possibility to fill the mask with transparency, not with color, and inverting the mask. This should do what you want.

      • John Mullins says:

        That works perfectly – thank you! Oh, does the Vignette plugin use the GPU (OpenGL) for processing? Just curious…

        Also, I just made a donation for your well deserved work. Thanks again. :)

        • BartW says:

          Thanks a lot, your support is much appreciated! Regarding the GPU accelleration – not right now, though I’ve been toying with the idea since the beginning, but programming GPUs is a bit different than normal effects. It is something I have in mind, but have not had time to explore properly.

  7. colby says:

    I can’t seem to figure out how to get the plugin to be available in premiere pro cs6. Sorry, I’m new to video editing and clueless.

  8. Hi Bart looks like a great Plug in If I could figer out how to install this, I just don’t figer out the info given working in CS6 Mac 10.8

  9. Jenya says:

    thanx man!!!this is realy good deed!)

  10. Maurizio says:

    Great plugin. I recently reinstalled Windows 7, and thus Premiere Pro CS5.5. I have not been able to reinstall the feathered crop plugin, though. It shows up in AE 5.5, but not Premiere.

    Any ideas? This is version 1.3, and was unpacked into Common\Plug-ins\CS5.5\MediaCore

    • BartW says:

      Weird. Have you downloaded the Microsoft library? Are you getting any errors from AE, if you apply the plugin? Perhaps you downloaded the CS6/CC version?

  11. Jenya says:

    is there possibilities to crop with oval border?

  12. THIS IS SO FUCKING AWESOME!!!!
    Thank you so much. Just donated 20$

    Thx a lot.

    16 Point Mask would realy be even more awesome and I would donate 60$
    Please do it 😀

  13. Astrid says:

    Great effect, but when I export the footage (H.264), I get flickering images. Any suggestions?

  14. Alec says:

    when I export the sequence, all the clips with the CI feathered crop applied to it wont show up. Any answers?

    • BartW says:

      More questions in fact: OS version, Premiere version, sequence settings and type of media used?

  15. Christopher says:

    It won’t let me uncheck the “fixed width” box. This would be perfect if I could uncheck this! Please help! I will gladly make a donation!

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