What Is Matting in Video Editing?

Have you ever heard the term “matting” in video editing? If you are new to video editing, or even if you have some experience, matting can be a confusing topic.

But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In this article, we will explain what matting is and how it’s used in video editing.

What Is Matting?

Matting is a technique used in video editing to isolate a specific portion of an image or footage. It allows the editor to separate a foreground object from its background and make changes to each separately. This technique is used extensively in visual effects and compositing.

Matting involves creating an alpha channel, which is essentially a black and white mask that determines the transparency of each pixel. The black areas represent the opaque portions of the image or footage while white areas represent transparent areas. The alpha channel is created using various tools available in video editing software such as Adobe After Effects, Premiere Pro, and Final Cut Pro.

Types of Matting

There are different types of matting techniques that editors use depending on the project requirements:

1. Chroma Key Matting

Chroma key matting is one of the most commonly used matting techniques. It involves shooting an object or subject against a green or blue screen background and then removing that color using software to replace it with another image or footage. This technique is widely used in movies and television shows to create special effects such as flying superheroes or aliens.

2. Rotoscoping

Rotoscoping involves manually tracing around an object frame by frame using software tools to create an alpha channel around it. This technique requires a lot of patience and time but can produce very accurate results.

3. Luminance Keying

Luminance keying is used to separate an object or subject from its background based on brightness levels. It works by isolating the brightest or darkest parts of an image or footage and creating an alpha channel based on that.

Why Use Matting?

Matting is used in video editing for various reasons such as:

  • Creating special effects
  • Replacing backgrounds
  • Isolating objects or subjects for color correction
  • Overlaying graphics on top of footage
  • Combining multiple footage elements into one scene


Matting is a powerful tool that allows video editors to manipulate images and footage in creative ways. By isolating specific portions of an image or footage, editors can create stunning visual effects and seamless composites. Understanding different matting techniques can help you achieve your desired results and take your video editing skills to the next level.