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How to Use Masking Tool to Create an Inception Effect of an Upside Down City

Last Updated on Jul. 29, 2021 – by David Morgan
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How to Use Masking Tool to Create an Inception Effect of an Upside Down City

Content creators, videographers, and YouTubers continually look for new ways to enhance their editing tools. From animation and visual effects to out-of-this-world green-screen editing, creative professionals and enthusiasts know that they need to stay one step ahead to keep their followers engaged. 

Still, at some point, every video editor reaches a creative barrier. If you have years of experience editing videos for YouTube or TikTok, you may feel like you’ve run out of ideas. On the other hand, if you’ve just begun learning how to edit videos on your iPhone, you may believe that your experience limits your creative abilities.

Luckily, both advanced and beginner videographers can take their creativity, vision, and passion for editing to the next level with PowerDirector’s mobile video editing app. You can even tackle creative cinematic challenges like Christopher Nolan-esque upside-down cities from the 2010 film Inception—astounding your followers and elevating your skills simultaneously. 

In this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn exactly how to create an Inception-style video-masking effect for vlogs, videos, and films in minutes, thanks to PowerDirector’s streamlined interface. Download PowerDirector for iOS and Android today. 

How to Create a Cinematic Effect like Inception on iOS and Android 

Incorporating an upside-down city into your latest video clip may seem impossible, especially if you’re new to video editing. While other software may require hours of tutorials--and trial and error—before you come close to achieving your vision, PowerDirector makes it easy to dive in and start creating immediately.  

Before getting started, choose your primary video carefully. Ideally, you’ll have plenty of room at the top of the footage to place your city skyline. Feel free to use your own footage or choose a scene from PowerDirector’s royalty-free library of stock footage. 

Next, select your city overlay. Some users may prefer to add a photo of a skyline to their videos. Others opt for the multi-dimensional look of a video overlay for an even more dynamic visual effect. 

When you’ve selected your footage, follow the in-depth guide below to create a shocking scene that famed Director Christopher Nolan would be proud of. 

Step 1: Add Your Ground Footage to the Timeline

Create a new project in PowerDirector. Add the footage you would like to use as the ground to the top track. After placing the footage, trim the clip to the desired length. 

If you haven’t enhanced your footage yet, navigate to PowerDirector’s editing tools and adjust the lighting, color, and saturation. Starting with retouched footage can improve the final result. 

Step 2: Add Your City Sky Footage

Once you’ve finished retouching your footage, locate the “Layers” option in the left menu. This will add your next video to the second track of your timelines.

Select “Layers” to reveal the toolbar, then tap “Video.” From there, you can upload the video footage of your cityscape. 

If you haven’t captured the perfect clip, don’t worry. Simply navigate to PowerDirector’s stock video library. There, you’ll find thousands of videos you can add to your project. When you find a clip that suits your taste, tap the “+” sign to add it to the editing timeline. 

Step 3: Position Your Video Overlay

PowerDirector will automatically place your video overlay on top of your primary video. Where it goes next is up to you. Most likely, you’ll need to rotate it roughly 180-degrees to achieve an upside-down appearance. 

The layout of your primary footage may require you to experiment with your cityscape overlay’s position. Use your fingers to drag it into the upper corner of your primary video and rotate the footage slowly to find the perfect spot. 

Step 4: Add a Video Mask

After you’ve placed your footage, open the “Edit” toolbar to reveal the app’s powerful editing functions. 

Select “Mask” and toggle through the options until you find the horizontal mask tool. Your overlay video will disappear behind your primary footage, allowing you to apply a protective mask over the frame. 

Use the automatic size adjusters to drag the mask down, revealing the overlay footage behind it. While you may feel comfortable making the adjustments in one sweep, try moving in increments to avoid cutting off the tops of tall objects like buildings, bridges, or mountains. Rotate the mask to suit the angle of your footage, too. 

Next, use the adjustable “Feather” tool to soften the edges of the mask. As you do so, you’ll notice that the hard line between the two videos disappears, creating a seamless transition.

Step 5: Adjust and Export the Final Result

You should now have an Inception-style effect, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop there. You can add another video overlay to blend into your footage. Or color grade your new scene with video filters to give it a unique look. 

Once you have your video exactly how you like it, export it to your phone or upload it directly to social media.

Creating an Inception Effect on Apple and Android Devices

Often, video editors believe that you need more than a mobile app to create jaw-dropping visual effects. 

In reality, you only need your iPhone or Android, a few video clips, and your imagination to create stunning results. PowerDirector places limitless creative capacity in the palm of your hand with its comprehensive editing tools, cool visual effects, professional green screen, and masking features. Plus, it comes with a royalty-free stock library powered by Shutterstock right in the app. 

Don’t let your video editing tools limit your ability. If you’re ready to upgrade your skillset and experiment with Inception effects, expert masking tools, and more, PowerDirector from CyberLink can handle all of your creative challenges. 

Download PowerDirector for iPhone and Android—and start creating today!

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