Turn Video into a Water Color Painting

How to create a Watercolor effect in Vegas Pro

You know how water color paintings have nice defined black ink lines with color that splashes in and outside those lines. I though it would be nice if you could do that with video so here’s a little tutorial on how to achieve that effect in 5 easy steps using Sony Vegas.

1. Duplicate your video on two tracks. The quickest way is to right-click in an empty area of the video track and select Duplicate Track. We are going to composite these tracks together later. I have moved the video preview in these pictures so you can see what’s happening as we apply each effect.


2. On the bottom track add the Video FX  Sony Median and apply the 50% preset. This will give us a nice blur so that the colors are more solid and the edges are less defined. (note: I’ve soloed the track to show you the effect in the picture. You wouldn’t normally see any change because the bottom track is hidden by the top track until we change the composite mode)


3. On the top track add the Video FX Sony Convolution Kernel and apply the Find Edges preset. This outlines all the edges in the video. The problem is that the edges are white and the background is black. Because we want to use this as a mask, we will reverse this in the next step.


4. On the top track add the Video FX Sony Invert and apply the 100% Inversion preset. Now the edges are black and the background is white. This will make a perfect mask to be used in our final step.


5. Change the Compositing Mode on the top track to Multiply (Mask). Now the bottom track shows through to give us our final result.


As you can see from the final result below, our video now looks like a water color painting. Look at the definition in the pen strokes of the microphone and speaker. Notice how the color is messy (not within the lines) just like a water color painting. It’s almost cartoon like.


Don’t be afraid to take this and fine tune it to your media. Try different median settings for the water colors and experiment until it looks the way you want.

Happy Editing,


Johnny “Roy” Rofrano


About John Rofrano

John Rofrano is a Senior VASST Trainer and the author of Instant ACID, a book on Sony ACID Pro software, from CMP Books. He is also the developer of Ultimate S Pro, Vegas Pro Production Assistant, Mayhem, and other software plug-ins including the FASST Apps for Sony Vegas Pro NLE software. John has been a performing musician, singer, songwriter for over 40 years, and programmer and computer architect for the past 28 years. He is also a forum moderator at the Creative COW.