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The Things Premiere Pro's Pen Tool Can Do

Caroline Laurent
Caroline Laurent Originally published Feb 16, 23, updated Jul 18, 24

The pen tool is a feature that's on many Adobe products. It's on Photoshop, After Effects, and Premiere Pro. The question is: What does the pen tool in Premiere Pro do exactly? How can you use it to enhance your videos? Also, is there a good alternative in case you don't like this video editor?

In this article, you'll learn about these things. So please continue reading,

selecting pen tool in premiere pro
In this article
  1. Overview of Pen Tool in Premiere Pro
  2. How To Draw Shapes With Pen Tool in Premiere Pro
  3. How To Add Keyframes With Premiere Pro Pen Tool
  4. [Bonus] Wondershare Filmora – A Great Alternative to Premiere Pro Pen Tool
  5. How To Draw Random Shapes With Pen Tool in Wondershare Filmora
  6. How To Add Path Key Frames With Filmora Pen Tool

Overview of Pen Tool in Premiere Pro

What things can you do with a pen? Usually, you can use it to write or draw. Adobe Premiere Pro's pen tool is not too different from that. It lets you mask objects and create straight and curved paths by drawing lines. Furthermore, the pen tool lets you color correct sections of a frame or do keyframing.

But please note that the pen tool does not let you freehand draw lines. It adds straight lines that you can modify. Suppose you want to draw curves. You can't draw that like you normally would. Instead, you need to create a vertex in the middle of a straight line and drag it to form a curve.

Also, if you want to trace an object, you need to do it using straight lines. It's like you are making a polygon around the object rather than actually tracing it.

In simple words, Premiere Pro's pen tool is a versatile tool that gives you control over a certain area in a frame.

How To Draw Shapes With Pen Tool in Premiere Pro

Okay. Now you know what Premiere Pro's pen tool can do. The next thing to do is learn how to use it. Let us help you get familiar with how this feature works. Here's a guide on how to draw shares with the pen tool.

Step1 Open your project in Adobe Premiere Pro.

Step2 Select the pen tool from the toolbar at the bottom left of the screen. Alternatively, press the "P" key.

selecting pen tool in premiere pro

Step3 Click on anywhere in the frame displayed in your program window to add a point.

drawing a point to the frame

Step4 Click on another spot to add another point. Adobe Premiere Pro will make a line between the two points.

adding more points to the frame

Step5 Add one or more points to make a shape.

shape drawn using the pen tool

Step6 Select the shape on the timeline. Click "Essential Graphics" at the top right of the screen to modify the shape. You can add a stroke, change the color, etc.

editing the created random shape

Tip: You can create 45° or 90° angles by holding down the "Shift" key.

How To Add Keyframes With Premiere Pro Pen Tool

Premiere Pro's pen tool is not only for creating shapes. It also helps with keyframing. You can use this tool to draw where an effect would end and start.

Let's say you need to modify the opacity of the video towards the end to give the video a fading effect. Here's how to use keyframes (drawn by the pen tool) to accomplish that.

Step1 Select your video clip on the timeline.

Step2 Move the playhead to the video frame where you want the effect to start.

moving the playhead to starting point

Step3 Right-click the small icon next to the video clip's file name.

Step4 Select the effect that you want to use. In this guide, we will use the "Opacity" effect.

selecting the opacity effect

Step5 Click the pen tool on the toolbar or press the "P" key.

selecting premier pro pen tool

Step6 Click on the spot where the playhead is pointing to add the starting point. Add another point near where you want the effect to end.

adding keyframe to starting point

Step7 Select the last point and drag it downwards and to the end of the video clip. It will tell the program that you want the opacity to decrease until that point.

moving the key frame

And that's how you use Premiere Pro's pen tool for keyframing.

[Bonus] Wondershare Filmora – A Great Alternative to Premiere Pro Pen Tool

What if Adobe Premiere Pro is not your preferred video editor? Are there alternatives with a pen tool that's as robust as the one in Premiere Pro? Yes, there is. Wondershare Filmora is always a solid option.

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Filmora has a new pen tool that's like a magic wand for video editors. It is useful for masking and blending effects, which can help push your video creativity to its limit.

The pen tool allows you to add shapes to select specific areas in a video for masking. If none of the available shapes suit your needs, you can use the pen tool, a.k.a. the Draw Mask features. You can create custom shapes by dragging control points and adjusting B-splines.

This powerful pen tool is indeed a great alternative to the one on Premiere Pro. On top of that, Wondershare Filmora itself is a robust video editor. That is a big plus.

How To Draw Random Shapes With Pen Tool in Wondershare Filmora

Let's see how good is Wondershare Filmora's pen tool compared to Adobe Premiere Pro's pen tool. The best way to see that is by looking at how to use the feature on this software app. It will allow us to see if it is easier or more difficult or how similar they are.

Without further ado, here's how to draw shapes using the pen tool in Wondershare Filmora.

Step1 Open your project in Wondershare Filmora. Select your video clip on the timeline.

Step2 Select the layer. Click "Mask."

mask tab in wondershare filmora

Step3 Click the "Pen" icon.

pen tool in wondershare filmora

Step4 Drag the preview window and maximize it to make it easier to draw a mask.

maximizing preview on wondershare filmora

Step5 Click on the image to add a point. Trace the image by adding more points until you get the image surrounded by the random shape that you have drawn.

drawing points using filmora pen tool

Step6 If you need to delete a point, double-click it. You can also press the "Backspace" key while the point is selected.

Step7 To create curves, select a point, then hold the "ALT" key. The pen tool should show three dots. Drag the cursor to make the straight line curved. It may take trial and error at first to get the curve direction right. But once you get the hang of it, you'll find it very easy.

Step8 End drawing the new mask at the start point to close the shape.

closing the random shape

Step9 Adjust the points to make the mask cover the subject better.

Step10 Close the maximized view of the frame to go back to Settings. Change the mask range, strength, and opacity as needed.

editing the random shape in filmora

How To Add Path Key Frames With Filmora Pen Tool

Remember that you can use Premiere Pro's pen tool for keyframing? You can use Wondershare Filmora's pen tool for the same purpose.

Suppose the subject you outlined with a mask is moving. The subject will leave the mask because the mask is stationary. You can use keyframing to make the mask move with the subject.

Follow this guide to do so.

Step1 Move the playhead toward the start of the video.

moving the playhead to video beginning

Step2 Under "Draw Mask," tick the "Path" keyframe.

keyframe path feature in filmora

Step3 Move the playhead forward and make stops when the subject changes location. Each time you stop, move the mask to make it cover the subject. Repeat this until you reach the end of the video.

adding the keyframes in filmora

Step4 Click the "Render Preview" button to save your keyframes.

rendering preview to save keyframes

That's it! See how easy it is to use Wondershare Filmora's pen tool? These are not the only things it can do. You can also use the pen tool to remove a video's background. To learn how to do that, you can watch this video:


The pen tool is a very useful tool in video editor software. Adobe Premiere Pro has it, and it's robust. But if you want an alternative, you can use Wondershare Filmora instead. It's an affordable, easy-to-use video solution that still offers advanced features.

The pen tool in Filmora is incredible. You can use it to draw masks or add path keyframes. While drawing shapes with this tool is not as easy as freehand drawing, the controls are still simple. You'll easily get used to using it. Try Wondershare Filmora now and see for yourself.

Caroline Laurent
Caroline Laurent Jul 18, 24
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