Native effects in Adobe Premiere Pro

As we go through our lives, happily editing videos in Adobe Premiere Pro, we build a toolkit of skills. We comprise this toolkit of shortcuts, efficiencies, workarounds, fixes and a plethora of things we know just work. Certain settings look great in the right situation. Some fonts work well for a certain kind of title. We all have effects we go to time and time again.

While most of us use some of Premiere Pro’s native effects, there are still so many we can still use. It can be tough to know what all of them do and how to use them.

While we won’t cover all of them in this article, we will take a look at the native video effects in Premiere Pro 2022. Some will be familiar; others may be new to you. For best results, open up Premiere, create a blank project with some scrap clips and try these effects as we go.

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Adjust effects

Extract – Extract is a cool effect that makes clips greyscale. It offers options to adjust images’ black and white input levels and softness.

Levels – Levels is a versatile effect that combines a handful of image correction functions. It allows you to adjust the brightness and contrast of a clip. It also combines the functions of the brightness, contrast, color balance, gamma correction and invert effects.

Lighting effects – Lighting Effects add up to five lights in a single instance of the effect. The available light options include a spotlight, a directional light and an omni (all directions) light. They can be handy in scenes where you need to animate a light or apply creative color correction. There’s also the option to add a bump layer, which allows you to use the texture of another image — or clip — and apply it to the cast light, giving the light some depth and grit.

ProcAmp – Professional broadcasters generally use video processing amplifiers to process SD and HD signals and change or clean up real-time signal parameters. The ProcAmp effect simulates this piece of hardware and allows adjustment to hue, saturation, brightness, contrast and split percent of a clip’s image.

Blur and sharpen effects

Camera blur effect (Windows only) – This effect simulates an image falling outside a camera’s focal range. You can use the camera blur effect to bring a subject into or out of focus.

Directional blur effect – Adobe Premiere Pro editors use this blur effect to simulate motion by creating blurs that appear directional in nature.

Gaussian blur effect – The Gaussian blur effect softens, blurs and cleans up image noise. This blur, like most, is particularly handy in conjunction with feathered masks. In its options, you can choose whether the blur is horizontal, vertical or both. You can also set the amount of blurriness.

Reduce Interlace Flicker – this effect is handy if you ever find yourself working with interlaced footage. Because of how interlaced footage works, interlace flicker can appear, leading to distracting and unappealing striping. This effect will reduce this issue from occurring.

Channel effects

Invert (video) effect – The invert (video) effect inverts the color information of an image. It’s possible to invert all three RGB colors at once or individually. It’s also possible to invert the hue, lightness and saturation color channels as well. The same goes for YIQ – you can invert all three NTSC luminance and chrominance channels at once. You can also individually invert the Y (luminance), I (in-phase chrominance) and Q (quadrature chrominance).

Distort effects

Corner pin effect – This effect is particularly useful for overlaying an image or graphic onto an object in the scene and making sure it’s in perspective. The Corner Pin gives images a pin in each corner. You can manipulate these pins however you wish. Say you need to overlay an image onto a TV screen at an angle. You can pin the element’s corners to the edge of the TV screen to make it look like it’s on the screen.

Lens distortion effect – The lens distortion effect does exactly as its name implies. It distorts a clip to simulate a distorted lens.

Magnify – This effect is like a magnifying glass for all or a part of an image, allowing for wild, creative scaling without losing resolution.

Mirror – When applying the mirror effect to a clip, you’ll have options to decide where the center of the mirroring occurs. You can also rotate the mirror image. That’s it – the effect is pretty straightforward but a powerful, creative tool.

Spherize – The spherize effect wraps an area of your clip around a virtual sphere.

Transform – This effect is like a second line of defense for animating clip properties — particularly if you’d like them rendered before applying other effects. With the transform effect, it’s possible to adjust and animate anchor points, positioning, scale, rotation and opacity.

Turbulent displace – The turbulent displace is another effect that will immediately make sense to Adobe After Effects users. The effect uses fractal noise to create image distortions. There are endless ways you can use it. It can create anything from smooth, flowing images to wacky, animated ones.

Twirl – Twirl is a fun effect that’s comparable to putting your footage in the blender. You can choose settings like the radius and size of the twirl and where the center of the twirl is.

Wave Warp – Thie effect adds waves to your clips. After adding a wave, you can change its height, width, direction and speed.

Offset – The offset effect essentially allows you to pan the image within your clip. By shifting the center point of your image, the image repeats at the edge of itself.

Generate effects

4 color gradient – With this effect, you can create a gradient with four adjustable colors. You can choose the gradient’s colors, position and how the colors blend.

Lens Flare – This effect creates an animated simulation of a lens flare.

Lightning – The Lightning effect creates fully animated lightning without the help of keyframes.

Ramp – The Ramp effect is similar to the 4 color gradient effect. However, it applies two colors and can either be linear or radial.

Image control effects

Black and white – This effect will convert your image to greyscale.

Color pass – The color pass effect will convert an image to greyscale but save a single color. Want a black and white image with a colored red rose? Color Pass can preserve the color of the rose while turning the rest of the clip’s colors to greyscale.

Color replace – The color replace effect replaces one color with another. After choosing a target color to replace, all of the instances of that color are replaced with the color of your choosing.

Gamma correction – This effect is handy for changing the brightness of a clip without dramatically affecting the highlights and shadows.

Keying effects

Alpha adjust – Alpha adjust allows you to adjust the transparency of a clip if you need to do it out of the default fixed effects rendering order.

Color key – The color key effect allows you to key out all of the image’s pixels similar to the one you select. This is great for removing green screens.

Luma key – This effect keys out all areas of an image with a specified luminance or brightness. This keying effect is handy for removing white backgrounds from logos or removing a dark section in a video.

Track matte key – Using the track matte key will reveal a background clip through a foreground clip, based on a third file that dictates the transparent areas in the foreground clip. This effect requires you to have two clips and a matte, each placed on their own track in the timeline. 

Ultra key – Ultra key is a more powerful and adjustable general purpose keyer, such as the color key effect. It uses more resources than the color key effect, so it will sometimes make sense to use the color key for cleanup and the Ultra Key for the main keying work.

Perspective effects

Basic 3D – The basic 3D effect allows you to move and adjust your clips in 3D space. You can rotate clips and dolly closer or further away, all while maintaining proper perspective in 3D space.

Drop Shadow – The drop shadow effect in Adobe Premiere Pro creates a shadow behind a clip’s borders.

Stylize effects

Alpha Glow – This effect adds color to a masked alpha channel’s edges.

Brush Strokes – This effect simulates the look of rough paintbrush strokes.

Color emboss – The color emboss effect sharpens the edges of objects in an image from a specific angle to give the appearance of depth.

Find edges – The find edges effect seeks out dramatic areas of an image and emphasizes them.

Mosaic – This effect creates a mosaic of single color rectangles, resulting in a pixelated version of your image. There are options to change and animate the number of horizontal and vertical rectangles (blocks) in the image, which allows for some pretty neat creative options.

Posterize – Using the posterize effect allows you to choose the number of tonal levels (or brightness values) for the channels in an image, between 2 and 255. Using a standard RGB image means you can have as few as two tones for red, two tones for green and two tones for blue or as many as 255 tones for each. At 255, your image will look normal.

Replicate – Fans of 1980s music videos will appreciate this effect. The replicate effect divides the screen into tiles, with your entire image showing in each tile. There’s a handy slider to experiment with looks and it’s possible to keyframe and animate this effect.

Roughen edges – Adobe Premiere Pro editors use this effect to rough up edges of a clip, creating rough effects on videos.

Strobe light – The strobe light effect makes an image flicker or become transparent.

Time effects

Echo – Adobe Premiere Pro editors use this effect to combine frames from different times in your clip to create various creative effects.

Pixel motion blur – The pixel motion blur effect allows you to adjust pixel motion blur by virtually changing the shutter angle applied to a clip.

Posterize time – The posterize time effect locks a clip to a specific frame rate.

Time warp – This effect creates speed variances in a clip.

Transform effects

Auto reframe – Auto reframe calculates the subject in a clip and automatically reframes it.

Crop – Cropping allows you to trim pixels from the top, bottom, left and right sides of your clip. Once you’re done cropping a clip, you can either stretch your cropped image to fit the frame of the sequence or feather its edges.

Edge feather – Much like the edge Feather feature in the crop effect, this effect allows you to feather the edges of a clip, creating a soft border.

Horizontal hlip – This effect will flip your clip visually so the right side appears on the left side and vice versa.

Vertical hlip – This effect will flip your clip visually so the top of the clip appears at the bottom and vice versa.

Transition effects

Block dissolve – The block dissolve effect allows you to create transitions where your clip disappears into random blocks.

Gradient wipe – Adobe Premiere Pro editors use various gradient wipe effects to create a gradient transition that causes transparency in your clip based on a gradient layer, which can be a still image or a moving one, but it must exist in the same sequence as the image that’s got the gradient wipe effect applied.

Linear wipe – The linear wipe effect creates a simple linear wipe transition in a direction you specify. You control the angle and feathering of the line.

Utility effects

Cineon converter – This effect gives you control over color conversions of Cineon frames. Cineon files have 10 bits of data in each Cineon channel; this effect controls the range of tones being highlighted without affecting overall tonal balance.

Edit with confidence

There you have it! Every effect mentioned in this article allows Premiere Pro editors to hardness their creativity and make the best videos possible.

Russ Fairley is a producer, editor and motion graphic designer who enjoys writing for Videomaker. He has also written for About.com (Lifewire.com), RedShark News, Modern Drummer Magazine, and others. He is an Adobe Certified Expert, Adobe Community Leader, and co-founder of After Effects Toronto, Canada's largest motion graphic user group. Fairley is the creator and editor of ProductionWorld.net, a popular production news website.