5 Replies Latest reply on Feb 27, 2014 12:31 PM by Rick Gerard

    transparent smoke text after effects CS5.5


      Hello all,


      Need some help here.  I'm sure this has been asked but as you search there's a million posts that come up and to read through all is, lets just say time consuming.  I wish I had more time to learn AE but I've been working with tutorials until I find time.


      I've made a fabulous Smoke Text effect that  I then insert the .mov file into Final Cut Pro.  The smoke effect I downloaded from the tutorial has a black background and therefore when rendered out, it's a basic white text against a black background.  Once in FCP, I have to turn the file's opacity down in order for it to layer over a video file and not black out what I layer over it.


      I need help.  How can I make the file transparent?  A simple toggle of the transparency grid isn't going to do it.  I need to make or find a video of smoke that is transparent?  Any help is greatly appreciated

        • 1. Re: transparent smoke text after effects CS5.5
          Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          You need to make sure that the file you are rendering as contains transparency. That means in your output module, you need to set it to render RBG+A and you need to choose a format and codec that support alpha (such as Quicktime with the PNG codec or certain flavours of ProRes).


          When you get time, I highly recommend going through these resources to get a foundation on this sort of basic functionality of AE. Actually understanding how to use After Effects will actually save you a lot of time in the long run.

          • 2. Re: transparent smoke text after effects CS5.5
            Lionbacker24 Level 1

            I apprecaite the quick response and I will look into the resources you recommended.  However, I don't think my problem is exporting at this time.  In order for me to find an output module of RBG+A, I needed to go to cutsom.  It wasn't there until I toggled the transparency grid (unless I botched that up) and then used a custom output with RBG+A.  It didn't work.


            I believe the Smoke movie file that was recommended to be used in the tutorial is the issue and the thing I need to make transparent.  I apprecaite your patience.  Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 12.39.32 PM.png

            • 3. Re: transparent smoke text after effects CS5.5
              Dave LaRonde Level 6

              You don't need anything custom, you need to use a codec that supports Alpha Channels.  In Quicktime, there are three: Animation, PNG and ProRes 4444.  Of the three, I'd go with the ProRes.


              When you render out your movie to preserve transparency, make sure you're set up for RGB+Alpha, Millions (or Trillions) of Colors +, and Straight, i.e. not premultiplied.

              • 4. Re: transparent smoke text after effects CS5.5
                Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                If you don't have a transparent background behind the smoke in After Effects, you will need to find a way to key out the smoke. You can either do a luma key or you can use the free Unmult plugin from Red Giant.

                • 5. Re: transparent smoke text after effects CS5.5
                  Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  Try just setting the smoke layer to the Screen or Add blend mode.


                  Remember that white plus white is going to be white so the areas of your background that have white clouds will not show any smoke even if you had a perfect key because white + white is white. IMHO that cloud background is a terrible choice for a smoke to text effect.


                  Dave mentioned codecs that support alphas. He missed a few. PND Quick Time and Jpeg 2000 also support alpha channels. So do image sequences using png, tiff, tga or psd files. All of which will read in PPro or FCP, but if you have no alpha in your AE comp then you need to make one with the techniques suggested or just use a screen or add blend mode.