13 Replies Latest reply on Mar 3, 2011 2:14 PM by ArtyParker

    Exporting Animation with Aplha channel?

    ArtyParker Level 1

      Hey all,

       

      I'm making an animation that is to be shown on TV. It's very simpe, a pool/ snooker ball rolling off screen while two guest names appear under it. I've animated it so the pool/ snooker ball roles off screen and the two names fly in.

      I've made the base of what is to be animated in photoshop and imported it as a PSD with individual layers.

       

      My problem is, I don't want a background, I want transparancy as it is going to be shown on top of what is being shown. How do I go about removing the background, is it Keylighting?

      I've tried keylighting but find that when I want to extract my bg it doesn't work as it is specific to the layer I am on.

       

      Is there a way to remove the background so I can export it with no background?

      I've also tried exporting it as an SWF but find that it removes the stroke I applied to it in Photoshop and the bg is still there.

       

      So, can anyone lend a helping hand here?

       

      Thanks.

        • 1. Re: Exporting Animation with Aplha channel?
          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

          You're not making sense. If you prepped the file in PS, then you should have your balls on transparent layers and AE will correctly recognize and use this transparency. For the rest I recommend you start with the basics and read the help on rendering and alpha channels. Similarly read the help on limitations of SWF exporting and alternatives like FLV export. Also do a search on this forum. I've answered questions about transparent Flash at least twice in the last two weeks. The short version of it all: You are trying to fix a problem that doesn't exist. Transparency is just as much a matter of interpreting it on playback as it is creating it. You will always see a background in applications that don't handle transparency via embedded channels. The checkerboard in AE and PS is just a simulation of how transparency will look over an alternate background, it's not transparency per se.

           

          Mylenium

          • 2. Re: Exporting Animation with Aplha channel?
            Dave LaRonde Level 6

            To add to Mylenium's advice:

             

            You need to render (not export) in a codec that supports alpha channels; if the alpha channel selection is grayed out when you set up the render, you have to pick a different one.

            You need to know whether the next person to use your rendered file wants Straight or Premultiplied alpha channels.

            You can check your comp for transparency by making the background the familiar Photoshop checkerboard variety: there's a switch at the bottom of the comp window.

            • 3. Re: Exporting Animation with Aplha channel?
              ArtyParker Level 1

              Sorry, I wasn't explaining myself very well.

               

              I have made what I need in Photoshop, with transparancy, no background.

               

              I import into After Effects, it automatically adds a background to the composition.

               

              I add it to my render queue, change my settings to RGB+ Alpha, export as an Animation (not tried anything else yet) and click render. Once rendered, I double click the animation, which is saved as a .mov, but the background is still apparant.

               

              So I import that .mov into AE, try to key out the bg, but it won't let me, it just chooses black when I use the eye drop, despite my bg being pink.

               

              So, any idea?

               

              EDIT: It isn't my PSD layers that add the bg, it is AE adding the bg. When I click Compostion Settings I can change the bg, I've choose pink because it is different to the rest I have, but I can't key or remove the bg AE automatically gives it.

              Also when I import the .mov into AE, I can move the contents of what would have been my PSD file with no BG, yet AE still adds the pink BG to the background, and when exporting, it adds that bg, which I do not need.

              • 4. Re: Exporting Animation with Aplha channel?
                Dave LaRonde Level 6

                ArtyParker wrote:

                 

                Sorry, I wasn't explaining myself very well.

                I have made what I need in Photoshop, with transparancy, no background.

                I import into After Effects, it automatically adds a background to the composition.

                Sorry, but you're STILL not explaining yourself very well.

                 

                If you imported a PSD with transparency, what's your proof that AE's adding a background unless you CHECK for transparency?  It doesn't seem that you've done so.

                 

                 

                ArtyParker wrote:

                I double click the animation, which is saved as a .mov, but the background is still apparant.

                You won't see an alpha channel in the Quicktime player.  What else do you have to use to check the transparency?

                 

                ArtyParker wrote:

                ...I import that .mov into AE, try to key out the bg, but it won't let me, it just chooses black when I use the eye drop, despite my bg being pink.

                 

                Wait a minute: you just said you have NO background, and now you say your background is supposed to be PINK?  What's up with that?

                 

                ArtyParker wrote:

                So, any idea?

                 

                Yes: you ought to look over the links Mylenium gave you.  It sounds as if you're trying to do this intuitively, which leads to disaster for the AE Rookie.

                1 person found this helpful
                • 5. Re: Exporting Animation with Aplha channel?
                  ArtyParker Level 1

                  I don't really know how to explain this.

                   

                  I have a photoshop file with NO background. It is transparent, my problem occurs when importing it into AE.

                   

                  AE automatically ADDS a BG, but not to my PSD files. I can move the contents of my PSD around the screen fine, with the bg not moving. It is the COMPOSTION that adds the bg, or rather, has a colour, for which I choose pink. I do not, or I can not, get a transparent bg in the composition. Why can I not just have a blank composition with the format I need as this would help me more?

                   

                  All I am trying to do is render my animation with no background, which doesn't appear to be happening.

                   

                  I don't know how to explain this any better, I'm not looking into this too much or trying anything that should be too complicated. It is simple, but it isn't simple why I can not get a rendered animation/ .mov or whatever with no BG.

                   

                  Lets put it this way. When you import into AE, and drag your contents down onto the composition or make it into a compostion, it automatically adds a compostion BG, which you can change under compostion settings.

                   

                  My problem is not with my PSD or my files, it is with AE adding that bg and rendering out WITH that composition BG, not transparent.

                   

                  So, what is confusing about my post, as I can not see it. I'm not trying to do anything hard, I just want a transparent background, I don't want AE's compostion bg on my final render, which it is doing.

                   

                  EDIT:

                  I will say that when I render as a .mov and import that .mov into AE I can move the contents of what would have been my PSD, so it appears it is transparent, in a sense, but why does the compostion bg still appear on the .mov, do I have to save it as a .png or something instead?

                  • 6. Re: Exporting Animation with Aplha channel?
                    Dave LaRonde Level 6

                    ArtyParker wrote:

                    AE automatically ADDS a BG, but not to my PSD files. I can move the contents of my PSD around the screen fine, with the bg not moving. It is the COMPOSTION that adds the bg, or rather, has a colour, for which I choose pink. I do not, or I can not, get a transparent bg in the composition. Why can I not just have a blank composition with the format I need as this would help me more?

                     

                    AE defaults to a background COLOR, but not a background.  It starts out as black, but you can change it.  Apparently, you chose pink.  If you can see the background color, you have transparency.  It isn't automatically adding ANYTHING, okay?  You just go check your comp for transparency as described above and see what happens.

                     

                    Still having problems?  Then check back in.

                    1 person found this helpful
                    • 7. Re: Exporting Animation with Aplha channel?
                      Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

                      I import into After Effects, it automatically adds a background to the composition.

                       

                      It doesn't add anything, it merely shows you the composition background which of course will also show up in the rendered RGB channels because "transparency" cannot exist without color. Just because the Alpha channel dictates that some pixels must not be visible, it doesn't mean they don't exist. Transparency in computer graphics is a technical concept to control pixel blending, nothing more. Even if you see the checkerboard in PS or AI, in technical terms it is merely eradicating the "transparent" pixels and filling them with the test pattern...

                       

                      I double click the animation, which is saved as a .mov, but the background is still apparant.

                       

                      Again, you didn't read my first post correctly. Transparency is a matter of whatever target program interpreting your Alpha channel and as Dave already pointed out, just viewing it in QT player is an unsuitable way to verify such things because it doesn't interpret embedded Alpha channels. You would have to open it in a program that does and that means AE or other editing or image processing programs (including the TV stations playback software or video mixer).

                       

                      I'm sorry to say so, but you are running in circles on that one. If you correctly render the Alpha channel from AE and the playback system of your TV station will interpret it correctly, there is nothing you need to do and everything will be fine. And contrary to what you may believe, you are not making things easier by making the BG pink. It will only cause color fringes in the semi-transparent edges.

                       

                      Mylenium

                      • 8. Re: Exporting Animation with Aplha channel?
                        ArtyParker Level 1

                        I have checked the grid and as I have said, my PSD is transparent, I know this already.

                         

                        I want it to render with that transparancy though, which it does not, it renders with the colour for the comp.

                        I know obviously rendering as a .mov etc it's going to add that comp colour because it needs information, but how do I render it as an animation, such as a GIF or something similar, that allows it to have transparancy?

                         

                        EDIT:


                        I'll upload what I have to YouTube and post the link so you can see what I mean. =)

                        • 9. Re: Exporting Animation with Aplha channel?
                          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

                          You know, you are really frustrating people around here because you seem unwilling to listen and understand. Now for the third time: If you render it with Alpha channel, it will have correct "transparency" once it is loaded into your TV station's playback software or any program that reads this channel. Quicktime player does not, Windows Media player does not, other media players don't. Flash does with FLV and SWF, but only if you encode the file correctly and in addition instruct the player to use that info by defining suitable player parameters that allow the page to show through (at the cost of performance). Editing programs do, After Effects does, Photoshop does. Really, you need to get that into your head. and no, just jumping formats doesn't solve anything or do you see the transparency of a TIFF, PNG or PSD file outside Photoshop? Clearly not. just using GIF won't solve the problem either because - surprise, surprise, there is no transparency, it's just a color being tagged to be replaced by the background in devices and programs that do use it like browsers, but it will just show up opaque in programs that don't (some mobile browser to conservee energy). No offense, you are locked into your false thinking and it feels like a temporal paradox where we end up always at the same starting point trying to explain it to you...

                           

                          Mylenium

                          • 10. Re: Exporting Animation with Aplha channel?
                            bogiesan-gyyClL Level 3

                            When you render using the Animation codec, you must check that Millions of Colors + is enabled. The "+" is the alpha.

                             

                            bogiesan

                            • 11. Re: Exporting Animation with transparancy?
                              ArtyParker Level 1

                              I see now. Maybe I should have named this thread 'Exporting Animation with Transparancy' rather than alpha.

                               

                              Either way, I guess it's fixed and that colour will disappear when in the TV stduio, if not, I'll post back here.

                              • 12. Re: Exporting Animation with transparancy?
                                Dave LaRonde Level 6

                                ArtyParker wrote:

                                Either way, I guess it's fixed and that colour will disappear when in the TV stduio, if not, I'll post back here.

                                 

                                If I were you, I'd make TWO files, one with a straight alpha channel and one with a premultipled alpha channel.  They'll use one or the other, and if you make both, you're covered.  You'll find the proper switches when you add the comp to the render queue and look in the output module.  You can use the Add Output Module command to make the other kind. If you ask them which one worked, you'll only have to make one next time.

                                • 13. Re: Exporting Animation with transparancy?
                                  ArtyParker Level 1

                                  Thank you Dave,

                                   

                                  I shall take your advise.