Ok, I just upgraded from
FCP4.5 to Final Cut Studio, and started using Motion2 for the
first time. I've been using Avid's since '94 and Final Cut Pro
since '99 (FCP1.0), and I know LiveType, After Effects, PhotoShop
and many other app's, so I know about graphics with alpha. The
first thing I wanted to do with Motion2 was export a simple title
with alpha so I could use it in my Final Cut Pro 5 project. But,
for some reason, everything I tried didn't work? I asked a few
other Producer/Editor's I work with and they had the same problem.
No way to export our projects with alpha? What a bummer!
Guess what, there is a way. It's just
a matter of setting up your project correctly, and exporting
with the correct settings! It's actually pretty simple and I'm
going to show you how.
There are basically two settings that
you need to change for alpha export. The first is the project
settings, and the second is when you actually export your project.
1) PROJECT PROPERTIES SETTINGS
You can set up your project at any time,
even while in the middle of your project, though, typically you
set up your project at the start.
At the "Edit" drop down
menu, select "Project Properties" (see Figure
1), the "Project Properties" window will open (see
FIGURE 1 Edit/Project
Properties Drop Down Menu
FIGURE 2 8 Bit
Motion Project Properties Window
The "Bit Depth" drop down menu
does not affect alpha output. You can select "8 bit",
"16 bit (Float)", or "32 bit (Float)".
What does affect the alpha output is the "Background
Color" fader. If the "Background Color" is
set to 100%, 100% of the color you have select will fill the
screen, and be opaque, with your title on top, for your final
output, and there will be no alpha.
To produce a 100% clean alpha output (no background color), the
"Background Color" fader needs to set to "0%"
(zero percent). If the "Background Color" fader is
set to any value, that amount of color (with transparency) will
fill the background. If the "Background Color" fader
is set to 100%, the background of your project output will be
solid/opaque, with the color you have set.
I'm working on a DV project, so I've
left the "Pixel Aspect Ratio" setting to "NTSC
D1/DV". All formats are affected in the same way.
Now, click "OK", your
project now has the correct settings.
2) PROJECT EXPORT.
Go ahead and design a simple title (I
just typed in with the text tool and put a simple outline around
my title). Your title should have the transparent "Checkerboard"
background if your "Project Properties" settings
are correct (see Figure 3).
FIGURE 3 Transparent
"Checkerboard" Background, with 0% BG Color
Now, select the "File"
drop down menu and select "Export" (see Figure
4), or type "Command+E" (the keyboard shortcut).
This will open the Export Window with a number of options (see Figure 5).
4 Export Drop Down Window
FIGURE 5 - "Export
The setting we're most interested in
that affects outputting an Alpha project, is the "Export
Preset" (see Figure 5). The Motion2 default is set up
for a "DV NTSC Movie", "Export Preset".
We want to change that to "Lossless+Alpha Movie"
(see Figure 6), which defaults to an Animation codec with alpha.
In Final Cut Pro, I will have to render that within my FCP project,
but alpha will be embedded and the image quality will be excellent!
FIGURE 6 Select
There is also the "Use play range"
setting (see Figure 7), when selected will cause Motion2 to only
export your project from your IN/OUT settings in the timeline,
otherwise, the entire timeline will be export.
You can also select for Video/Audio,
Video Only and Audio Only export, so make sure you have the "Include"
option select the way you want.
FIGURE 7 Final
FIGURE 8 Project
Click on "Export", and your
project should export with alpha (see Figure 8). Also, Motion2
will remember these settings next time you boot up and use Motion2,
and until you change those settings.
That's it, I hoped this helped! Sure
beats reading the User Manual!
©2005 BY ROBERT MOORE, ALL IDEAS, ARTWORK, CONCEPTS,
THIS ARTICLE AND DOCUMENT ARE OWNED EXCLUSIVELY BY ROBERT MOORE,
Robert Moore - is a Producer, Writer, Director, Editor for Film and TV (Long Form to On-Air Promo), and offers Tech Consulting using Final Cut Pro, Avid, Protools and associated audio/video equipment. He specializes in HD Production and Post using Final Cut Studio, and is also a DVD producer using DVD Studio Pro. He is a member of the Motion Picture Editors Guild (Local 700 - LA/NY), with many published articles in MPEG Magazine, including reviews of FCP1, 2 and 3. He has built many FCP & Avid post facilities of all sizes, around the world. Visit his website at (www.hdfcp.com), or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org,
to find out more.