Join Richard Harrington for an in-depth discussion in this video Blending techniques for backgrounds, part of Motion Graphics for Video Editors: Creating Backgrounds.
When I travel from edit suite to edit suite, and always on my laptop, I always have a collection of textures. These texture layers can be combined to quickly whip up a new background. By using the same 50 textures that you have on your system, you can literally come up with hundreds of backgrounds at the drop of a hat. Start off by choosing File > New, and then from the Film and Video category, pick a preset that matches your delivery format. In this case, I'm working with 720p. I'll click OK, and I get a new empty canvas.
Now, I'll take advantage of the ability to load layers. I could choose to load files in this stack and navigate to a bunch of images that I want to use. Now I've included a collection of textures that you can play with, or you can use any ones that you have access to. When I click OK all of these will be added into a new document. Each of them becomes loaded as a layer. Now these are not necessarily big enough for what I need and you'll see that it did change the canvas size. So with them highlighted let's choose Window, and from a range I'll say 2-Up Vertically.
Now it's pretty simple to drag from one window to the other. And with the Shift key I could just drop those in the middle and it added them to my project. I can close this and get it out of the way. And now we'll just switch back to a single workspace. Window > Arrange > Consolidate Into Tabs. Easy enough and what I've got is essentially some textures. So, here's this first one. Select the move tool and drag it into place. This is quite simple. It's just a photograph of a sky that I took.
I could use it as is or run a filter on it to soften it up a bit. And you see it creates a nice organic looking texture. Next, I've got another texture. Let's press Ctrl minus to zoom out a bit. This one's a bit larger. And Ctrl+T. Using the Free Transform tool, I could scale that texture and move it into place. When I'm satisfied, I'll try different blending modes. You can use these as pop-ups in guess. In this case, Multiply, drop out the whites, and map the darker edges in.
Or use that use that shortcut of selecting the move tool and pressing Shift+plus or minus to step through your different blending modes, until you find one that you like. Actually kind of like that one there, although I think I'm going to go with my original of multiply. Toss on another pattern, and you can use this. Experiment with blending modes and mix it together. And because you could move that and position it as you see fit, the backgrounds start to become different. And remember, changing the stacking order changes the appearance.
So you've got lots of flexibility there. As you build it out, you can use as many or as few of these layers as you want. Once you have a good base texture, just take advantage of the Gradient Map that you learned about earlier. This will allow you to map colors to this scene. Go with any of the presets that work for you. Or try some of the noises out. I really like these noise background. And once i've got it. I simplify it down using something more like Hue or Color or SoftLight. Once you got what you want, it's pretty simple.
You can stop right now or take advantage of that copy merge command. Select > All, Copy Merged, and paste a flattened version on top. That's just Select > All, Copy Merged, and then paste. Now, you can use all the tricks you've already learned. Like blurring this top copy even more and blending it. Something like SoftLight or Multiply may give you the darker background that you desire and simplify things down a bit.
Along the way if you decide to change things, just take advantage of the gradient map or cheat and use a hue saturation layer with colorize. And you can dial in any new color that your client wants. Your client wants to go nice and safe with blue, dial in the saturation and the lightness value as you see fit and you have a new simple texture. And while this looks pretty simple, it's going to easily work for you because you could choose Select > All, Copy Merged.
And now, in my new document, I'm ready to make a lower third. Paste that texture in, draw a simple mask over it, add your layer mask, and start to set your text. And you see there, how those simple textures very quickly become usable elements that you can use as you design. While this is just the beginning of a lower third, it can quickly take shape. What I'll do here is select this here. And grab my gradient tool and using a simple black to white gradient, I'll click on the gradient here and ramp it a bit.
Now, I've got a nice ramped gradient that has partial transparency. I can continue to add any additional information. But I've whipped up a custom lower third from scratch in just a couple of minutes.
- The role of backgrounds in video
- Achieving proper color and contrast
- Gathering source material
- Working with gradients
- Filtering and blending backgrounds
- Using patterned tiles
- Shooting background plates
- Stacking and blending footage
- Designing backgrounds with the effects in After Effects