Join Richard Harrington for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a logo alpha channel for video, part of Motion Graphics for Video Editors: Terms and Technology (2014).
- Taking the extra effort to make an alpha channel will effectively preserve the transparency in your document, and make it easier to share with another tool, such as an editing program, a motion graphics tool, or really any other application that recognizes an alpha channel. Let's turn off the See the Difference logo and the background, and just work with our Sound Mind and Body gym logo here. Now that I've got this over transparency, I have a simple choice. Some folks will choose File, Save for Web, and choose to store this as a PNG-24 file.
If you do that, and you include the option to include transparency, this will create a file that can often be used by lots of other applications, including presentation software. Clicking save will store that image. There we go. But if you want to go a step further, open up that actions panel, and you'll find actions called Alpha Channel from Visible Layers, or Alpha Channel from Visible Layers (Inverted) The second one is for use on editing systems like Avid, but most people will use this first one.
Select it, and press the play button. This will create an alpha channel from only the visible layers. Now, if you take a look at the Channels panel, you'll see that a new channel was added at the bottom, the alpha channel. And this alpha channel effectively shows you all the transparency within the document. If you zoom in to look, you'll see that it respected the drop shadow, it cut out the logo itself, it has all of the stored transparency.
That's ready to be saved and used in another app. Simply choose File, Save As, I recommend selecting a TIFF file, and leaving the Alpha Channels box selected. I'll keep Layers for future changes, and click Save. Don't apply any image compression, and you do not need to check Save Transparency, because this will conflict with the alpha channel you just created. Leave that box unchecked.
When you click ok, this will store the new file. Now if we head on over to an application like Premiere Pro and import those in, you'll notice that both the PNG and the TIFF file will work properly. Let's double click to load that, I'll just reset my workspace here so it's in the default layout, and from the settings menu, I could choose to view this over a transparency grid.
You'll see that the PNG file contains transparency. And the alpha channel file also contains transparency. The good news is that many editing tools will give you the ability if you control click or right click on one of these files, to modify the footage with an Interpret Footage type command. You'll notice here in this case that Premiere Pro gives you the ability to actually change the alpha channel, ignoring it or inverting it, or adjusting it for any background color spill that might be included.
- When to use vector vs. raster graphics
- Working with high-dynamic-range images
- Choosing the right color space
- Understanding file extensions and file formats
- Maintaining broadcast-safe color and luminance levels
- Configuring Photoshop and Illustrator workspaces and preferences
- Using templates
- Building titles
- Sizing photos or logos
- Saving Photoshop and Illustrator files for video graphics