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Transparent background/alpha channel problems with Motion 5 and FCP 7

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Josh Bass
Transparent background/alpha channel problems with Motion 5 and FCP 7
on Jan 27, 2018 at 5:32:53 am

Yes, you read correctly. I am in a very strange place where I upgraded to Motion 5 (cause Motion 4 doesn't work on Sierra) and still use FCP7. I am trying to do the seemingly simple task of creating titles in motion with slight FX on them (grow, tracking, etc.), then export with transparent background and use them in FCP over video clips.

For reason, this is causing all sorts of problems. Seems to only work if I export as Prores 4444 (422, any other setting I've tried, not transparent at all, get a solid black background on the text/Motion file), and even in a Prores project (albeit 422), tells me my file (the exported Motion .mov) "is not optimized for Final Cut". It was also doing that when I was exporting in Prores 422, if you're wondering. Also, I noticed my white text created in Motion, with no outline or anything other than a drop shadow, is coming into FCP7 with a very thin outline, and furthermore is kind of jagged. I have the Motion project's settings set to transparent background, am exporting with Color + Alpha, don't see why this is behaving this way, unless these two just don't play well together?


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Dirk de Jong
Re: Transparent background/alpha channel problems with Motion 5 and FCP 7
on Jan 27, 2018 at 12:29:30 pm

[Josh Bass] "Seems to only work if I export as Prores 4444 (422, any other setting I've tried, not transparent at all, get a solid black background on the text/Motion file)"

Of the ProRes video codec choices, only the 4444 options can include an embedded alpha channel (Color + Alpha), so that's almost certainly why you're getting the solid black background and it probably has nothing to do specifically with Motion or FCP.

While it's hard to say for sure about the other symptoms (thin outline, jagged edge) you should make sure in the Render tab of the Export Movie dialogue that Render Quality is set to Best (so the edges are anti-aliased) and sometimes a thin "fringe" or outline can have to do with whether or not the alpha channel is being premultiplied with a color (usually black or white) or not. I don't remember precisely how the settings for handling this work in FCP 7.


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Josh Bass
Re: Transparent background/alpha channel problems with Motion 5 and FCP 7
on Jan 27, 2018 at 4:06:58 pm

Thanks. Another thing I don’t understand is that when I previously had my sequence settings in FCP [foolishly] set to h264 (brain fart—was working with a. bunch of smart phone footage and let it conform sequence settings to the best quality clip—later changed to prores), the titles worked fine when set to export as h264 or “same as source”. But the export from FCP from that codec was a mess so I couldn’t stick with it. May just have to bring thr video clips that need titles into motion and make it all one file if I can’t get it sorted.


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Robin S. Kurz
Re: Transparent background/alpha channel problems with Motion 5 and FCP 7
on Jan 29, 2018 at 12:45:27 pm

If you need an alpha, then you obviously need to use a codec that in fact SUPPORTS an alpha. In which case, of all the available codecs, as already stated, ONLY 4444 does, hence the forth number in the name. Namely: R, G, B… and A. Technically H.265 will also store an alpha, but that's certainly no option for you and your ancient set up.

As far as the odd outline is concerned, you'll want to set it to STRAIGHT and not PREMULTIPLIED matting. Or at least make sure that ol' 7 is interpreting it right, which is generally a crapshoot.

And yeah, you don't want to hear it, but… switch to X already. Or even Premiere or Resolve if X scares you so much. Seriously. If not for the sake of remedying rather ludicrously avoidable problems such as this, then for the sake of your overall sanity, disk space and practicality? None of which you would have to worry the least bit about if you were using X, as you should when using M5 anyway. FCP 7 is dead for a (a very good) reason. What is it you think you're protecting yourself from? Efficiency? 😏 (in which case… it's working 😛) It's not like you're going to get away with it forever, so what exactly is the point of prolonging matters for over six years? But then you may well not need to actually make money with what you do, in which case… oh well.

- RK

____________________________________________________
Deutsch? Hier gibt es ein umfassendes FCP X Training für dich!


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Josh Bass
Re: Transparent background/alpha channel problems with Motion 5 and FCP 7
on Jan 29, 2018 at 3:23:25 pm

I am not seeing alpha options like prmultiply when exporting from Motion...that option just isn’t there for me. In FCP those clips have had their alpha selection options greyed out.

I have resolve and started this project with it but backed out cause it seemed like a bad idea trying to learn the software while working on a tight deadline. If I get more familiar with it and don’t like it I will get FCPX. The two track/magnetic timeline thing makes me not want to get into it. I know FCP7 pretty well so that’s what I went with this time. Have Premiere CS6, not a fan, not goin for the subscription thing.


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Robin S. Kurz
Re: Transparent background/alpha channel problems with Motion 5 and FCP 7
on Jan 29, 2018 at 7:09:02 pm
Last Edited By Robin S. Kurz on Jan 29, 2018 at 7:09:54 pm

[Josh Bass] "I am not seeing alpha options like prmultiply when exporting from Motion..."

True. Wasn't in front of Motion at the time and could have sworn there was a project setting for that. But apparently they killed that with v5.



[Josh Bass] "In FCP those clips have had their alpha selection options greyed out. "

Then the clips don't have an alpha.


[Josh Bass] "The two track/magnetic timeline thing makes me not want to get into it."

In other words you're just buying into something you've heard and not in fact experienced. My tip: actually TRY IT and LEARN what it's all about, so that you can make your own opinion and not just adapt some hearsay as such.

Fact is: everyone that I know that has, has ended up absolutely loving it. Some sooner, some later. Mainly because it is factually a much faster, more powerful and (ultimately) more intuitive way of working.

But I guess you prefer wasting unnecessary time on completely avoidable problems like this one instead of moving your skills and knowledge forward? 😏


[Josh Bass] "not goin for the subscription thing."

More than understandable.

____________________________________________________
Deutsch? Hier gibt es ein umfassendes FCP X Training für dich!


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Josh Bass
Re: Transparent background/alpha channel problems with Motion 5 and FCP 7
on Jan 29, 2018 at 8:10:56 pm

If you say so. I am not saying I won’t get into X but starting a new project with a short deadline using unfamiliar software that requires a complete different way of thinking was not going to be a good idea.


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Robin S. Kurz
Re: Transparent background/alpha channel problems with Motion 5 and FCP 7
on Feb 16, 2018 at 9:22:03 am
Last Edited By Robin S. Kurz on Feb 16, 2018 at 9:22:26 am

[Josh Bass] "… but starting a new project with a short deadline using unfamiliar software …"

I wasn't suggesting that, nor would I.

But then I guess you're saying that in over six years you have never had anything but that? That's quite the workload! 😏

- RK


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Josh Bass
Re: Transparent background/alpha channel problems with Motion 5 and FCP 7
on Feb 16, 2018 at 12:45:38 pm

No of course not, but the specific issue I had this time was new to me, and if something’s working, why spend money/change? Anyway I got the issue resolved (prores 4444 and Best render settings was the way to go) but I bought FCPX after. I was going to start using Resolve but since I’m already pretty familiar with Motion I didn’t want to have to learn 2 new pieces of software from scratch (i.e Fusion) so X seemed like the lesser evil. Not sure how I feel about it yet.


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Robin S. Kurz
Re: Transparent background/alpha channel problems with Motion 5 and FCP 7
on Feb 16, 2018 at 1:21:39 pm

Smart move, too, if you ask me.

Just do yourself a big favor and do not just try and dive in and think everything will make immediate sense and just work. GET TRAINING. Be it paid (my recommendation) from Ripple Training or, before you piece stuff together on Youtube from some hobbyist learning-by-doers with screen recording software, check out Izzy Video!

Yes, it's quite an adjustment here and there, no question. But I guarantee you that if you stick with it, actually learn the needed basics first to avoid unnecessary frustration(!) and just force yourself to forget some age old, outdated concepts and muscle memory… you will not regret it. Especially in the context of this thread i.e. your problem, you will be blown away by how much faster you'll be working in the end.

Cheers,
RK

____________________________________________________
Deutsch? Hier gibt es ein umfassendes FCP X Training für dich!


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Josh Bass
Re: Transparent background/alpha channel problems with Motion 5 and FCP 7
on Feb 16, 2018 at 6:09:33 pm

We will see. I have watched a bunch of youtube and other tuts on it, googled a few things. There are still things I don’t get but hopefully I can find the answers at some point. Doesn’t help that my first project with it is editing podcasts.


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Robin S. Kurz
Re: Transparent background/alpha channel problems with Motion 5 and FCP 7
on Feb 16, 2018 at 8:49:10 pm

[Josh Bass] "… bunch of youtube and other tuts on it, googled a few things. There are still things I don’t get…"

Which is my point exactly. If you're serious about learning and using it, as I already said, do NOT rummage through Youtube. A complete waste of time hat will get you nowhere fast. Go with either offerings I mentioned and you'll get up to speed without wasting time.


[Josh Bass] "Doesn’t help that my first project with it is editing podcasts."

How is that relevant? What's so special or difficult about editing a podcast of all things??

- RK

____________________________________________________
Deutsch? Hier gibt es ein umfassendes FCP X Training für dich!


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