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Invert Text Color Against Outside Media Background

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Shaun Maness
Invert Text Color Against Outside Media Background
on Nov 15, 2016 at 3:15:23 pm

That title sure is a mouthful.

First off, sorry if this seems like a dumb question. I've been trying to research how to do this, and there are a lot of ways that I've read that seem to work, but only for background media that's in After Effects itself. As in, inverting the text color against a present background in the composition. I'm looking for a way to invert After Effects' text color against ANY background I slap onto it via outside media, specifically through ProPresenter. It's unfortunately a necessary hassle to keep backgrounds and text separate.

Granted, I'm still kind of new to After Effects. It sounds like what I need to do lies somewhere in the Difference settings, but after several failed attempts, I'm really hoping you guys can point me in the right direction. I really appreciate it.

To make sure I'm being absolutely clear:
I have to use background images on ProPresenter.
I want text generated on After Effects to invert their colors based on whatever that background happens to be.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Invert Text Color Against Outside Media Background
on Nov 15, 2016 at 4:36:36 pm

[Shaun Maness] "It's unfortunately a necessary hassle to keep backgrounds and text separate."

Not really! AE's default background color is black, correct? Well, get a look at the switches on the bottom of the comp window -- you'll see one with a tiny checkerboard. Click on it. You should now see the Familiar checkerboard pattern that indicates transparency in Photoshop.

AE's default background is TRANSPARENT. The black is there to make things easier to see.

So you can create text -- presumably animated 'cause you're using AE -- using an Alpha channel, which allows you to put the text over anything you want in another application.

Now if WANT to make a solid color background, just create a solid layer in the color of choice, then export the frame from AE -- JPEG, PNG, TIFF, what have you.

It's actually pretty easy. So What kind of things can Presenter do? Never used it.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Shaun Maness
Re: Invert Text Color Against Outside Media Background
on Nov 15, 2016 at 5:01:03 pm

Hey, thanks for the response!

Yeah, so far I've only used After Effects to make animated text. All of that has required me to make use of that Alpha layering.

I'm a graphics designer for my church, and my department is the screens. When music's going, I'm the guy who makes the lyrics appear against a motion background in time with the singers so everyone can be involved and know the words. ProPresenter is like a powerpoint program, it serves as the medium between our projector screen and my terminal. So what I have to do is make the really interesting text in After Effects, load it into ProPresenter in individual slides as movie layers (timing is everything), and the background runs separately.

Here's why the background has to run specifically from ProPresenter, and can't be used in AfterEffects; each lyric slide contains ONLY the lyrics (that is, the lyrics I input directly, or the .mov files I create in After Effects), as the background loop runs independently. This lets the background play seamlessly while I skim through lyrics as needed. If I added the background loop to each slide, the motion would reset each time I switched lyric slides, creating a jarring, jilting effect.

I hope that clears things up a little bit. Sorry if it's at all confusing! I realize my case is a bit unusual.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Invert Text Color Against Outside Media Background
on Nov 15, 2016 at 7:39:10 pm

[Shaun Maness] "I'm looking for a way to invert After Effects' text color against ANY background I slap onto it via outside media, specifically through ProPresenter."

Unfortunately, there's no way to do this. If Ae doesn't know what the background will be, how can I know what color to make the foreground?

Perhaps you could apply a stroke or drop shadow to your text to make it work better over any background. Otherwise, you might make two versions of the text, one light and one dark, and switch them in ProPresenter when appropriate.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Walter Soyka
Re: Invert Text Color Against Outside Media Background
on Nov 15, 2016 at 7:39:32 pm

[Shaun Maness] "I'm looking for a way to invert After Effects' text color against ANY background I slap onto it via outside media, specifically through ProPresenter."

Unfortunately, there's no way to do this. If Ae doesn't know what the background will be, how can it know what color to make the foreground?

Perhaps you could apply a stroke or drop shadow to your text to make it work better over any background. Otherwise, you might make two versions of the text, one light and one dark, and switch them in ProPresenter when appropriate.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Shaun Maness
Re: Invert Text Color Against Outside Media Background
on Nov 15, 2016 at 7:58:24 pm

I had suspected that might be the case, and I understand the reason. I was just hoping I had overlooked something you awesome folks could illuminate for me. And it's good to know from people who have vastly more experience with AE what limitations I'm working within.

Thank you for your honesty and clarification, Walter.


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