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Importing Transparent Images into After Effects

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Scott Eckley
Importing Transparent Images into After Effects
on Aug 17, 2011 at 3:01:20 am

I have been trying to import a file into After Effects (from Photoshop) CS5.5 that has a transparent background - but when it gets into AE the transparency is black (or white, depending on what the format is, and how it gets into AE). So, what am I missing? ? All over the internet people say to simply create a PNG file and import it into After Effects, but it will not work.

What's the secret?

Thanks in advance.

Scott (Atlanta, Ga)


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Todd Kopriva
Re: Importing Transparent Images into After Effects
on Aug 17, 2011 at 5:33:15 am

One thing to make sure is that you're interpreting the alpha channel correctly and not ignoring it.

Also, what do you mean by "the transparency is black (or white..."? Have you tried overlaying the layer onto another layer and seeing if the underlying layer shows through?

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Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
Technical Support for professional video software
After Effects Help & Support
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Scott Eckley
Re: Importing Transparent Images into After Effects
on Aug 17, 2011 at 12:38:08 pm

I've tried many variations in PS - some have two layers, others have one layer - I've Saved As in different formats and imported into AE both merged (layers) and editable. In each case, when it is imported into AF the background that is transparent in PS is black or white in AE. (I'm on CS5.5).

I don't see how to manage the Alpha Channel when either Saving As or Importing To. . . . I would think it has something to do with that, but at a loss of how to indicate how to interpret the Alpha. . .

Scott (Atlanta, Ga)


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Walter Soyka
Re: Importing Transparent Images into After Effects
on Aug 17, 2011 at 4:23:04 pm

In the bottom of the viewer window is a little button that looks like a checkboard:


This button toggles the transparency grid -- like the checkerboard in Photoshop. By default, AE will show you your comp's background color (which may be black or white).

Alpha interpretation is managed in AE. Select your footage in the project panel and use Interpret footage [link].

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Scott Eckley
Re: Importing Transparent Images into After Effects
on Aug 17, 2011 at 5:57:12 pm

A button's size is normally in direct relation to it's significance.

I would have made this button a bit bigger. . .

Thanks for sharing your knowledge. . . of little buttons.

Scott (Atlanta, Ga)


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Walter Soyka
Re: Importing Transparent Images into After Effects
on Aug 17, 2011 at 6:25:33 pm

[Scott Eckley] "A button's size is normally in direct relation to it's significance."

All the buttons in AE are about the same size, and I think they're all pretty important to learn. There's not a lot of wasted space on the AE UI.


[Scott Eckley] "Thanks for sharing your knowledge. . . of little buttons."

Happy to help. In my experience, big things come with small buttons. I mash UI elements like a monkey trying to figure them all out.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Weston Selleck
Re: Importing Transparent Images into After Effects
on Aug 17, 2011 at 7:21:09 am

You might want to try just saving it as a PSD and not an image file. The only downside I can see from this is a bigger file size, but when dealing with still images this should just be a matter of a few MBs.

-Weston


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David Bauman
Re: Importing Transparent Images into After Effects
on Nov 12, 2013 at 8:02:06 pm

Yours was the most helpful piece of information here. I've tried everything to get a graphic with a transparent background from photoshop into AE. Over and over, no matter how much I play with the "web and devices" settings in Photoshop, as soon as I import these graphics into AE, you see a white background framing them. No one explained why this is, or why it doesn't happen in Apple Motion, but certainly, saving as a psd file and importing it that way into AE made the difference. Transparency all around


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Ht Davis
Re: Importing Transparent Images into After Effects
on Feb 7, 2015 at 8:15:30 am

It's no bug. I've had the same troubles... In AE you have to turn on the transparency, and in premiere there isn't one. In Premiere, when you want it to overlay, set it in a video track above the main (video # 2 3 4 etc) and treat them as layers going up... ...The top video is on top (overlayed) of the others and will play over them. With transparent backgrounds, remember to size your graphic to the frame size. Right click them all, modify, size to frame. Now they should show up, but beware squeezing and stretching. If they don't have the same exact aspect ratio, they might distort or shift up\down left\right. If you don't match to frame, they may be of a size beyond the frame, and be sitting outside the viewing area. By resizing to the frame, you bring it to a size that matches.


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