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Having issues with alpha channels

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Andrew EsquerHaving issues with alpha channels
by on Mar 14, 2013 at 8:40:22 pm

Hey all, I'm new to AE so please bear with me a bit here—I normally use Motion but am trying the AE trial right now for the 3D features. (I'll buy CS6 when I have the capital for it.)

I'm working on putting together films of local baseball games, and have made an opening graphic template that shows the teams that are playing. As with most TV broadcasts these days, this would go over opening shots of the field/crowd/etc. There's an element in there that I want to look like it's curving around the rest of the elements, so my plan was to get that element curved in AE, then send it back to Motion to use in a Generator template with FCP X.

I've tried exporting just that element multiple times (ProRes 4444, Color+Alpha), but AE doesn't even clue in to the alpha channel, and I've read that other people are still having similar issues on Adobe's forums. I also tried exporting just the alpha channel to try to use as a matte in AE, but then I read Ray-traced 3D layers don't respond to matting (please correct me if this is wrong).

I've thought about exporting the element from Motion with a green background that I can key out later (probably once it returns to Motion, to save myself brain cells), but I'm not so sure that would turn out very cleanly. I've also tried using Pro Import to open the Motion project in AE, but whenever I do that, Automatic Duck/AE either immediately report a fatal error or move ridiculously slowly, and I thought I'd read Automatic Duck was supposed to work faster than that—maybe it's the Motion replicators or mFlare plugin?

If any one has any advice how to proceed, I'd be much obliged.

—AE (AKA "lookatthisguy" in many, many other places)

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Dave LaRondeRe: Having issues with alpha channels
by on Mar 14, 2013 at 10:00:57 pm

What happens if you bring this "element" into FCP to check it? Does it have transparency in FCP?

Dave LaRonde
Former Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA

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Andrew EsquerRe: Having issues with alpha channels
by on Mar 15, 2013 at 5:05:17 am

Dave, thanks for responding.

Strange thing: in FCP X (and even in Keynote, with which I used to use Motion all the time), the alpha was working properly. But all the alpha options were grayed out in AE's 'Interpret Footage > Main…' dialogue.

Stranger thing: I tried it again today, all the exact same settings, and now it works. The only thing I can figure is I may have had a blending mode set incorrectly in mFlare, but it was so late last night I don't remember what I changed when.

Again, thanks for reaching out.

—AE (AKA "lookatthisguy" in many, many other places)

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John CuevasRe: Having issues with alpha channels
by on Mar 15, 2013 at 1:44:53 pm

If you are using a flare(AE flare?) they don't have alpha channels, but you can create one for it and there are different ways to do that. The easiest, IMO, is unmult, a free plugin from Red Giant. In conjuction with a levels effect applied to the alpha channel(sometimes this isn't even needed) you can get an alpha with anything over black.

make sure you select the correct one for your operating system, 32 or 64 bit.

Johnny Cuevas, Editor

"I have not failed 700 times. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work."
---THOMAS EDISON on inventing the light bulb.

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