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Old May 23rd, 2011, 04:35 PM   #1
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building a lower third

I could use a bit of help building a lower third.

I want to use a simple ribbon banner with type on it -- IOW, a background that makes the words easier to see. Further, I want this banner to be somewhat transparent, and to fade to nothing (completely transparent) as it goes from left to right.

I'm making this thing in Photoshop CS5. Basically, I created a rectangle with a fill color. Then in Layer Style I picked a gradient overlay. Then I set the blend mode to Screen (so the color shows through). The gradient I picked is "Foreground to Transparent" (second one on the list). Style is "linear" and I reversed the gradient so that it's runs from opaque on the left to transparent on the right. Finally my background layer is turned off so the background is transparent.

On the monitor in PS, it shows that it's green on the left, then fades to white on the right (white, not transparent). Just to be sure, I imported my new lower third into PPro to see how it looks over the target video frame. Sure enough, the gradient fades to white rather than to transparent. Otherwise it looks more or less like I wanted. So close, yet...

I've been beating this thing into the ground all afternoon now. I'm sure this is amazingly simple, but I'm just not seeing it. Anyone toss a floundering man a clue please?

Oh, yes -- is Photoshop even the right tool for this work? Or should I be building this thing in After Effects? Or something else? I've got the Production Premium suite available, so point me where I need to go please.
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 05:05 PM   #2
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Re: building a lower third

What you are doing is essentially what I have done. I just checked in PS CS5 to make sure and this is how I did it:

1) create a project slightly larger than the banner (mine is 1280 wide by 120 for 720p projects)

2) select the Gradient Tool

3) in the box in the top right, select the 2nd gradient preset which goes from color to transparent.

4) along the top bar, you will see "Reverse", "Dither" and "Transparency". Uncheck 'Reverse' and make sure Transparency IS checked. Unchecking Reverse allows you to go from left to right with your mouse otherwise you would have to start from right to left.

5) make you gradient

6) make a new layer (Ctr+Alt+Sft+N)

7) resize the gradient layer via Transform (Ctr+T)

Also, when creating a new project in PS, make sure to have the background contents set to Transparent. I prefer to save as PSD and import into Premiere or AE. In Premiere, I usually import as footage and AE as a comp with editable layer styles as it gives more control within AE so I don't have to keep going back into PS.
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 11:58 PM   #3
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Re: building a lower third

From file>new, select transparent background from drop box. Size the canvas appropriately for the video type your are making.

Select your frame for the gradient and select a color-to-transparent gradient; select your color, draw the gradient. Save your file as a *.png file -- jpeg and tiff will create a white background, the .png file will maintain the transparency. Import file to PPro...

My guess is your only real problem is the type of graphics file you're saving. Try .png....a psd file will also work.

Last edited by Battle Vaughan; May 24th, 2011 at 12:16 AM. Reason: addendum
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Old May 24th, 2011, 01:13 PM   #4
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Re: building a lower third

This is too dumb for words. And I still can't get a gradient to go transparent. Sigh...

What I'm doing, trying to follow Steve's workflow:

1) File...New gets me the New pop-up window, to which I make the following settings:

2) Preset: custom, background contents: transparent, and sizes to make a nice lower thirds (in this case, 1920 pixels long and 250 pixels high). This gets me a transparent canvas of 1920 x 250, just like you'd think.

3) Pick the rectangle tool, draw a box on the canvas. In doing this, I make the opacity 100% and the fill 100%. Now I've got a nice solid color box on my canvas. There is no background layer (because it's transparent) but there is a layer that contains my box. So, a single layer construct at this point.

4) Pick the gradient tool. Cursor shows a circle with a line through it anywhere on the canvas, including the new box. If I click on the box to start drawing a gradient, I get a pop-up error window which says "Could not use the gradient tool because the content of the layer is not directly editable."

What does that mean, really? All that's there is a vector box and a fill. Does the gradient tool require rastor images to work?

5) Given that #4 didn't work, I try to use the layer styles: do double click on the layer that contains the box, bringing up the Layer Styles pop-up window. Turn on gradient overlay, then set the overlay to: Blend mode: Screen, Gradient: Foreground to transparent. This results in a gradient overlay of my box, and it runs from the color of the box to white. Not transparent (like the canvas it's on), but white. Where did it get white from? There's no white anywhere to be seen until the gradient decides to end in white instead of transparent.

So I've gone full circle back where I started. This is one of those things where everything is right but it's still not working. It just can't be this hard.

@Battle: This is happening inside Photoshop. But when I save it to a *.psd file and import it into PPro I see exactly the same thing -- color to white, not color to transparent.

I sure wish I could make myself think the way that Adobe's engineers think. It's not like I'm not an engineer myself. Which is probably the problem. Sigh...
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Old May 24th, 2011, 02:32 PM   #5
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Re: building a lower third

OK, I think I can confirm that the gradient tool won't work on a vector graphic. Have to rasterize first. Destructive editing... gotta love it.

But even if I Layer...Rasterize...Shape, I still have the problem. The gradient tool still takes me from color to white, instead of color to transparent, which is what it's supposed to do. And it doesn't matter whether it's saved in the *.psd or *.png file format.

Argh...
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Old May 24th, 2011, 03:37 PM   #6
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Re: building a lower third

Just an idea how to make a gradient in the Titler.
Attached Thumbnails
building a lower third-gradient.png  
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Old May 24th, 2011, 04:02 PM   #7
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Re: building a lower third

I think you're complicating it and that is causing your problem.
(1) make a new file the size of your video image, say 1920x1080. Transparent background.
(2) On the transparent background, draw a selection box the size, shape and position you want your banner.
(3) Select the color you want to use and make it the default color.
(4) With the gradient tool, in normal mode, not overlay or anything else, select a tool option that goes from opaque to transparent. You can click on this and adjust the amount of the gradient left to right. Draw a selection line left to right. The box will fill with your color.
(5) Save as .png file, import into PPro, set this on the video track above your video. Using Title tool, add your type to the banner. Or, as Ann suggests, do the whole thing in titler, although the Photoshop thing is easy.

If I have interpereted what you want, it should look something like the sample attached. I think your using overlay mode and such is part of the problem. Just draw the box on a transparent background, fill it with the gradient tool, and save it. In your steps, you drew a box and filled it and then overlaid with the gradient tool? Not sure what that would accomplish, but might be part of the problem. The gradient tool does it's own thing, doesn't need to overlay or screen over something else to effect a solid to transparent fill. Or am I missing something other that you wanted to accomplish?
Attached Thumbnails
building a lower third-l3rdbox.jpg   building a lower third-hdvlowertrd.png  

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Old May 24th, 2011, 04:15 PM   #8
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Re: building a lower third

Quote:
Originally Posted by Battle Vaughan View Post
I think you're complicating it and that is causing your problem.
(1) make a new file the size of your video image, say 1920x1080. Transparent background.
(2) On the transparent background, draw a selection box the size, shape and position you want your banner.
(3) Select the color you want to use and make it the default color.
(4) With the gradient tool, in normal mode, not overlay or anything else, select a tool option that goes from opaque to transparent. You can click on this and adjust the amount of the gradient left to right. Draw a selection line left to right. The box will fill with your color.
(5) Save as .png file, import into PPro, set this on the video track above your video. Using Title tool, add your type to the banner. Or, as Ann suggests, do the whole thing in titler, although the Photoshop thing is easy.

If I have interpereted what you want, it should look something like the sample attached. I think your using overlay mode and such is part of the problem. Just draw the box on a transparent background, fill it with the gradient tool, and save it. In your steps, you drew a box and filled it and then overlaid with the gradient tool? Not sure what that would accomplish, but might be part of the problem. The gradient tool does it's own thing, doesn't need to overlay or screen over something else to effect a solid to transparent fill. Or am I missing something other that you wanted to accomplish?
Yes, this works.

But it doesn't leave me with an editable shape. That's my ulterior motive for wanting to do this with a shape created with the shape tool. So I can come back and edit the shape as required.
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Old May 24th, 2011, 04:52 PM   #9
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Re: building a lower third

OK, the edit-able shape thing -- you can size the banner larger or smaller in PPro by clicking on it in the program window and dragging the box taller or shorter or wider or whatever...if that's what you are after. If you make the box in Titler, as Ann suggests, save the title and you can just open it and re-size the box if you need to....
Attached Thumbnails
building a lower third-shape.jpg  

Last edited by Battle Vaughan; May 24th, 2011 at 05:00 PM. Reason: addendum
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Old May 25th, 2011, 03:29 AM   #10
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Re: building a lower third

You can also use Illustrator to do it, if you don't want titler.
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Old May 25th, 2011, 05:47 PM   #11
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Re: building a lower third

Got it! I knew it was something entirely simple, and it is. My problem came from the default of creating a shape already filled with a color. When you then overlay it with a gradient, where the gradient is opaque, what you see in the layer stack is white.

The solution is simple, once you know it. It was finding it that was a PITA. All you have to do is click on the shape layer, then go to Layer Styles pop-up. Once there, double click on Styles (top left) and get the drop down for all the shape styles. Pick the "empty" version, second from last on bottom row.

Then, THEN, you can apply a gradient overlay, and since you'll be overlaying a transparent shape, all you'll see is the overlay. In this case, the gradient. So when one end goes transparent, that's what you'll see.

That was painful to find. Bet I don't forget it any time soon either. ;-)
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Old May 28th, 2011, 02:54 PM   #12
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Re: building a lower third

See message #7....
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Old May 29th, 2011, 10:17 AM   #13
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Re: building a lower third

Quote:
Originally Posted by Battle Vaughan View Post
See message #7....
I did read #7; it didn't meet my requirements as I said in message #8.

Later I found what for me is a better solution, as described in message #11. That said, there are clearly a number of ways to do this in Photoshop. That flexibility is both the joy, and the agony, of Photoshop, at least for me.
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