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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Default Hello and a question about export AVI transparency

    Hello. I've just joined this forum. I am an enthusiastic graphic novice and I have owned and enjoyed many versions of XARA. Currently on Photo & Graphic Designer 7. I mainly use Xara for simple web / presentation graphics and particularly for titling or various stills required in my video production business.

    I recently wanted to make a (Xara project) animation that would work as a video overlay that emulated the viewfinder of a camcorder. Very simple, only needed 2 still images (i.e 2 frames in the animation), as I needed the little red dot in the corner to flash as it does to indicate "record" in a camcorder.

    No problem in building he images/ animation, however, I needed a transparent background (as this was a video overlay). I selected to export the animation as an AVI and I made sure that I checked the "make background transparent" radio button in the "export animation" settings. Unfortunately, the result was an AVI that had an opaque black background. (I managed to use this as I imported it into my video software and then keyed out the black, but this is not ideal).

    If anyone can follow my ramblings above and has a few minutes spare, I would welcome any feedback as to whether this is reproduceable on other's system, as it has me stumped and I cannot see any remaining options that I should explore. I'm wondering if there is some problem with the codecs that are coming into play in exporting the AVI.

    Help would be appreciated - even if it is simply advising that I'm not going mad.

    Thanks.

    Duncan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
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    Red Boiling Springs TN USA
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    Default Re: Hello and a question about export AVI transparency

    Hello Duncan, welcome to TalkGraphics.

    Doing a search for avi in the Photo and Graphic Designer help brought up the following information.

    Make background transparent
    Selecting this option will make your AVI have a transparent background, which is useful if you want your animation to appear on top of a movie (for movie titling, for example).
    When this option is on, the codec list is reduced to show only the "uncompressed" option, because transparency can't currently be supported using a codec. If you export an uncompressed AVI with transparency, it will import into MAGIX movie editing software and some other movie editing applications with the transparency.
    Area to save
    Choose whether to save a movie that is the size of your animation page or the size of the animated drawing.
    Click OK to export the AVI animation.
    Soquili
    a.k.a. Bill Taylor
    Bill is no longer with us. He died on 10 Dec 2012. We remember him always.
    My TG Album
    Last XaReg update

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    London, UK
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    Default Re: Hello and a question about export AVI transparency

    Alternatively, export the two frames as PNG files with transparency (alpha) and then you'll have more flexibility and better alpha when used as an overlay.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
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    Surrey, BC, Canada
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    Default Re: Hello and a question about export AVI transparency

    Hi duncan,
    I am into video editing (home movies) an it is possible to accomplish what you want..but that would depend on the video editor capabilities..I use cyberlink Power Driector 10 and it has 99 tracks available for overlays. Just build your animation with a 'Green' background and if your video editor has chroma key mask out the green.
    Jim
    Intel i7-2600 processor 3.4GH, Windows 7 Premium 64Bit, 12GB Memory,Geforce 560ti 1Gb graphics card

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    3

    Default Re: Hello and a question about export AVI transparency

    Thank you to all. Soquili, I appreciate your info and fully understand how to set it up, however, my issue was after following the instructions, (as you have reproduced), my video is black (not transparent). Thanks Sadler, I think that your approach is how I will progress in future (I haven't tried running out .png image sequence from Xara, but from your response this is clearly a very possible approach - thanks. Scotty, appreciate your advice, yes, I'm using a very capable NLE (Vegas Pro 11, unlimited video tracks & audio and have been editing for some years on a semi-pro basis). Chroma key is certainly an option as well, however, it would be much simpler and more efficient if I can produce an AVI with transparency, given this should be an option straight from Xara. I'd be interested to hear if anyone can produce a transparent AVI, as this would indicate the problem is at my end, rather than a bug in Xara (I expect the former). I shall certainly be able to workaround with your suggestions, so it's not a showstopper, but I really appreciate you taking the time to respond.

    Many thanks,

    Duncan

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Hello and a question about export AVI transparency

    Duncan the Black is the Alpha transparency mask. The issue is the software you are using does not know how to process the mask so it shows the Black. As mentioned in the Xara help file uncompressed AVI with transparency files are not supported by many applications and is not supported by any codecs.

    Your best option is to use a Green Screen with a codec in Xara and Chroma Key in your video software.
    Last edited by Soquili; 27 April 2012 at 02:01 AM.
    Soquili
    a.k.a. Bill Taylor
    Bill is no longer with us. He died on 10 Dec 2012. We remember him always.
    My TG Album
    Last XaReg update

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Location
    London, UK
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    Default Re: Hello and a question about export AVI transparency

    Here's a quick video from Xara Designer that demonstrates that it CAN export with a proper alpha (but your NLE must support alpha) and I've included a chroma-key on green to show that this is not the best solution although it would work fine for 1 bit alpha (a la gif) but isn't any good for anything other than that. Here's the setup: star shape has graduated transparency and feather and the screen grab has flat transparency overlaid on the page with no objects except and partially overlapping the green box. Export animation uncompressed with transparency. Import into NLE, make three copies of video, put marble texture below, text labels above. The first copy is unmatted by default, the second has alpha set to 'straight' explicitly and the third has chroma-key on green applied.



    That error dialogue in the background is part of the demonstration but actually occurred while trying to export animation from xara.

    Despite the fact you have to use uncompressed video and that using the alpha channel can be a bit tricky, this is a powerful and underused feature of Xara Designer.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Default Re: Hello and a question about export AVI transparency

    Thanks Soqili.

    After playing around a little more, I arrived at the same decision as you have just confirmed. I imported the same (2 page) AVI animation (with transparency into a second (different ) video NLE and it imported fine - transparency worked fine. (NLE was from Serif). Unfortunately, I use the much more capable Sony Vegas Pro for editing and it fails to recognise the alpha channel. Will have to use Chroma keying for any future work requiring alpha. Thanks for responding correctly and quickly.

    Sadler, many thanks for your response, however, given that the NLE cannot recognise the alpha channel in the AVI generated by Xara, I'm left with no alternative than to use the chroma key (unless I can figure out how to export .png sequence as advised in the above thread - no immediately obvious, as no such option within the animation export menu within Xara.

    Thanks to all, Duncan

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    UK
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    Default Re: Hello and a question about export AVI transparency

    -----------------------------------------------------------
    on sabbatical 'til ver 11

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Hello and a question about export AVI transparency

    For Vegas, right click on the event in the timeline, choose properties, "media" tab, then set the Alpha Channel to straight.

 

 

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