Step 1: Access Document Presets in Photoshop CS3
Access the document presets by navigating to the Photoshop top menu and choosing File, then New. In the Preset field, click the arrows to reveal the preset options and choose Film and Video. Under the Film and Video option, you can now access document presets for NTSC, PAL, and HD video, complete with safe overlays and non-square pixel support. Non-square pixel documents let you build graphics for your video programs that match the correct frame size. In this exercise, I’m creating a 720 x 480 document to match my sequence in Final Cut Pro. In the size field, choose NTSC DV. Set the Background Contents to Transparent; this lets you key the image over your video. Give the document a name and click OK in the dialog box.
Step 2: Create Text for Your Network ID/Glass Bug
Select the Horizontal Type Tool in the Toolbox and click inside the document you created. A blinking cursor in the document tells you it’s ready for you to input type. Never get too wordy and always use the briefest version of the company logo or name you can. You don’t want the bug to take up too much onscreen real estate. My glass bug, shown here, will appear on a new network named WAX, which will showcase surfing events and the best surfing locations around the world. The checkerboard pattern in the document represents the area that will be transparent when you import the graphic into Final Cut Pro.
Step 3: Create a Bevel Effect for the Signature
After you’ve typed in your text, double-click on the layer in the Layers tab to open the Layer Style box. Click in the Bevel and Emboss category to activate it. In this case, I also chose to activate the Contour option, which will help the bug stand out a little more when I crank down the opacity in the next step.
Step 4: Make the Graphic Transparent
Within the Layer Style box, locate the Fill Opacity slider and slide it all the way to the left, bringing it down to 0 percent. Click OK. That’s it. Your bug is now ready to import into Final Cut Pro.
Step 5: Save the Graphic in Photoshop
In order to successfully import your glass bug, complete with effects and transparency, you’ve got to save the image in a format that can be recognized in Final Cut Pro. Go to File > Save and change the format to PNG. If you don’t save the graphic as a PNG file, Final Cut Pro won’t recognize the effect layers you built into the graphic. Give the file a name and click Save. The PNG Options box will open; choose OK.
Step 6: Import the Graphic into Final Cut Pro
Launch the Final Cut Pro project over which you want to key the graphic. Go to File > Import > Files and navigate to where you saved the graphic.
Step 7: Edit the Graphic into a Video Track
With the playhead at the beginning of the sequence clip, drag the imported file from the Bin to the Canvas window and drop it on top of the Superimpose overlay. This places the graphic over your clip in the timeline. If you need the graphic to last for a longer duration, simply pull the end of the clip to increase its duration and edit more instances of the clip into the timeline.
Step 8: Resize and Reposition the Network ID/Glass Bug in Final Cut Pro
Highlight the graphic clip in the timeline and turn on Image and Wireframe in the Canvas Controls to reposition and resize the graphic. You can do this by either dragging the graphic within the Canvas window or manipulating the overlay handles in its four corners.
Tools Used: Adobe Photoshop CS3 and Apple Final Cut Pro 6
Your Guide
Lonzell Watson
Lonzell is an Apple Certified Final Cut Pro Professional and Certified Avid Xpress Pro user. He is the author of Final Cut Pro 6 for Digital Video Editors Only and the soon-to-be-released Canon VIXIA High Definition Camcorder Digital Field Guide, both from Wiley Publishing, Inc. Lonzell began his career as a videographer and digital video specialist for the Web and later became a writer, director and producer. His work includes national spots and programs for PBS, Fox Sports, the Outdoor Channel, and C-SPAN, and video editing for pop superstar Mariah Carey. Lonzell is a syndicated content writer with hundreds of published tutorials that relate to Apple’s Final Cut Studio product line.
Lonzell Says Keep in Mind…
This is just one easy way to create a transparent version of your company’s signature or logo for importing into a Final Cut Pro project. If you plan to use square pixel elements in your Glass Bug (for example, stock images, scanned items or photos taken with a digital camera), simply drag or copy those elements into a non-square Photoshop document to customize them for use in your project. Always remember to use the title safe guidelines in Final Cut Pro and check your previews outside of Photoshop on a broadcast monitor for color accuracy, readability and interlace flicker.
Lonzell Watson