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Making a Logo Transparent Using Sony Vegas

You could do it in an image editing application, but why? By Jeffrey P. Fisher

One powerful reason to choose Sony Vegas as your NLE is how its myriad of tools let you to accomplish so many tasks directly inside the program. Id say that 90% of the time there is no need to employ other software.

For example, a client gives you their logo graphic to place in a video project. Unfortunately, this logo has a white background instead of a transparent one and youd like to key it over video. But the white is in the way.

Sure, you could open the graphic in a photo editing program and turn the white into a transparent alpha. But that means more software to buy and learn when you already have the tools you need right inside Sony Vegas. Heres how to do it.

Place the logo with its white background on a track above the video into which you will key or composite it. Navigate to the Video FX tab, find the Chroma Keyer plug-in, and drag and drop any of the Presets to the logo video event.

Temporarily solo the logo track by clicking its exclamation point button (!) and also bypass the Chroma Keyer plug-in by unchecking the box adjacent to its name. Select the eyedropper tool which lets you pick a color from the screen. Draw out a box in the Video Preview, being careful to select only the white color.

After picking the correct shade of white, enable the Chroma Keyer plug-in once again. Immediately the white should disappear. If there are artifacts, enable the Show mask only checkbox and then use the Low threshold and High threshold sliders to make a pure black and white mask. Uncheck the Show mask only box when completed

Unsolo the logo track and see the results of your hard work as a clean composite. Resize the logo using Track Motion. Click the Track Motion button on the logo tracks header. In the dialog box that displays, drag a corner of the box to resize and the whole box to reposition. You can also add 2D Shadow or 2D Glow here by checking the appropriate box and adjusting the parameters to taste.

Some logos dont work out so well as this example. They may suffer from the ?jaggies when keyed this way. For those instances, take these extra steps. After pulling the key as suggested above, duplicate the logo track by right-clicking in its Track Header and choosing Duplicate Track from the pop-up menu.

Delete the Chroma Keyer effect on the bottom, duplicated track only. Right-click the Event FX button and choose Delete all from the menu.

Reopen the original logos Event FX by clicking its button. Enable the Show mask only checkbox in the Chroma Keyer dialog box and leave it checked.

Locate the Video FX Gaussian blur plug-in and drag it to the open dialog box after the Chroma keyer plug-in. Tweak the blur sliders to minimize any jaggies. Use only a little and perhaps only in one direction. Hold Ctrl while you move the slider for finer control over the values. Close the dialog when finished.

Enable the Multiply (Mask) compositing mode on the top logo track only. The color logo will once again show through the black and white mask created with the Chroma Keyer effect. The edges will blur slightly to hide any nastiness, too.

Make the duplicate logo track a Child to the masks Parent by clicking its Make Compositing Child button. That gives you a complete composite with smoother edges and lets the background video show through. Continue to tweak the Gaussian Blur settings if further adjustments are necessary.

Use Parent Motion this time to resize and reposition the composite as a whole for the final look.

Use these techniques to build logo composites that your clients will love. And you wont need to use anything other than Vegas to accomplish this magic, either.

Special thanks to Artbeat (www.artbeats.com) for the use of their logo and stock footage for this tutorial.

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Jeffrey P. Fisher is a Sony Vegas Certified Trainer and he co-hosts the Sony Acid, Sony Sound Forge, and Sony Vegas forums on Digital Media Net (www.dmnforums.com). For more information visit his Web site at www.jeffreypfisher.com or contact him at [email protected].

Related Keywords:NLE. video editing, logo transparency,


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