… for Visual Effects

Tip #335: Remove Black Backgrounds & Blend Clips

Blend modes are a great way to combine effects.

Smoke swirling over a fire. Both are effects and both use the Screen blend mode.

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While many effects, such as those from HitFilm or Red Giant, include a transparent background, called the “Alpha Channel,” other effects don’t.

If you need to remove a black background when adding light-based effects, such as smoke, fire, gun flashes, and sparks, add the effect on top of the video as desired, and then apply the Screen blend mode.

This trick also works when applying light leaks from companies such as Light Leak Love and Rampant Design Tools.

NOTE: Be careful using the Add blend mode. While OK for web work, this creates white levels that exceed broadcast, cable and digital theater specs. I recommend against using it.


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