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Photoshop is an invaluable tool for video editor, and I've always been a big fan of teaching the Photoshop basics as it applies to video editing.  One basic Photoshop skill is the ability to cut out a company logo so it can be placed as a 'bug' or integrated within a video project to help brand a business.  You can read up on a Photoshop tutorial for creating a glass bug on how to actually do this.

For myself, I like to keep things simple.  I've always touted using the file format .png to when saving graphics for import to/from Avid Media Composer or Final Cut Pro.  This keeps things relatively simple, and you do not have to worry about merging layers or flattening the image for things to look right.  Of course, you still should save a .psd copy in case you decide to make changes to your original Photoshop file.

For simple things, you can cut your logo using Photoshop.  It's best to save the image with a .png (portable network graphics) extension.  That's it! 

However, there is one annoying element that may come into play when saving graphics that contain a transparent background.  When saving a selected image with Photoshop, the selected area overlaps with the transparent background.  This is translated as 'white' when it is brought into Avid Media Composer or Final Cut Pro.  This means you'll end up with a 1 pixel white edge around your image.  For simple things, you may never notice.  However, if you are a perfectionist, or if you graphic is keyed over a dark scene, it's quite noticeable and it looks poor.


Click the image for a closer look.

Here's an actual 'blown up' example of the GeniusDV logo imported into Avid Media Composer.  You can see hints of an edge that has come over from where the selection and the transparent background meet.  Again, this may not be noticeable in certain occasions, but this has grown into one of my pet peeves.


There are several ways to fix this, but I've always been hesitant to go into all the steps required to make things look just perfect.  That was until I discovered a relatively easy way using a Photoshop feature that I stumbled upon.  I'm not entirely sure when this feature was implemented, but it's included in Photoshop CS3, CS4.

To make my point, let's assume you've got a logo that you've scanned in from someone's business card, and it happens to be a on white (or solid) colored background.  You should be able to easily remove the background by using the 'magic eraser' tool located in the Photoshop tool palette.  Using the Magic Eraser tool may save you a step or two because you won't need to unlock the background layer in order to use it.  Just point and click on the background color that you want to remove! 


This example may be a bit simplistic, so you may have to implement other methods of cutting out your logo.  However, they idea here is to remove the background area so you can key your graphic or object.

Using the magic eraser tool, click on the background to remove its contents. The checkerobard area represents a transparent background or alpha channel.


After the background has been removed, it's as easy as saving your graphic with a .png file type extension. However, you'll still end up with a 1 pixel outlined edge of where the selection and the background meet.  Here's where the 'Refine Edge' function within Photoshop comes to the rescue!  To use this function you need to make sure your layer is selected and activated. 

To do this, highlight the layer in the layers tab, and control click on the layer.


*This step is very important, otherwise, you will not be able to select the Refine Edge function from the menu, it will be greyed out.  Again, it's important that both the layer is selected and that you see a selection 'dancing ants' around your layer.



Navigate to the Selection menu and choose Refine Edge. 


You can use the Refine Edge tool to basically eliminate that awful white edge by experimenting with the parameter sliders.  I 


I've found that adjusting the contrast value upwards provides for the best immediate results.  Adjusting the feather and and contract/expand controls will also help.  You can preview what your selection will look like with a Black background, White background, colored mask, or as a straight matte. 

As you can see, I was able removed the entire without sacrificing the edges of the logo.


The last step is to inverse the selection that is made from the Refine Edge tool.


After the selection has been inverted, press the delete key to remove the outside selection.  That's it!  You can now save the file with a .png extension.  You should now be able to bring your graphic into Avid Media Composer or Final Cut Pro without having to sacrifice the quality of your logo or graphic.


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Universal Mac Color Palette in Final Cut Studio was the previous entry in this blog.

Media Composer Windows XP install 3GB is the next entry in this blog.

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