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This ATEM (mini) Tips” series of short video tutorials for your Blackmagic ATEM hardware includes tips for all users, from beginner to advanced. Scroll down to see more in the series!

This is a collection of all PhotoJoseph LIVE shows, now featured on the PhotoJoseph LIVE YouTube channel. Additional episodes are listed below!

Photoshop not required! Titles, Lower Thirds Graphics

Photo Moment - March 20, 2021

In tip 004, I showed you how to create accurate, transparent Title and Lower Thirds graphics with drop shadows and gradients for your ATEM Mini, ATEM Mini Pro, ATEM Mini Pro ISO, or any other ATEM switcher, using Photoshop. But I know a lot of people don't have or want to use Photoshop! So in this tip, I show you what type of graphics have to be created (pre-multiplied alpha is the key!), and how to make them with any app. I use Affinity Photo, but any app that can create a PNG should work!

Need an ATEM Mini?

What this tip is about…

The first step I do in this video is showing you what a pre-multiplied alpha graphic looks like. It's weird… in a PNG you expect things to fade to transparency. But in a premultiplied alpha image, the fade includes black! Basically, you're looking at a fade to black with a alpha fade on top of it. Howe do we know this? I show you how to extract one of the Photoshop generated accurate files from the ATEM so you can see what they are supposed to look like, then I show you how to do it without photoshop!

Here's the process…

First, generate your graphic with all the fades, glows, shadows, transparencies and so on that you want. Have fun; there's no limits here. Group all of that together, and duplicate the group. Disable that duped group; you'll need it later.

Second, place a solid black layer behind your group, and merge or flatten them so your graphic is now rendered against black.

Third, load the selection from that duplicated, hidden group. That means you'll see the marching ants on screen representing the selection from the hidden layer.

Finally, create a mask on the flattened-black layer using the active selection. That's it!

You're now ready to export as a PNG, which will have that pre-multiplied render on it, and it will look perfect in the ATEM software! (Just don't forget to enable “Pre Multiplied Key” in the ATEM Software).

📄 Full Video Transcript


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I don't understand what's going on here.

Does the Atem mini not respect the Alpha Channel in a png?
Spent a long time looking for a good explanation of how the plugin does this. Specifically because Photoshop 2021 stopped loading the ATEM plugin on my system for some reason, despite a reinstall of the ATEM software. Thanks so much!
@PhotoJoseph Even the PNG exported from Preview doesn't look right after following these steps precisely. Slightly better perhaps, but still not right. Unchecking "Pre Multiplied Key" and adjusting the slider yields a result closer to the original in PS/Preview than as a DSK with Pre-Multiplied checked. I suspect that there's something fundamentally wrong with the Photoshop PNGs at this point, or with the ATEM software.
@Chris Burt (Duositex) that’s odd; when I did the export from Preview it worked perfectly. Hmm
@PhotoJoseph I’m going to try a few other tools and I’ll report back. There has to be an easy way to do this without the plug-in, which I still can’t get working for some reason.
Try Affinity Photo?
@PhotoJoseph I've discovered two things: 1) GIMP seems to work fine for these purposes.2) The ATEM media pool plugin loads in Photoshop only when you force it to open using Rosetta. The native M1 silicon version has a known issue where plugins don't work, and the media pool plugin is no exception. 3) Transparency from PNGs in Photoshop in both Rosetta and native M1 is somehow incorrect.
hey there Joseph. Really good that you're helping understand what the premultiplied alpha images need to be. BUT: can you please show us how to do it using GIMP (latest version)? Affinity Photo is also payware. GIMP is not (and, it's very multi-platform).
That’s the second request for GIMP. I’ll look into it although you should be able to suss it out from these instructions, no?
I think I would never have figured that out :-)
@PhotoJoseph I forgot the NEVER ;-)
Hahaha it’s ok, I took the first comment as sarcasm anyway LOL
Thank you so much for showing how to do this in Affinity. Super helpful!
Great video. Thank you for going over it two times. Not sure if it was my phone but it seems that the video was out of sync.
Thanks… and yeah… I really don’t want to talk about sync with this video. Let’s just say I’m having ISSUES with the SOFTWARE. 🤯🤯🤯
Is it possible to do animated overlays simply on ATEM?
Not on ATEM Mini / Pro / ISO. I don’t actually know if the Extreme has a sequence store. My 2 M/E has one but it’s quite limited. Meaning I can do animations, but only small ones.
Not sure if I understood everything. 🤪 But, I‘ll give it a try... Thank you for sharing this
Hehe yeah it’s weird… but you don’t need to understand; just follow the steps!😁
In Affinity Photo there's a much, much easier way: Filter -> Color -> Multiply by Alpha
@PhotoJoseph The problem with RGBA PNG is that it's straight alpha by format definition, but the ATEM requires all images in the media pool to be pre multiplied by alpha thus violating the PNG format specification. That's why PNG files that work on the ATEM look wrong or "faded to black" everywhere else. You have to multiply the image by alpha before exporting it to create the non-standard ATEM PNG. I just recorded a short video to show you how it's done easily in Affinity Photo. For the theory behind alpha compositing and straight vs. premultiplied alpha, have a look at the Wikipedia article:
I just tried this and it does nothing like what I’m demonstrated. Please reply with a step by step of when and where to use this, and what the result should be. Thanks.
@PhotoJoseph I demonstrated my workflow to create lower thirds and any other overlay graphic I use in the the ATEM's downstream keyer. I start off with an empty canvas with transparent background. Then I create whatever I like. As a last step i combine all layers to a single pixel layer, hide all other layers and multiply by alpha. This creates a premultiplied pixel graphic with transparency that resembles the non-standard ATEM graphic format when exported as PNG.
@PhotoJoseph Hi again, PhotoJoseph. Seems my reply comment with a link to a YouTube video I recorded to show you the process has been hidden by YouTube because it contains a link. Could you check in the comment review section of YouTube Studio?
Ah thanks, that’s been approved now. And now I see it! Amazing. I hadn’t converted to pixels first, so that’s why I didn’t get any result. OK this is fantastic. I’m going to do a few videos on how to do this with specific apps, so I will absolutely include this. Amazing, thank you!!
OMG! I was having this exact problem with Pixelmator Pro... so I stopped making the drop shadow and gradient look and just made basic graphics.... but, bam.... you drop this... perfect. Thanks! .
Tried also with Pixelmator Pro and failed. The Text with shadow looks good, but not the retangle with shadow and alpha gradient like the one in the video. The selection by layher (edit > selection load, then CMD + left click on layher) does only select a part of the retangle, so the mask also doesn't work at this point. I also tried method 2 from this tip and the retangle also looks weird after import in BM Control. Maybe, you can help me here. Thanks in advance...
@photojoseph can you do a video on getting an after effects overlay w/ alpha channel to play correctly through a hyper deck?
Sure. You know it requires dual SDI right? Image + alpha?
@PhotoJoseph yessir - I’m running a hyperdeck studio pro with dual sdi for key and fill - my issue is I have other clips on the ssd for pre-roll packages that work fine, but I can’t seem to have the right export criteria in either after effect or premier that shows the overlay correctly

The one time I got it to even ‘play’ it was faded and adjusting pre-multiplied key didn’t help:/
Got it. Ok I’ll figure it out. I’ve only done dual SDI playback through software and a dual link interface (UktraStudio 4K) so I’ll have to sort this out! If you’re in a hurry, have you posted in the BMD forums?
@PhotoJoseph I’ve search the forums, but haven’t posted. Normally it’s usually on YouTube by you LOL
@Ryan Harper haha sorry to disappoint this time!
Thanks for sharing all your knowledge, save us a lot of time
Glad you’re learning from them!
Noice! 11/10
haha thanks!
i switched to affinity photo as well! Davinci resolve has also been a great switch as well
I really like Affinty Photo. I have photoshop because it's part of my Lightroom subscription, but AP is so good for layout and graphics work!
Any chance of an example of doing this with GIMP? I've done very little graphic processing and all those layers were getting me confused so a simple step by step for the software I have would be helpful.
I’ve never used GIMP. I’m sure there’s tutorials on making masks out there though.
Hi, you keep going back to the software control panel. Could you do a tip in the "FILE" settings. Seems that ATEM has 3 layers to its operating process. 1) what is operating on the hardware, 2) the firmware and 3) the control panel software. Not clear on how these 3 areas interrelate. Could I export from software to hardware , what I'll call show settings and them take just the ATEM hardware on location, or something like that.
Interesting. I like it. I have added to my list a video to do an overview of the hardware vs two software layers. I think it makes a lot of sense. Those of us that have used it make assumptions that we forget are not obvious! Thanks :-)
Thanks for the how to...your explanations are 1st rate and am able to implement them immedialely
Glad to help!
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