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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, from the PhotoJoseph 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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how can i detect translucent graphics with a green background without any mess ... OBS does not recognize translucent things on green screen very well, i want to get my graphics from a power point presentation with a green background, how do i do that .... can you help .... zebra zong made a video (full review of atem mini pro) in that the translucent shape with a green background, and the chroma key detected it perfectly
is there a corresponding mode for video in premiere?
Thank you so much, Joseph. I have been addicted to your ATEM mini videos lately. We recently got one for producing our church service live stream. It has been tasked to me to figure it all out and get it working. I have had so much fun and learned so much from your videos as well as those from a couple other select YouTube channels.
Aw thanks man, that’s very kind of you to say!
Hello Joseph, I'd like to know if its possible to add a blur layer on the video so the people on the video are not recognizable?
Thanks for reaching out directly
I just found out you can also do this via command line using ImageMagick. Use this command: magick convert in.png -write mpr:image -background black -alpha Remove mpr:image -compose Copy_Opacity -composite out.png
I shall test this, thanks!
Amazing! Thanks for sharing!!
glad it was helpful, Wagner!
hello PhotoJoseph, could you explain, how to do this in Photosop Elements 2022? The "Select" / Selection from Layer" is not the same in PSE and the creation of the mask with this selection is somehow different in PSE. Thanks, Uwe
I can’t, sorry. I’m not an Elements user.
Hi there. I’m trying to create an alpha channel for use with a presentation app called proclaim for my church.

Is there a tutorial or link to accomplish creating the alpha without the use of atem plugin in photoshop?
@PhotoJoseph joined discord. Hoping to connect and ask a few more specific questions. Thanks sir.
@David Goldschmidt you’re “stoochy”? You don’t have permission yet… you can actually help me. I’m trying to get to the root of some thing. Did you connect to discord on a phone, and not on desktop? If so, please login via desktop. If my theory is right, that will grant you the access. Once you’re in, you’re in. But there is a desktop connection that apparently has to be made.
@PhotoJoseph yup. ThAts me. It was a phone. I’ll do the desktop in the morning. Thanks for the tip
@David Goldschmidt great, hopefully that works. If you don’t have access after that please DM me on Twitter @photojoseph
@PhotoJoseph will do
THIS IS BEASTLY!!! Great work PhotoJoseph!! Many thanks for such a great lesson. You basically solved one of my lingering issues with the ATEM Mini switchers!
Genius! Thanks so much
Hi! How to use the Photoshop plugin if I only connect my ATEM with USB cable without ethernet cable? Otherwise how to create the Pre-Multiplied file within Photoshop since Affinity is also a paid software. Thanks!
Great question! I haven’t tried but I’d guess that you have to have the ATEM on a network since the plug-in wants an IP address. However while connected over usb, Check the ATEM setup app to see if it has a self assigned ip address and see if the Photoshop plugin can find it over usb. I’m going to assume no but it’s worth a try. You could build a mini network direct connecting the computer and ATEM over Ethernet too. Finally to do the pre-multiplied graphics just follow the same steps as Affinity; same features are in PS. This is a great topic to bring to our discord. Join the channel and join the Discord!
My photoshop doesn't show the direct atem export option. Does anyone has the same problem? I've just downloaded Photoshop so it's definitely the latest and updated to the latest ATEM control software. It didn't show up so I uninstalled both apps and reinstall again with Photoshop first then ATEM. The plugin seems to be in the folder but Photoshop isn't showing it.
Are you on an M1 Mac, by chance? If so, the reason it’s not showing up is because the plug-in has not been written for Apple Silicon yet. The only workaround is to launch Photoshop in Rosetta mode. It becomes super slow, but it works. In the meantime, please please please contact blackmagic support and demand that they upgrade this plug-in. It hasn’t been touched in years and it needs updating. They need to hear from their customers!
@PhotoJoseph oh no, i'm on an older model, 2015.
@Plug + Play Productions that’s odd. I don’t know the answer then… you’ll need to reach out to tech support
We produce live streams of high school sports. We used to have a Tricaster Mini (until it died) and it was easy to update a score while we recording due to the built-in software. It looks like the ATEM software here does not allow that. I've found a way to update a graphic using Preview (of all apps) but it still requires a LOT more steps than the Tricaster software did. What is the best practices workflow to do this with the ATEM software? There's got to be a simpler way to do this. Bare in mind, this is for high school students to operate, not professionals.
Hi Winston. It’s not built in as you’ve discovered, so that means your options are either to continuously update static graphics (not ideal as you’ve found) or use a third party solution. That solution could inject a graphic overlay on output, or could be one of the source inputs. If an input, since you’d need to have the score not take the whole screen, you can either have something that fits in a simple rectangle and is crop-able, or have something that’s more “fancy” and is either keyed (eg blue screen that’s keyed out) or delivered as vide+Alpha which would require using two of your inputs.

With all this in mind you can make a homemade solution or find software like this, which I have no experience with but showed up at the top of a google search:
Your audio is out of sync. I can't keep watching! :p
had a weird render issue. But you know, most of this video is not me on screen… I'm sure you can manage ;-)
my atem mini shows flickering or glitch or signal lost some time - any possible solution
Not enough info to troubleshoot but start with cables. Could be a bad hdmi cable somewhere
@PhotoJoseph thanks for replying. but i checked all cables , these are properly functionated
That's very nice. I need to practice that.
It’s a great technique; just takes time!
can you do a video how to overlay lyrics live video using media within atem mini
Lyrics that are pre-known (like song lyrics), or captions? What use case?
@PhotoJoseph hi joseph im trying to learn how to stream our church service song lyrics ,scriptures over live video. i have atem mini software control and obs. i have scriptures in powerpoint. your tutorials are terrific. LEON
Is this a common way to have the lyrics; in a PowerPoint? I’ve seen software that does this, but is your method common?
I have a transparent PNG loaded into ATEM with pre-multiplied checked, but it shows a white background. Any idea what could cause that?
I am facing the same problem. I can use the plugin but I want to learn how to do it without it and none of the steps I have tried really works. May a quick tip showing how to do it in Photoshop 2021 CC (v22.5.1 or higher) will help poor souls who want to learn but the plugin is doing. Also does anyone know where is the plugin file located on the MAC? I tried searching for JSX files on my MAC and did not see anything starting with ATEM name.
Jake — does the PNG open in Finder with transparency? Sounds like you just have a white background.

Amit — same question but also are you following the exact steps in here? 9/10 if it isn’t working, folks missed a step.
@PhotoJoseph it opens in Finder with transparency, yes. I have a lot of photoshop experience. The only other thing I can think to add is that the macbook running the ATEM is refurbished.
I don't understand what's going on here.

Does the Atem mini not respect the Alpha Channel in a png?
It sees the alpha, but it wants a different type of alpha — the premulitplied kind.
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 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.
@PhotoJoseph Four months later and I just double-checked: The M1 version of Photoshop still exports PNG transparency incorrectly. Intel plugin for ATEM switcher doesn't work. So it's Rosetta for now still!
So, I was experiencing the same issue when where the transparency around the graphics would be fine and have correct transparency with gradients. But everything right outside of those collections of elements would be solid white.

Here's the workaround I figured out.

Do all of the steps in the video but before you export, select the pre multiplied mask (not the graphic) select the brush tool, make your brush 1px is size, and add a pixel in the corners that put opposite from your graphic. (So if your lower third is coming off of the page on the left side but doesn't go to the bottom or top, you need to add a pixel in the top and bottom of the right side of the canvas.

I hope that makes sense. If not, I'll try and make a video explaining this better.
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?
@PhotoJoseph This would be very helpful. I will try the steps you mentioned when using Gimp, since I also use it & see if I can get any proper results. I'm trying to create a semi transparent logo (bug) & even though the PNG does display properly when opening it in Preview after it was exported, it does not show any transparency when it's loaded into the Atem Media player.
@Hanroux Lamprecht Duplicate your layer in Gimp and place a full black layer on bottom. Right click the middle layer and click merge down. Click the bottom layer and go to Layer > Transparency > Alpha to Selection. Right click your bottom layer and choose Add Mask, and choose Initialize Mask to Selection. Delete the top layer, and you're done!
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.
Copy/pasting this from another comment I left for the other person asking this same thing. Open your image in Gimp, duplicate your layer and place a full black layer on bottom. Right click the middle layer and click merge down. Click the bottom layer and go to Layer > Transparency > Alpha to Selection. Right click your bottom layer and choose Add Mask, and choose Initialize Mask to Selection. Delete the top layer, and you're done!
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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