Universe

Alpha Channels and Resolve

With Black Magic's Davinci Resolve, you'll need to follow a specific workflow when working with Universe text effects (or any effects that utilize alpha channels). For the purpose of this guide, you'll need to know the basics of Resolve, keying, and that an Alpha channel is essentially transparency information, separate from RGB channels.


Step by Step

To start, you'll need your Resolve text video layer above your footage's video layer, positioned within the frame where you'd like it to be.

  • Convert your text into a compound clip.
  • Bring that newly-created compound clip into the Color tab of Resolve.
  • Decouple the first node from the output. 
  • Add a new Corrector node.
  • Feed the Corrector node the alpha and RGB inputs from the first node.
  • Apply whichever effect text effect you'd like to use onto the first node.
    • For Universe Text effects, make sure to toggle its 'Unmult' option within the Effect Controls.
  • Option A: Keying the Effect:
    This is best suited for text effects that have solid outputs like Long Shadow or Luster. Avoid using this with effects that have gradients like Glo Fi II or Holomatrix, otherwise you will have large black/dark areas around where the gradient meets what should be a transparent background.
    • Key out the text from its background in the Corrector Node.
      1. Select the Corrector Node
      2. Select the eye-dropper section 
      3. Pick the eye-dropper tool
      4. Select the text
      5. Flip the key
      6. Head into the Keyer section to adjust the Key Input so that everything but your text and its effect are stenciled out.
  • Option B: Unmult the Effect
    Use for effects that have gradient outputs over what should be a transparent background. Note that this method can result in some additional, unwanted transparency within the effect, which is unfortunately a byproduct of how alpha channels are created and output through the host.
    • Add Universe Unmult to the Corrector Node
      1. Select the Corrector Node
      2. Add Universe unmult to the Corrector node.
  • Add an Alpha Output node.
  • Feed the Corrector node to the RGB and Alpha output nodes.
  • Right-click in the Node interface and select Use OFX Alpha

Comparison

keyexample
Since Unmult turns everything black and near-black transparent, this can mean darker colors show some transparency if it's used on a solid effect.
unmultexample
On the flip side, since Keying strictly turns only black (or whatever color you've selected) transparent, it can output less than optimal results.