Fancy subtitles in video sequence editor

I know how to do plain subtitles with the alpha-over effect. What I would rather have is an alpha that changes at the beginning and end of the subtitle strip, so that the subtitles fade in and fade back out. I hope you understand this description.

I see that the usual method of fading (cross effect) uses the color generator, which is an opaque color and this blocks the background layer of the resulting image.

Is there another method to get what I want?

I usually generate my titles (either still image, image sequence or movie) using the Compositor to effect any fades in and out. You can use Mix, Alpha Over and many other nodes either alone or in combination to put the titles over the main action.

Example: Monster Movie

BTW, if using a movie (.avi) for your main action, I recommend Raw AVI format for your VSE/Compositor elements, saving any compression for the final output.

Have you tried adjust the alpha using the IPO editor. You can control click anywhere to start. This creates a horizontal line. Then you can click another position to make a curve. You then just edit the curve as you see fit.

chipmasque, I think I understand the principle of using composite nodes in the VSE, but this is something I have never done before, nor have I seen it done, so a tutorial is necessary. Can you point me to a tut, or a .blend file to study?

ropsta, your reply doesn’t sound like capabilities available in the VSE. Am I confused?

I sorta worked it out on my own, but I’ll see what I can put together. The Compositor is extremely versatile and somewhat complex, so don’t expect to learn it all from one tut, but maybe I can give you a starting point. Take a little while, though.

chipmasque, thanks for the help. Here is what I’ve done so far:

Channel 1 is the main title at the front, channel 4 is the animation strip, and channel 6 has the five subtitle strips.

Hope this clarifies the direction that I am headed.

Id upload a video if my site allowed hot linking. Notice how it fades.

Is this what you want :wink:

So, you selected the alpha-over strip, and then created a material IPO for it?

OK. I just tried it and it works. That is what I want. Thank you, ropsta. I’ll read up on what the meaning is for this kind of IPO: “FAC”.

chipmasque, I am still interested in compositing nodes in the VSE.

FAC = Factor, afaik. The “factor” means how much the Alpha Over effect is applied. The value on the IPO curve ranges from zero (no effect) to 1.0 (100% effect). You can add points to and shape the curve for lots of versatility.

I’m still working on some example .blends for simple titling tricks using the Compositor & the Compositor + the VSE.

When you say compositor you mean node editor?

How do you get them to play together?


notice the IPO says “sequence” and not “material.” You can change it, depending on what you want to work on.

Yep. But the Node Editor can also be used for Materials so I make a distinction by calling it the Compositor.

By adding a “Scene” element to the VSE and enabling “Do Composite” you can bring the Compositor output into the VSE. It’s perhaps not as efficient as using the Compositor alone but each has some capabilities that can compliment one another.

Another option is to use the Compositor “standalone” to output an effects sequence that you then bring into the VSE. It all depends on the type of effect you want. For basic titles and such the VSE/IPO process you described is simplest, but when you bring in the Compositor a wider range of effects possibilities opens up.

Yeah, now I’m curious as to what sort of things you actually do with this. Know of any tutorials?

'nother example: All the transitions (cross fades mostly) and the text overlay in the later clips from this montage video were done with the Compositor, as was the final scene composition, where three different Scenes were assembled to form the three rows of rotating objects, each Scene using a common camera and the objects having IPO curves that were essentially identical except for timing.

The “clapper board” titles (using 2D art) and step-frame “motion trail” effect done in this clip from Kata were also done in the Compositor.

The Compositor’s also great for setting up Render Layers to do things that can’t be done with a straight “direct” rendering of a scene.

Sorry, no, I basically just played around with the Compositor and came up with some ways to do the effects and/or titles I wanted.

Okay I tried to play with it a little bit, and I can see what you are talking about now. Thing seem to move incredibly slow for some reason, though.

Any idea how to input noise in the ipo editor?

Yeah, playback is not realtime by means, because of the node processing that has to be done. The VSE is better in that regard but is also subject to playback hitches. For both I usually end up doing a fair amount of trial rendering.

If by “noise” you mean random variations in period and amplitude of the IPO curve waveforms, no, though it could probably be scripted. I wanted to do something similar for a ghost effect I was working out but never found an efficient way, just ended up jiggling the curves manually. “Tedious, very tedious.”

Ahhh. Yeah, that’s what I was talking about. I was getting kinda annoyed by having to mouse out the variations. Thought I might have been missing an easier way.


Awrighty, sorry about the tardiness, I had a few other things to do first but now here’s a small zip archive with the art and .blend used to produce this little titling demo.

Nothing spectacular, just a few basic techniques, maybe a good primer if you haven’t yet gotten to know the compositing side of the Node Editor (i.e., “the Compositor”).

chipmasque, apology accepted, and loads of gratitude. This is excellent. I will study your blend file in great detail. And, I hope lots of users also review this.

Simply great!
This is asking for a tutorial :wink:
If you’ll manage to find some time, by all means write a tut! Would be very appreciated by compositor noobs interested in video effects (like me).


Thanks, Dimka. Unfortunately I just don’t have the time to do a tutorial right now, but the important info can be found by studying the .blend and its node setups. The Compositor is vastly more complex in capabilities than what is shown there, but it does present the basics – Input nodes, Color nodes, Output nodes, and some simple tricks using the Blur, Translate and Math nodes. How to string all this stuff together is the fundamental thing to learn, and the .blend shows this better than my words could explain.

If you have any specific questions about the nodes setup, just ask!