Text with transparent background for movie titles, credits, etc.

I can create and animate text in Blender so I can control extrude, bevel, animate along paths, control materials and all the rest, but so far I have to render the animation as a series of PNG images to preserve the alpha channel (RGBA). I don’t see the RGBA option for any of the movie formats (.H264, AVI etc.) to be able to render the animation directly to a movie, but only to the PNG images. Once I render the PNG sequence, I can import it into the VSE as a movie and lay the text over a video that I’ve recorded with my camera, so I do get the desired result. But is there a way to render the animated text DIRECTLY to a movie format, rather than having to render it to a PNG series? It seems to take a long time to render the text this way, and then having to bring it into the VSE afterwards.

It seems to take a long time to render the text this way, and then having to bring it into the VSE afterwards.
Rendering to a movie format is not going to be quicker then rendering to an image sequence

For a movie you will need to render to a format that supports an alpha channel such as quicktime animation codec or quicktime .png. Ensure to enable RGBA in the output settings to use the alpha channel

Thanks Richard. But I still don’t quite understand from your reply, would I still have to render the text animation (which I’ve created in the Blender 3D view, just as I would render other meshes, etc.) FIRST as a series of PNG images? I know that if I do that, then I can start up the VSE, bring in a movie from my camera (.avi, etc.) and then add the PNG sequence and have the animated text over my live movie with the transparent background. I guess what I was asking, is there a way to render the text directly to any movie format (container, codec, etc.) which would preserve the alpha channel, without first having to render the series of PNG images? I ask this because when I look at the render panel having chosen “Animation”, none of the movie formats have RGBa as an option. They only have BW or RGB as choices for the output.

Not sure why you’re not getting RGBA as an option – are you using Quicktime as your output?
For me (2.77a, OS X), I get the RGBA option even if I’m using a Codec that doesn’t allow for Alpha channels (which is a bit disconcerting if you don’t know which ones have Alpha channels – as Richard instructs, use Animation for Alpha; easy to remember):


Ok so I don’t have a good knowledge about codecs, containers and formats. I read some articles online to try to help me to understand, and I have a slightly better idea, but even the websites I visited have some confusion it seems. Anyway, I used PNG with RGBA and a Quicktime format, and it works. Thanks to all. I did figure out that the codec options change according to which container is selected, and along with those, the availability of the RGBA option may or may not be available. But for output selected as H.264, and Format set to Quicktime and encoding set to PNG, I can render a Blender-created animation (such as my text for a title, or any animated blender objects, etc.) and then add the resulting movie to a home movie video in the VSE. Then I can set it to alpha over and there is my animated text with transparent background over my video clip. I also discovered that a lot of other people ask for explanations and help about all this. But as long as I have one working solution, it’s OK.