Part of Lesson Plan: Basics of Video Titles
Activity Overview / Details
How to Make Lower Third Title in Photoshop
This tutorial can be found online at:
Sample templates are attached as the archive: Photoshop and TIFF Templates to practice custom titles with.
You can create your own lower third graphics using any image/graphics editor which supports layers and alpha channels (e.g. Adobe Photoshop). We will assume you are creating a lower-third template file to be used in a video editing application, although the same basic principles apply to live television as well.
Before we begin, it is important to understand the idea of video
Safe Areas and the terms
Action Safe and
Title Safe. Safe area is a term used in television
production to describe the areas of the television picture that can
be seen on television screens.
The title safe area is, in television broadcasting, a rectangular area which is far enough in from the four edges, such that text or graphics show neatly: with a margin and without distortion. This is applied against a worst case of on-screen location and display type. Typically corners would require more space from the edges, but due to increased quality of the average display this is no longer the concern it used to be, even on CRTs.
Depending on how a television set is adjusted, viewers can see a larger area than the title safe area. The Action Safe area is a larger rectangle, consisting of the green title safe area and a rectangle around it shown in yellow (see image below). Most television stations and networks will place information within this area. This area can be considered the "margin" of the television screen in that picture elements are generally kept out of this area to create a buffer around the edge of the screen so elements don't butt up against the edge of the screen.
In your image editor, create a new file with the same pixel dimensions as your video project, e.g. 720x480 for NTSC, 720x576 for PAL. Make sure the image is transparent, or can be made transparent when you save it. Photoshop provides presets when creating a new file. If you are in Premiere you can also create a new file by going to File > New > Photoshop File...
Once you have selected a preset video or film format, Photoshop will automatically display the safe areas for the composition.
The center rectangle, of course represents the title safe area whereas the outer rectangle represents the action safe area. Background images should extend (or bleed) beyond the outer edge of the composition area in order to fill the entire viewing screen
In this example we will create several new layers to produce the file shown below. On the left is the template file with the transparent area shown in checkers. On the right is the layers panel.
If possible, import a still image to represent the video you will be placing the graphics on. This will not be part of the finished product — it's just a guide to show you how it will look. Make sure this image is on a layer of it's own, then make that layer invisible when you have finished.
Create a new layer, then add/create graphics for the lower third background.
Create one or more layers for text. In most cases you won't save the text with the file — you are only creating these layers to see how the text will look. The idea is that the "real" text will be added later from within the editing program, (this is much more efficient).
If you can't add text from your video editor, you could save the text with this image file. Obviously this means a separate image file every time the text changes, rather than using the same background for all text. A better idea would be to save one file containing the background and separate files containing the text.
In the example above, The lower third graphics and the station ID are saved with the image file. The key and presenter layers are all invisible.
When you are happy, save the file and import it into your video editing application. Place the graphic in a video layer above the other clips(s) and set the alpha channel to transparent. If necessary, add appropriate text keys.
Note: If your image editor doesn't support alpha channels you might be able to use chroma keying instead.
Assignment: Students should now create their own video title using their graphic editor to create the title and any graphic elements. They can find inspiration for all kinds of title options at the following two links:
Here is a link to some HiDef clips that students can use as background material if they don't have their own video to use: http://www.mediacollege.com/downloads/video/hd/
Materials / Resource
- Titles For Fun [ Watch Video ] [ Download Original Video ] Just a fun little clip to get students fired up about what they can do with titles.
- Photoshop and TIFF Templates to practice custom titles with. [ Download ]
- Photoshop for Video Tips and Tricks [ Download ] This document describes some of the pitfalls to avoid when creating video titles and graphics in PhotoShop for use in your videos.