April 7, 2020

Render Transparent Nametags in After Effects | F.I.R.S.T. Quick Tips

Sometimes you’re working on a video in a program like Premiere, but need the compositing power of After Effects to get the job done. One of the most common workflows between these two programs is making a nametag, or lower third, in AE for use in your editing program. In this video, Gage teaches you how to render out a transparent lower third to import effortlessly into your final project.

The Problem

What stumps beginners about this process is not the creation of the lower third – many After Effects templates online can make slick nametags for you. But the process of rendering can be confusing – if you render a lower third the same way you would a final video, you’ll end up with a black background behind the nametag, essentially making it useless if you want to import into Premiere.

The Solution

First, you’ll want to verify that your lower third animation is actually a transparency and has no background. There is a small checkerboard icon in the bottom portion of your program window, near the quality setting. If you click on this and see a checkerboard pattern behind your lower third, it means there is no background. If there is still a solid color behind the animation, look through your timeline to make sure there isn’t a solid background layer.


From here, go up to the taskbar and select File > Export > Add to Render Queue. In the render queue, click on “Output Module”, and in the popup window, click on “Channels” and select “RGB + Alpha” from the dropdown list. Click OK.


Select “Output To”, and select where you want to save your lower third. Now, render your animation. When it’s finished, you can import it into Premiere where it can be overlaid on your video. Voila!