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Quick Tip: Exporting with Alpha Channels in After Effects

Caleb Ward

Learn how to export video with an alpha channel in this After Effects quick tip.

Alpha layers are an incredibly efficient way to composite footage during the video editing process. The alternative is importing your composition into After Effects which can take way too much time. Follow these simple steps for exporting graphics or elements with a transparent background (alpha channel) in After Effects.

1. Make sure your background is transparent.

You can easily tell if your background is transparent by clicking the checker-box button in the composition panel.

2. Add your composition to the render queue.

Simply navigate to Composition > Add to Render Queue or hit Control+Command+M

3. Click the output module: “Lossless”

It is in the render queue on the bottom left.

4. Set the video output to RGB + Alpha.

Navigate to video output in the box the pops up and scroll down to RGB + Alpha. Your video will now include 4 different channels when it exports. Click Ok.

5. Render

Just hit the render button…and your done!

Now your footage has a transparent background layer, so you can place it above other footage in your video editing timeline. In this method of exporting your video you get variable alpha layers which means they can have varying degrees of opacity, but some export methods only feature binary alpha layers which are either off or on, no in-between.

Have any other tips for exporting video with alpha layers? Share in the comments below.