TUAW posts tip on using Keynote for motion graphics

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Unofficial Apple Weblog today posted an article on how to use Keynote in place of Apple Motion in a pinch. We’ve been doing this for several years and have heard of other video editors who also use Keynote for doing titles or quick animation sequences. This brings up a good point…will Apple ever release a title and animation program as easy to use as Keynote? We hope so.

Click here to view Mac 101: Using Keynote as Motion in a bind

This brings up a tip that wasn’t posted in the TUAW article…exporting Keynote animations with an alpha channel (transparency).

The basic steps are:

  1. Set all your slides to a background of NONE on the Slide Inspector-Appearance tab. The slides will look white, but Keynote knows they’ve been set to NONE.
  2. Choose Export from the File Menu
  3. Click the Quicktime icon in the export panel
  4. Check the User Transparency option
  5. In the format drop-menu choose Custom
  6. Set your desired video size and click the Settings… button
  7. For Compression type, choose either Animation or PNG (these are the only codecs that support transparency at the moment)
  8. Set the frame rate high (like 30 or 60 fps), or set it to match your video editing frame rate (you may want to try it both ways to see which works best)
  9. Set the Key frames to All – this will make sure none of the animations get mangled during export (this is a good trick even if you’re not using transparency)
  10. IMPORTANT! Set the Depth to Millions of Colors+. It’s that + that makes sure the transparency gets exported. If you miss this step you won’t get a transparent video.
  11. Slide the Quality to Best
  12. Click Okay
  13. Choose your Audio settings
  14. Click Next
  15. Name and save your movie

You should now have a movie with an embedded alpha channel that works in most video apps (such as Motion or Final Cut Pro). This trick has all kinds of great uses, and we thought it would be good to add to the TUAW post since it’s likely someone is going to ask about it (since Motion can export transparency easily).

have fun!