how to make transparent background for movie

i have a hand drawn animation i am working on and i cannot for the life of me get the drawings i have done free of the black background . I want basically all of the black to become a transparency as i have made my backgrounds that i actually want and have loaded those into after effects.
i am not using a card.

i am using toon boom harmony advanced and have been looking up tutorials and can’t figure out if i am just blind or it’s not that obvious or something…I BELIEVE it has changed from the previous way individuals handled this…

i really do need it to export as a mov file not images and i do not want to run them through photoshop.

How are you exporting the Quicktime file? It should work if you don’t have any background or colour card and you export your mov with the settings ‘Millions of Colours+’, where the + is the alpha channel.

Luis Canau

actually with harmony i either don’t have or don’t see the millions of colors option. no backgrounds. no card i don’t see that option when i got to export at all…any idea where i get that set because its driving me NUTZ i’ve googled read the forums and all say millions of colours but can’t find it anywhere

When you make File > Export > Movie… a dialogue Export to Quicktime Movie appears. Below you have Movie Options and here on Video Settings you should have Compression Type. There if you select Animation you should have below on Compressor drop-down the Depth option which includes Millions of Colors+. This isn’t depended of Harmony but of Quicktime. If you open Quicktime on its own, open a video file and open the Export menu do you have those options? Note that the option millions of colours+ isn’t available with all compression types.

Luis Canau

If you really have to export as quicktime, you should export as quicktime animation. The Animation codec allows you to export alpha channel (millions+).
But for better results, you should export as PNG sequence. After effects will import it without any trouble. Just choose to export file sequence as PNG4. (I really don’t know why PNG4 is PNG with transparent background)

That’s how we work here.

Hope it helped.

Just in case you never exported an image sequence, you’ll have to:

  • Set the export options on the properties of the write module on the node view (filetype, folder, etc…)
  • Use the File->Export->Render Write nodes.

That’s how I normally work too. On a previous version of Harmony on Mac png4 wasn’t working for some reason so I used psd4, but normally I go for png. Some people do prefer to work with quicktimes. With frames you can make a correction by exporting just a couple of frames instead of re-exporting the whole mov. It works well if you use Premiere to edit and import image sequences that will be updated as you re-export the corrected frames, not with FCP that kind of sucks for this workflow.

The 4 represents the alpha channel, the other three being RGB (4 = RGBA).

Luis Canau

Harmony will only output video as a Quicktime MOV? That’s it? No uncompressed AVI, no MP4, strictly MOV? Isn’t that kind of odd?

As it relates to a PNG sequence export, will it also exports a new audio file?

The PNG sequence is image only. If you export any kind of image sequince, you’ll have to export the soudtrack from ToonBoom, to edit the film in other software. With the export soudtrack command, you can export the sound files individually or mixed down.

But since, you can not create sound on ToonBoom and if the original sound was not cut or edited by the animator on Toonboom, you can always use the original sound files that were imported on ToonBoom.

About the .MOV files, I’m Just guessing , ok…
ToonBoom Expects you to go to an editing software after you finished your animation phase to do the final editing of the film, Lenghty scenes tend to be heavy on system resources.
MOV is a format that is accepted by a wide range of editing softwares.

Indeed, it is a bit limited considering that other animation software does include other movie export formats. Even OpenToonz can do it.

Anyway, I use the free version of Davinci Resolve, which can output up to UltraHD resolution (3840 pixels × 2160 lines (8.3 megapixels, aspect ratio 16:9), and includes a very powerful video editor. It also happens to be the industry standard colour grading solution :stuck_out_tongue:

3840 pixels × 2160 lines (8.3 megapixels, aspect ratio 16:9)

Get it here:

For best quality, always export your animation as an image sequence using a non-lossy image format (such as PNG). Then import the image sequence in your NLE (non linear editor), and mix with the soundtrack.

The lack of AVI in Harmony isn’t that troublesome - although it would be handy for quick client previews. MOV is a pain to work with when dealing with Windows.

I’m still learning the software, so haven’t messed with sounds or even exporting much at this point. But I was wanting to work with multiple sound files for dialogue, where each snippet of the conversation would be a separate file. This better facilitates changes in timing, adding or removing pauses, or even if a line has to be re-recorded, it’s easier to work with as individual files. So it’d be important if outputting a sequence to get a new sound file that was synced up to the image sequence. I’d hate to have to pull in the image sequence, then re-import a multitude of sound files and try to synch them up to the action with the image sequence.

As far as MOV is concerned, I’ve had very bad luck with anything MOV related. Probably because it was first an Apple format, and in reality is still an Apple format. I know my Windows becomes very, very irked with me when dealing with MOV files, and sometimes just refuses to do much with it.

You would export the soundtrack with FILE–>EXPORT–>SOUNDTRACK. Ensure that the “Merge all Soundtracks” option is selected before exporting. Export at the highest quality (48.000khz, 16bit, Stereo).

This file can then be imported in a NLE such as Davinci Resolve or Premiere. When importing the image sequence, make certain that you create a project in your NLE which is identical to the framerate/speed as the one you used in Harmony to animate.

Unfortunately, Harmony’s sound options are extremely limited, and Harmony only supports mono single channel or stereo (two) audio channels. Other applications such as Blender, for example, support mono up to 7.1 surround, and Harmony only supports export up to 48.000khz, which is often insufficient as well for professional audio work.

Therefore, I strongly suggest that, instead of mixing your sounds, voice tracks, and music in Harmony, you create your audio track in more capable audio software, and mix down to a stereo “dummy” file, import that in Harmony, and animate. Then import the high-quality track from your audio software into your NLE (or perhaps you created a soundtrack in the NLE itself - in which case you would have exported a stereo track from your NLE for use in Toonboom), and import the image sequence into your NLE. This is how I work with animation software which does often not support high fidelity sound.

You prevent sound degradation caused by Toonboom this way. It is somewhat unfortunate that Toonboom does not support the import of multi-channel audio files as individual sound layers. That could be very handy to have. Alas, it is what it is.

Yes, I agree that MOV files are a real pain to work with on Windows. Just avoid. Render a MOV file at the very end if required by a client.

Traditionally, the sound you import to Toon Boom is mostly for reference - for lip sync, for instance. You would make the final mix on a professional dedicated software such as Pro Tools. There are several possible workflows. For instance, you can have all of your dialogue tracks exported separately from Storyboard Pro with your animatic directly to your editing software and there to whoever makes your sound mix and back. Editing software works with Quicktimes or image sequences (FCP still doesn’t, I suppose), and there you have all the necessary options to export video.

There’s a reason for not editing the animation on Harmony which is the same for not editing and mixing the sound. Maybe its the same that professionally you wouldn’t record the sound with the camera. The principle being separation of functions for each professional, but also that each hardware or software is better by specialising in something specific. Also some scenes in Harmony with many layers and effects, particles and whatnot, are quite heavy without adding a multichannel soundtrack. In most case you’d do better with everything related to animation and effects on Harmony with just a reference soundtrack (if needed), the same way that you’d work with everything sound-related in Pro Tools with just a limited-resolution reference video.

That doesn’t mean that more options isn’t better, of course, especially since more and more people work on small projects exporting directly from Harmony.

Luis Canau

I’m sure your audio advice is good advice, but fortunately I’m not doing anything professional, I’m strictly a hobbyist, doing this for my own entertainment. And as such, I find it way too limiting to work with a single file. I like to tweak things while in process, and as I stated earlier, working with multiple files offers me the opportunity to tweak to me hearts content. I don’t have to follow any kind of rigid timing structure or screenplay. Actually, I’m kinda glad I don’t do this professionally. It’s fun because I can do what I want, how I want but if I had to adhere to someone else’s requirements, it probably wouldn’t be as much fun as it is right now.

Strange… I work with windows 7 and I don’t have many issues with Quicktime when I work with it on Premiere or After Effects (dependending on the codec, or course).

The main issue I have is with the Quicktime Player. It always shows films with audio sync issues. But that is just the player… If you play the same file on VLC or MPC Star, youy will see that everything is in place.

Some codecs, like Pro Res, or MXF are really problematic to work if it is packed on a MOV format. But the most regular (Animation, H264) works fine…

I Admit that it is not my first choice for video format, but I works fine…