So I'm trying to get some work done for a streamer.
They have an animation they want me to include in the bigger animations I'm making for them.
It's in WebM format.
So they sent me the file, and I checked it by adding it to OBS in a scene, and it absolutely 100% has an alpha channel.
But I can't get it to work in After Effects at all. It just gives me a black background.
- Converting the WebM to WebM again in Media Composer (because why not)
- Converting it to a different format that has alpha channel (namely, ProRes)
- Asking them to zip the file and send it to me, in suspicions that Discord was messing with the file as it got sent
Nope. Black background still there ruining my life.
I'd attach the file here, but no zip or webm support.
So here's a Dropbox link [LINK]
Temporary solution: Added a Color Key effect to the layer, removing all the black. Worked.
But, I was lucky the animation has nothing even close to black in it.
So this is still a big issue...
WebM is not a supported file format. I'm not completely clear when you say you added it to OBS in a scene. What software are you using? Without specific workflow details, it is going to be very difficult for anyone to try and reproduce your problem or find a workaround. A quick web search turns up a half dozen free conversion utilities for WebM. I'm not going to take the time to dig through them for you.
I almost never accept unsupported file formats from clients. I ask them to render a compatible format so I don't get caught in an endless loop of workarounds.
OBS is the software.
Since it fully supports webm, it's a quick and easy way to test alpha in such a file.
You just throw it on there on top of something else and bam, you see if it has an alpha channel.
This file absolutely does.
I have tried converting the file to other formats that have alpha channels. It still doesn't work.
Telling the clients to send me the stuff in different formats is a fool's errand as well because these clients, 99% of the time, have no idea what a codec even is. If I say "vector format", they have absolutely no clue what I mean.
So the realistic solution for me is to figure out a way to use these files I get sent almost every time.
It's actually appalling that this format is STILL not supported, because it's the lightest, in every way. Smallest file size and easiest for any CPU to render.
This is why it's 10/10 times the format used when anything like this is done for live streaming (which, is what I'm working on. Transitions for switching scenes in live streams).
Every single website that sells resources and assets for livestreaming uses WebM.
Every software developer that makes anything supposed to be used for livestreaming uses or recommends WebM.
It's time to catch up, Adobe.
But rant aside, I need a solution, not a "use a different format" or "ask the client to send you something else" which are completely useless responses. Designer is a job where you solve the client's problem, not one where you tell them you can't and they need to solve it on their end before you can do your job. They'll just find a new designer.
Only an amateur does not communicate with the client about format requirements. If your client created the files, then they would have the original assets that they could share with you. If they did not create the original file, they should pay you for your time and effort to create a usable asset from what they have. Talking to the client about your requirements is the farthest thing I can think of from a "fool's errand."
If I had the time, I'd explore OBS and see what I could find. I'd even take a look at one of your files with the black background. Maybe there is an easy way to create a procedural matte. Maybe you should drop your rendered file into OBS and do the composite there. Getting all hung up on one solution is only going to add to the frustration.
I've been making movies since 1970, running my own production company since 1978. I've worked with everyone from the major studios and award-winning directors, to high school students. I learned from one of the best. In my first 6 months, he taught me to figure out what I needed and how to ask for everything I needed to complete the job. If you cannot get what you need in the correct form you have to charge for the time and expense required to acquire get it.
Any client that would have a problem discussing your needs is a client you don't want to work with. I call them grinders. If I end up working for one, I fire them and encourage them to find someone else.
I'm not saying that you should not make a feature request for expanded format compatibility. Do that. If enough people do, someday, someone will assign a team to the problem and spend the money and time necessary to make it work. A 3rd party may also think you have a good idea and develop their own solution. That's how Boris FX, Red Giant, Video Copilot, AE Scripts, Digital Anarchy, and a bunch of other companies that support Adobe Products got into the business.
I agree 100% with what you say here.
But, the scenarios I'm looking at are very, very far from what you're accustomed to dealing with.
These clients are not companies or even professionals, at least not in the way you're talking about.
They are gamers who stream gameplay live on Twitch and other platforms, or Youtube content creators/digital influencers/gaming company ambassadors, sometimes all of the above at once.
When I see a situation like this where I can't use what they give me, I do try to create something from scratch instead, but I'm sure you've also faced situations where people get SO attached to something, it's basically impossible to convince them to use something else in its place.
I just don't understand. There is a WebM plugin, that was developed years ago, that works perfectly in media encoder, even in Premiere. Why not in AE?
Furthermore, I can export stuff from AE then convert it to WebM in Encoder and it retains alpha... Why can't I go the opposite route? Just doesn't make sense.
Anyone with an actual solution to this please?
You must be new here.
WEBM is an end product, you can think of it a bit like a PDF or SWF. It was never designed to be edited. Of course there are ways to get WEBM into After Effects (although I've only used one for Premiere Pro before). For what its worth, I downloaded the file but couldn't import it (it's been a while since I tried to use WebM).
I also know what it is like to work with "enthusiastic" but clueless "clients" too. You have my sympathies.
AE does have some alpha options though. Right-click on the file in the project window and go to Interpret Footage > Main. In the pop up, at the top are Alpha options: Ignore, Straight, Pre-multiplied. Try these and see if either gets you the alpha channel.
I take it OBS cannot export a second matte version (solid white on black)?
OBS's recording capabilities are focused on screencap, so no... pretty limited when it comes to exports.