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Tutorial: Branding Your Videos with Simple Animated Logo Intros

Here we'll look at how to make simple logo-based animated intros that won't set the world on fire, but will add a little branding kick to your videos using Photoshop and your NLE, without requiring you to hire a graphics expert or master After Effects or LightWave.

Importing the Layers into Premiere Pro

After you've saved your PSD file, start Premiere Pro and create a new project. Then create a new sequence, and import your PSD file as Individual Layers, as shown below in Figure 5.


Figure 5. Importing the PSD file as Individual Layers.

It’s preferable to treat your intro animation as its own sequence for two reasons: one, because you may end up with 5 or more video layers and other complexities, and it will be easier later on to bring it into your main video sequence as a sequence than as a morass of layers and short clips; two, because you may be doing multiple video projects involving this brand, and again it will be easier to import the intro as a sequence. Plus, if you make changes to the sequence, those changes will take effect across all projects that use it. The other way to make it easier to import into other projects is to finish it and export it as a high-bitrate ProRes, H.264, or other encoded file, and that certainly has its merits; but for the purposes of saving an encoding generation and being able to make changes to the original sequence that will ripple across other projects that use it, I recommend going the sequence route. (To re-use the sequence later on, import the project in which you created the sequence into your new project, then select only the “Intro” sequence from that project.)

If you didn’t import the layers as a sequence, create a new sequence called “Intro” and go ahead and stack all the layers in the timeline as shown in Figure 6 (below).

In the Program Monitor, your image should look perfectly assembled, just as it was in Photoshop (Figure 7, below). Note that in Figure 7 I’ve added a white background so the black text doesn’t disappear. This is a four-step process: Create a 1280x720 or 1920x1080—depending on your sequence settings—“whitescreen” in Photoshop. Import it into Premiere Pro. Delete the "full logo" layer that you imported into the project in Video Track 1. Replace it with the white background in Video Track 1 (even if you didn't import a "full logo" layer, just be sure that the white background is at the bottom of the stack o' tracks). Eventually, you'll want to stretch the background layer's duration it to whatever length your animation runs.

Figure 7. The assembled image, combining all the layers.

Next, select all your layers, right-click, and choose Scale to Frame Size (Figure 8, below) to match your image size to the frame size of your sequence.

Figure 8. Scaling all the layers to the match the frame size of your sequence.

Then select one of the image layers, go to the Effect Controls panel and twirl down the Motion disclosure triangle. Note the position coordinates for the layer in its original position in the image. In any 720p project with a 1280px source image, the horizontal position should be 640. The vertical position should be 360. In a 1080p project, the Position will be 960/540.

Notice the position for your image. It should be the same for all layers, even though they obviously occupy different real estate on the screen. This is crucial information for any animation you will do, because it provides an anchor, or home base. I’ll assume that your endgame for your animation, as with all of mine, is for all of the image elements to end up where they are in the source image—whatever you do with them in the interim, your ultimate goal is to reassemble the pieces at the end. So think of 640/360 (or 960/540) as home base for all your layers and remember that for your animation.

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