Using Boris Graffiti with Vegas Pro

Here are just a few tutorials to get you started with Boris Graffiti LTD. These are not meant to be extensive. They are just to get you familiar with the basics of getting into and out of Graffiti and get your title back into Vegas. (which is, after all, where you wanted it in the first place) ;-)

I will try and update these to make them more extensive as I get time.

Basic Input and Output

I think its best to get a round trip from Graffiti to Vegas as a good first step. This will show you the general workflow and satisfy you that it actually works with Vegas.

  1. Open Boris Graffiti LTD. You will see 4 windows. The lower half of the screen is the timeline. In the upper left are the properties dialogs and on the upper right is the preview window. Right in the middle of the screen covering the first three windows is the text input dialog. Type in “Boris Rocks!” (trust me it does)
  2. Press the Update button in the lower right of this dialog to update the preview window and close the text window by clicking the red X in the upper right like all windows applications. You should now see your text in the preview window.
  3. Before you output to Vegas to use as an overlay, you want to hide the background track by clicking the eye icon in the header of the background track on the timeline. Otherwise the background will be output as well. (you may or may not want this)
  4. Select File->Export…->Targa file and type in a filename for the title file which will be saved in .tga format.

That’s it! You’re now read to bring the TGA file into Vegas. When you bring it into Vegas, you might have to right click on it and select the Properties… dialog and on the Media tab set Alpha channel: to Straight (unmatted). This should make the black background transparent.

Congratulations! You have just created a basic title in Graffiti and brought it into Vegas.

Making a title worth using Graffiti LTD

In the last tutorial we didn’t really make anything compelling so now we’re going to explore the title dialog that we dismissed so quickly. If you still have Graffiti open, just double click on the header of the track with the title text “Boris Rocks!” and the text input dialog will open up again.

boris-style-palette-buttonThis time we’re going to press the Style Palette button at the bottom of that dialog (under the red arrow in the picture on the left). This is where you can very easily change text style, fonts, color, and gradient. In the upper left corner of the Text tab is a dropdown list with tons of other text styles. Check out the metal ones they’re really great. This is true for each of the tabs. The dialogs all have dropdown boxes that give you access to more sets of styles, fonts, colors, and gradients.

Tip: If the font tab is empty, you need to manually add your Windows fonts. Click the Add Category button under the blank drop down list and give the category a name like “Windows” and press OK and it will load all your windows fonts and show you samples. This is one of the features we have asked for in Vegas. Just being able to see the fonts is such an improvement.

boris-style-paletteCheck out the other tabs and double click on any of the swatches to apply then to your title. If nothing changes in the title make sure you’ve highlighted the text with the cursor. The dialogs are modeless so you can go back and highlight the text without closing the Style dialog. When you find something you like close the style dialog, press the Update button and your done. Export this as a TGA file to Vegas.

At this point you should be able to make some really nice titles with gradient fills that would have taken several tracks to create in Vegas. This should prove to you that Graffiti LTD is worth leaning and quite a nice addition to Vegas 5. (to bad it won’t open from within Vegas as a plugin but you can’t have everything)

Don’t forget to press the Update button to see the results in the preview window.

Creating an animated title with Graffiti

You can take any title and add motion just by adding a keyframe and exporting as a movie instead of a TGA file. This is really simple to do. If you don’t touch the timeline, everything you do is applied to the first keyframe. If you simply move the timeline marker down the timeline and then make a change to the text (like move it) then a new keyframe will be created. Press the play button and your text is now animated between the first keyframe, the keyframe you added and the last keyframe.

You can play with any of the parameters in the upper left window for Position, Pivot, Border, Lights, Shadow, Crop, and Mask and have them applied to a keyframe just by moving to where you want the keyframe before you make the change. Press PLAY to see the changes animated. When you’re happy with your movement you’re ready to export it as a movie with an alpha channel so you can key it as an overlay in Vegas.

Bringing an animated title into Vegas

Here are the steps to export as a movie with an alpha channel to bring into Vegas.

  1. Select File->Export…->Movie file to bring up the export dialog for AVI files.
  2. Make sure the Compression Settings are Full Frames (Uncompressed) so that the alpha channel information will be preserved. Don’t use any CODEC because this will limit your movie to 24bits and you need 32bits to carry the alpha channel information.
  3. Make sure the Alpha setting it set for Straight.
  4. Click OK and give the file a name.

That’s it. You should now have an AVI file with an alpha channel all ready to bring into Vegas. Don’t forget, when you bring it into Vegas, you might have to right click on it and select the Properties… dialog and on the Media tab set Alpha channel: to Straight (unmatted). This should make the black background transparent. You could export it from Graffiti as premultiplied black but then you’d have to tell Vegas its premultiplied instead of straight unmatted. It’s up to you. just make sure they match.

Using the Library Browser

boris-library-browserDon’t overlook the Library Browser for a quick selection of an entire style or even a fully completed lower-third just waiting for you to change the text and go. The button to open the Library Browser is right over the track names in the track header section of the timeline. (pointed to by the read arrow in the picture on the left) This brings up the browser window where you can navigate through all the styles in the library.

boris-library-lower3rdsThere are categories for title containers, styled text, lower 3rds that are centered, left justified, right justified, other, misc. Once you find a set of styles that you like, making titles is just a matter of selecting the style, changing the text and saving. It couldn’t be any easier. The picture to the right shows the Library Browser window open to the Lower 3rd’s page. There you can see a collection of lower 3rds that are centered on the screen. Single click to bring them up in the browser preview window and double click on them to add them to your project. As always you can delete the background track or just hide it before you make your actual render to go back to Vegas Pro.

Happy Editing,


Johnny “Roy” Rofrano

John Rofrano

About John Rofrano

John Rofrano is a Senior VASST Trainer and the author of Instant ACID, a book on Sony ACID Pro software, from CMP Books. He is also the developer of Ultimate S Pro, Vegas Pro Production Assistant, Mayhem, and other software plug-ins including the FASST Apps for Sony Vegas Pro NLE software. John has been a performing musician, singer, songwriter for over 40 years, and programmer and computer architect for the past 28 years. He is also a forum moderator at the Creative COW.