This tutorial is on how to export a QuickTime video with an alpha channel from After Effects. It’s simple to do. Here’s how:

Quick setup for you. You’ll want to export a QuickTime movie with an alpha channel if you want to bring your super awesome animation, lower third, logo, or whatever you just made in After Effects that has transparency and you want to bring it into another program like Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro X, or Avid Media Composer.

If your composition is full frame, you probably don’t need to add an alpha channel to your export. The alpha channel is only used if you want to keep the transparency information.

Step 1: Open Render Queue

Okay, let’s get this QuickTime exported. With the composition you want to export open and active, go up to the Composition menu and select Add to Render Queue.

After Effects Composition menu with Add to Render Queue highlighted
To export your QuickTime, go to the Composition menu and select Add to Render Queue

Step 2: Open Output Module to Select a QuickTime Movie with Alpha Channel

With the Render Queue Panel open, find where it says Output Module and click the setting. By default it’ll probably say Lossless.

Render Queue Panel in After Effects to export a QuickTime with alpha channel
Render Queue Panel

The Output Module Settings should now pop up. Under the Format dropdown, make sure that QuickTime is selected. Next, under the Channels dropdown, select RGB + Alpha. RGB is selected by default. You must change this setting to get the transparency to appear on the file you are exporting. You cannot export a QuickTime movie with an alpha channel from After Effects unless you do this.

Got it?

Output Module Settings in After Effects with QuickTime selected as the Format
Choose QuickTime from the Format dropdown

Enjoying this tutorial? Check out this quick tutorial on using After Effect’s little-used Increment and Save feature.

Output Module Settings for a QuickTime movie with an Alpha Channel in After Effects
Select RGB + Alpha in the Channels dropdown

Step 3: Open Output To Settings to Name the File

Click OK in the Output Module Settings to close it. Now, back in the Render Queue, find Output To and click the file name next to it. Click it so you can give it a proper file name and set the destination of the file.

Output To Settings in After Effects
Give your file a name and set it’s destination

Step 4: Hit Render to Export Your QuickTime with Alpha Channel from After Effects

Back in the Render Queue Panel, click Render. Your QuickTime video with alpha channel has now been exported from After Effects.

FYI, I give some other commentary in regards to file sizes and exporting image sequences in the video tutorial above in case you just read the tutorial here.

Did you enjoy this tutorial on how to export a QuickTime movie with an alpha channel in After Effects? If so, I’d love to keep in touch. All you have to do is go here to stay in the loop on new blog posts, tutorials, and announcements.


– Josh