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I want to display a text over a video. However, the video may include any color from white to black. What is the best text effect (color/stroke/shadow/glow ... etc) that can be applied on the text so that it will be very clear on any background color.

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Sometimes unreadable text can be a feature: youtube.com/watch?v=SjnWOnJK-zw –  BoppreH Feb 12 '13 at 18:25
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5 Answers

Instead you can try this method by adding following effects

  • Thin black outline
  • Heavy grey line
  • Hard black drop shadow
  • And soft grey shadow.

It appear very clear and readable

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Another method would be to put an semi transparent background in white or black - depending on your text colour behind the text

although you may need to change the transparency of the background depending on the video's contrast

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The classic internet answer, at least for static images (and I imagine it would work for video as well), is "White text with black outline can be read on any color."

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You need to make the background immediately behind your text contrast with your text color.

A very wide subtle soft white glow or spotlight will lighten the background adding contrast to make your black text (making it pop), same goes for a black glow behind white text (or any pair of contrasting colors). This method allows you to have a crisp/clean/sharp and minimal text style, however you can always add a dropshadow or stroke if you like to bring the text forward.

Personally I think adding a little bit of many effects looks better than a hard stroke or really dark dropshadow (unless you are doing for that more aggressive kind of look).

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it's depend on Video subject, for example in a long time movie may choosing mostly white text with shadow is best choose (because of eye tiredness), but in a sport video choosing yellow text with shadow is best choose (because most sports have green field). but in most case i prefer "mostly white text" and a "little amount of shadow" beneath it.

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