enter image description here

I am trying to create an overlay of a black background with transparent text so that a video can show through the transparency.

I have been selecting text on the image by color and then cutting it out, but this creates a feathered edge on the inside that I cannot see in GIMP but is very visible over video.

How can I make the transparent text much sharper?

  • Welcome to GD.SE Ria! What image format are you saving your 2009 overlay as? PNG or GIF? Commented Sep 17, 2018 at 20:53
  • If you're working with video, consider using a traditional mask (black and white), most video editing software supports those and you can probably even create it within the video software itself, so no need for gimp at all. Commented Oct 18, 2018 at 13:01

2 Answers 2


To create a transparent text through any image I usually take the following steps in Gimp:

  1. Write text with the Text tool
  2. Create a Path from this text layer
  3. Hide the text layer
  4. Add a transparency layer if not yet done
  5. Create a selection from path (ShiftV)
  6. Del the selection from the image

enter image description here

By this I make sure that there are no remainders of the original color of the text, and that semi-transparent anti-aliasing pixels at the text border are from the background only.


Here's a method that doesn't involve making selections or cutting, but uses a layer mask instead.

  1. Open a full size image of one frame of the video
  2. Create a new layer above, and fill it black
  3. Create a new layer above that, and fill it white
  4. Type some text in black, position it, and set the point size as required
  5. Do Layer > New from Visible. Select All (CTRL+A), and Copy (CTRL+C)
  6. Select the black layer in the layers panel
  7. Hit the Layer Mask icon in the layers panel, the fill colour doesn't
    matter at this point
  8. Hit Paste (CTRL+V), and then hit the Anchor icon in the layers panel
  9. Hide all the layers except the black filled layer, then export as PNG for use in your video software

enter image description here

It must be said however, that although this will probably work, can't you just create a mask on a black layer in your video software? Some have that functionality built in.

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