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Chapter 4. Compositions > Background Color

Background Color

The default background color of compositions is black; however, you can change the background to any color you choose. Regardless of what color you make it, the background becomes the alpha channel when you output the composition as a still-image sequence or a movie with an alpha channel. Similarly, if you use the composition as a layer in another composition, the background of the nested composition becomes transparent (Figure 4.36) (see “Nesting Compositions,” later in this chapter). You can also view the background as a checkerboard pattern (much like the one PhotoShop uses to represent transparent areas of a layer).

Figure 4.36. The background of a nested composition becomes transparent.

To choose a background color for your composition:

Select a composition in the Project window, or activate a composition in a Composition or Timeline window.

Choose Composition > Background Color (Figure 4.37), or press Shift-Command-B (Mac) or Shift-Control-B (Windows).

Figure 4.37. Choose Composition > Background Color.

A Background Color dialog box appears.

In the Background Color dialog box, do one of the following (Figure 4.38):

  • Click the color swatch to open the color picker.

  • Click the eyedropper to choose a color from another window.

Figure 4.38. Click the eyedropper to pick a screen color, or click the swatch to open a color picker.

Click OK to close the Background Color dialog box.

The selected composition uses the background color you specified.

To toggle checkerboard backgrounds in compositions:

In the Composition window pull-down menu, check Checkerboard Backgrounds (Figure 4.39).

Figure 4.39. In the Comp window pull-down menu, check Checkerboard Backgrounds.

All compositions display backgrounds as a checkerboard pattern (Figure 4.40).

Figure 4.40. All comps display backgrounds as a checkerboard pattern. Turn off Checkerboard Backgrounds to restore background colors.

To restore the background colors to the compositions, uncheck Checkerboard Backgrounds in the Composition window pull-down menu.


  • If you need an opaque background—in a nested composition, for example—create a solid layer as described in “To create a solid color layer,” later in this chapter.

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