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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Don't use \fad on fades to black

Dear typesetters,

I have seen this countless times. Every time, it has bothered me. Please, don't do it anymore.

When the screen fades to black (or white, or any other solid colour, for that matter), DON'T use the \fad tag to fade the text along with it. When you use \fad, you're making the text translucent, and not darker. The result is that it will blend with the background - including all the usual associated bugs if you have borders and shadows - and get somewhat darker because the background itself is getting darker - it just won't get as dark as it SHOULD be, and the visual effect is that the text is getting brighter, relative to the background.

With \fad
With \t(\c)

As you can see above, the CORRECT way to deal with this is by using \t to animate the colour (all relevant ones) to black (or whichever colour the screen is fading to). Also note that the background can be seen through the text in the \fad() case, which is not the correct behavior.

Keep in mind, though, \t(\c) is significantly slower than \fad() on VSFilter, so you might have softsub issues, depending on how complex is your text.

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  1. Of course the same also applies to fading to white or any other solid colour screen... but it can't be applied to cross-fades where you'll have to do with looking a bit ugly.

  2. okay since this post i've since more than one person not willing to use colour fades because of this post so i'd like to point out that it is perfectly fine to use for softsubbing and anything above a p3 should play it just fine

  3. Oh, but I love abusing \fad.

  4. Huh...I actually prefer the look with \fad over the one with \t. :/

  5. What to look out for in the example pictures is the lightness of the white fill in the text, compared to the lightness of the bright background.
    Those are clearly different on the two pictures, and the lightness of the text matches the lightness of the background much better on the \t(\c) one than on the \fad one. (Compare to the sample before the fade, the fill of the text and the background are about the same lightness.)

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