I teach a number of production classes and often have to provide basic information on how to get started designing graphics for television. Without getting too in-depth about square vs. non-square pixels, or 16 x 9, here are some pointers to get you headed in the right direction.

Jim's tips for making graphics:



Making Graphics for TV:

Graphics will be usually be for either a 4:3 or 16:9 display. Unless you're using the latest version of Photoshop, you'll have to design your graphics looking at square pixels. However, most editing systems use non-square pixel dimensions.(DV uses 720 x 480, D1 uses 720 x 486). Once you make your graphics, you will probably want to re-size a copy to import into your video editing application.

To create graphics for 4:3 (standard definition) television display:

Make your graphics using 4:3 pixel dimensions: 720 x 540 is optimum for making standard definition TV graphics, but you can also use 800 x 600, or any other pixel dimensions that are 4x3. If you have Photoshop CS, you can work directly in native non-square pixel sizes such as 720 x 480.

To create graphics for 16:9 widescreen (standard definition) television display:

Make your graphics using 16:9 pixel dimensions:.There are many that could work, but 853 x 480 works fine for standard definition graphics going into DV. For D1 you could use 864 x 486.

You can find nice preset templates in Photoshop specifically for TV graphics. They will put you into RGB color mode and set your resolution for 72 dpi.

Once you make your Photoshop graphic, store it with all of the layers intact in a safe place. Save a copy to resize and import into your desired video editing application.

Terms you should know:

How can you learn to compose good graphics?

Watch your favorite TV networks and try to duplicate the graphics you see. CNN, MTV, nickelodeon, and other cable networks do a great job creating fresh, eye-catching and well-designed graphics.



tv broadcast graphics