How to Make Lower Thirds Like a Pro | Shutterstock


A decrease third is a implausible technique to show vital info to your viewers. Listed below are a number of suggestions for designing superior decrease thirds.

Sadly, many individuals new to video modifying overthink the method and find yourself with distracting graphics. To assist with this downside, we’ve put collectively a number of pointers for creating decrease thirds like a professional.

What are Decrease Thirds?

Whether or not you’re watching a YouTube video, a information broadcast, or a Saturday night time recreation present, you’re greater than more likely to see a decrease third seem on the display screen. A decrease third, additionally known as an L3, is a non-intrusive movement graphic that shows essential info such because the visitor’s identify, the situation, or perhaps a quick sentence of suggestions.

What are Lower Thirds?

It’s known as a decrease third as a result of that’s precisely the place it seems on the display screen; on the decrease half and in one of many display screen thirds. There’s sometimes no mistaken third to put the L3. Nonetheless, you’ll normally discover them on the decrease left, generally on the decrease proper, however hardly ever within the center.

You may marvel, “Do I would like a decrease third?.” For many circumstances, sure. They’re essential to introduce components to the video with out it being a detriment to the presentational move. Moreover, you might marvel in the event you want the L3 as a result of you might have launched your self already. Or, possibly the situation is clear (comparable to having the Eiffel Tower within the background)—so why have a Paris, France L3 seem?

Nonetheless, it’s important to think about a number of components. The particular person watching could not have totally heard your identify (maybe the TV is on mute). And conversely, not everybody could know particular landmarks (you might have a younger viewer watching). Moreover, the decrease third also can home secondary tags comparable to your social media handles, which acts as a follow-through for the invested viewer and doesn’t require you to present a vocal name to motion. As a substitute, you possibly can give attention to the topic.

What Ought to Decrease Thirds Look Like?

What Should Lower Thirds Look Like?

As with most components inside artistic purposes, there is no such thing as a set commonplace as to how your decrease thirds ought to look. Nonetheless, and considerably contradictory, how they give the impression of being will fully dictate how the medium is acquired.

Your L3 might be an elaborately animated floral decrease third that introduces the florist or a easy textual content line that introduces a regulation official. Let’s run over the first graphical components that go into an L3 to verify it correlates along with your video.


Font alternative and character format are the place you possibly can start to see the distinction between a professionally designed decrease third and one designed by an novice. Readability is extremely vital for glorious decrease thirds, so it’s important to decide on an excellent font that may be scanned. This implies you’ll wish to avoid each cursive and overly ornate fonts.

Gary Fieldman

Use a contemporary sans-serif font like Helvetica Neue, Lato, or Avenir. If you wish to take your decrease thirds to the following degree, you possibly can pair two totally different fonts collectively. This is named sort pairing, and there are a lot of glorious assets on-line for selecting the best sort pair in your undertaking.

Simple Lower Thirds

It could be finest to consider how you’ll lay out your font in your decrease third. A typical decrease third will characteristic a reputation on high and a title under. Usually, decrease thirds will capitalize the textual content on high.

You’ll need to check out your kerning (spacing between characters) and repair any monitoring points. Irrespective of the font, you’ll probably have to regulate kerning points by hand.

Take a look at the instance under. Discover how the default kerning produces bizarre spacing points between the S, T, and O. You possibly can repair this by customized kerning the letters.

Kerning Your Lower Thirds

You possibly can normally get by with capitalizing the primary letter of every phrase or maintaining all of it decrease case for the outline textual content. Your decrease third textual content needs to be discrete, straightforward to learn, and minimal. New designers are likely to make their decrease third textual content giant, however it’s virtually at all times extra aesthetically pleasing to have small, easy textual content.

Lower Thirds Example

Most crucially, you’re going to wish to make it possible for your font alternative is complimentary not solely the tone of the undertaking but additionally the model.

When utilizing a easy textual content line, it’s preferable to decide in direction of a easy fade in so the L3 retains with the textual content’s basic nature. Nonetheless, if you use shapes with textual content, you possibly can take a look at probably animating the L3. In any case, this a visible medium.

Form and Animation

An animated decrease third definitely sings the tune of knowledgeable. Nonetheless, there’s a time and place for an animated decrease third as you sometimes don’t wish to distract the viewer, however politely inform them of the extra info. Decrease thirds that use shapes, sometimes a skinny rectangle, will normally have some type of animation as an alternative of fading out and in like a textual content line.

Animating a Lower Third

Nonetheless, this may rapidly flip right into a cluster of ineffective animations. So, it’s important to analyze if the animation provides something not solely to your undertaking, however to the L3 itself. If the undertaking is about graffiti artists, then a sprayed-on animated sq. and textual content would match the invoice. But if the video is about how criminals are being rehabilitated with a brand new program, a set of quirky squares would really feel misplaced. You need the L3 to rapidly name your viewer’s consideration, however not distract from the introduced story.

A protected animation is to have your background form step by step transfer in from a hidden matte layer (as seen within the GIF above). It’s non-obtrusive however nonetheless elegant sufficient to raise your manufacturing worth. You could find how to do that impact within the following tutorial (tip 5).


With any design undertaking, not simply movement graphics, coloration is extremely important. Colour can inform your viewers what to really feel and play into constructive model messaging. That is very true with decrease thirds. Whilst you’re more likely to see a plethora of brilliant, colourful, gradient-filled decrease thirds on-line, the perfect decrease thirds use stable, intentional colours that help your story.

Red L3

Whereas it does all rely upon the kind of video you might be creating, {most professional} decrease thirds are only a mixture of white or black and one other stable coloration. Whenever you’re choosing the colours in your decrease third, it’s normally finest to stay to refined colours that received’t distract from the video you’re engaged on.

Blue Lower Third

If you happen to’re engaged on a business or model video, it usually is smart to make use of the corporate’s established coloration scheme. For instance, if we have been to make a decrease third for Shutterstock, we might in all probability use Shutterstock’s iconic purple and white palette.

White or darkish gray textual content is normally a protected wager for decrease thirds. In my expertise, coloured textual content may be difficult to learn, relying in your background video. Keep in mind, typography on display screen is totally different than typography in print; audiences will solely see the textual content for a number of seconds.

As you need your decrease third to complement the fabric, you don’t use a coloration that can distract the viewer. If you happen to’re working with a model, use their colours, or use complementary colours to these discovered within the scene.

If you happen to’re not sure what coloration is complementary to these within the scene, I like to recommend utilizing a coloration instrument. There are a lot of helpful instruments on the market designed that can assist you decide the proper colours for a undertaking. One in all my favorites is Coolors helps you to rapidly navigate by way of a group of coloration palettes utilizing keyboard shortcuts. You possibly can “lock” colours that you recognize you’ll be utilizing in your remaining design. As soon as you discover the right coloration palette, you possibly can obtain a PDF with the hex codes.

Coolors Example

NLE Vs. Movement Graphics Compositor

With the rise in content material creation content material, the recognition in decrease thirds has by no means been extra important. As such, many NLEs have adopted decrease third accessibility, permitting the person to remain in a single software. Whereas that gives a way of effectivity, does it assist or stifle the creator?

Throughout most NLEs, you’ll discover numerous built-in decrease thirds that require your textual content enter. These could also be nice for fast movies the place the decrease third presentation is of little significance, comparable to a piece presentation, a vacation video, or a faculty undertaking. Nonetheless, you too can usually manipulate these presets into your personal customized decrease thirds, or outright create your personal. Whereas most cross-platform software program, comparable to Premiere and After Results, have adopted comparable instruments, there are some setbacks in creating decrease thirds in an NLE.  


Whenever you’re making a movement graphic inside an NLE, it’s normally inside that one edit undertaking. And though it can save you your preset for later tasks, the workspace is constructed for modifying video, not the L3, which can sometimes be refined to a single panel.


The Resolve interface solely affords a small panel to configure the L3. If you happen to’re utilizing a built-in 3D title, you can at all times bounce over to the Fusion web page for house, however that web page has a steep studying curve.

In a compositor, comparable to your complete workspace, is designed to accommodate your animation, on this case, an L3. You’re in a position to management and manipulate the workspace in a far higher trend than you’d than an NLE, permitting for higher management and accessibility in designing the L3.

Greater Control in Designing Your L3


Suppose you’re creating an L3 from two to 3 components in Premiere. In that case, you’re slowly going to start out seeing a number of layers litter your timeline if in case you have a number of decrease thirds showing all through the edit. With a pre-rendered file straight out of your compositor, you’ve the one file to cope with. It’s cleaner and extra environment friendly.


Skilled decrease thirds have very easy actions. It’s because the animator has purposefully created easy actions utilizing a graph editor. If you happen to’re not already accustomed to a graph editor, it’s basically an algebra-like graph that means that you can customise your object’s actions. So as an alternative of your textual content or shapes coming to a tough cease, you possibly can regulate a graph editor to easy out your actions. The next tutorial from College of Movement reveals us learn how to use the graph editor to create easy actions.

Premiere does have an honest curve editor, however it’s not almost as proficient as After Results’ editor. Moreover, there are additionally a number of curve plug-ins accessible for AE.


There are a lot of graphical plug-ins, comparable to Deep Glow, that solely exist inside devoted movement graphic software program comparable to After Results. Whereas designing L3s in Premiere is a risk, it’s a restricted one.

There are quite a few instruments accessible for After Results that may assist take your movement design to the following degree, and so they’re simply not accessible to be used in a normal NLE.

Whilst you’re going to get satisfactory to OK ends in creating decrease thirds in an NLE, I’d suggest creating your decrease thirds in devoted movement graphics software program. Nonetheless, two years in the past, Premiere acquired an replace that means that you can import, customise, and use customized mographs with the necessities graphics panel. With this, you possibly can create an empty preset inside After Results after which import it into Premiere Professional to customise every undertaking with out ever opening the file once more in After Results.

Pre-Constructed Templates

Okay, so that you’ve simply learn by way of all of this, and as a video editor or videographer, you’re one thought is “I’m not a movement graphics artist, I can’t do any of this.” Properly, to not fear. Fortunately, there are a number of pre-built templates accessible to make use of.

You could find an array of decrease thirds components within the Creator pack (together with 250 different gadgets). They help by taking the effort away from animating shapes with pre-rendered animated decrease third shapes and contours.

Alternatively, you can buy an After Results template pack comparable to Anarchy from Rocketstock. This pack permits full customization of the decrease third.

Vital Technical Parts To Take into account

With the components thought of above, the ultimate facet to acknowledge is extra technical than artistic, and that’s understanding the title protected zone.

As video is consumed on numerous units and screens of a number of resolutions, it’s vital to verify that your L3 may be appropriately considered with out bother on any setup. Whereas the title protected zone is initially a broadcast first characteristic, as many video gamers, comparable to YouTube, have the play bar seem over the underside of the video, together with the channel’s branding avatar, it’s important to observe the precept for on-line viewing. 

Briefly, the title protected is an space inside your picture body that received’t get reduce off throughout playback. Likewise, some TVs and projectors reduce off the sides of your video; in the event you place textual content too near the sting of a body, it’d get reduce off.

Title Safe
The sunshine gray traces above are the title protected guides in After Results.

To assist with this downside, all main video modifying purposes have title protected guides which you could activate when engaged on decrease thirds. If you happen to ensure to put your textual content contained in the title protected space, it received’t get reduce off.

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