Join Seán Duggan for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating custom transitions with layer masks, part of Photoshop: Creative Video Compositing (2014).
We've already seen how easy it is to animate a layer mask using key frames. With this technique, it's also possible to create custom transitions between video clips or for special effects when fading elements like text and titles. So in this file here, this is one of the transitions in the title sequence of the Bear River TV show. And as the crate floats by, the title of the show comes in, and then it fades into this other clip. The door opens up. And then at this point, I want to fade the title text here, except I want to do it in a way that's a little bit more custom than just a regular generic fade.
I want to add a little bit of gritty, grungy texture to that fade. So, here is how we go about that. I'm going to go to the channels panel, and it's a good idea to make sure you do have a layer selected, because in Photoshop you can click down in the empty area below the layers in the layers panel. And that means that no layers are selected at all. So just make sure that you do have one of the layers selected so you can add an alpha channel. Come to your channels panel, click on that down there. That's the Add New Channel button, and you're going to get a black alpha channel.
Next, I'm going to make sure that my brush tool is selected, and I'm going to be painting with white as my foreground color. And I'm just going to double check that my blend mode to my brush is normal and my opacity is at 100%. Now I can always come up to the options bar to choose a brush, but a quicker way to do that is to just right click in the image. And when you right click, you get that same brushes panel there that allows you to choose a brush. So, I'm just going to choose one of these grungy brushes down here. That looks pretty good. And I'm just going to start painting some random squiggly strokes.
Not so much squiggly but just a little bit random. I'm going to tap my bracket keys on the keyboard to vary the size of my brush. I just want to get this looking a bit rough, and it doesn't matter if they overlap a little bit. Now remember, the Bear River title text is only occupying the left half of the image canvas there, so I don't have to worry about doing it over the whole canvas. That's good. Okay, now I want to distress this a bit further. So I'm going to go to the Filter menu, and I'm going to choose Filter Gallery, and I'm going to come into the brush strokes collection of filters.
There's a couple you could use here, sprayed strokes is a possibility, also spatter works pretty good, does some interesting things. I think I'm going to leave it set to spatter, and do something like this. There's no real rhyme or reason to how you should do this, it's just basically coming up with a look that you think the work good for the transition. And you could even scan in a texture from a photograph and use that as well. Now coming down and do one more filter on this, I'm going to go to a blur filter and choose a motion blur, and I just want to do a little bit of motion blur right there only about a distance of 18 or something, that's going to kind of soften that up and further grungify it.
So that looks good. One final thing is, I want to invert this mask here, because I want to have the brush strokes be black and the rest of the mask to be white in order for this to work as a layer mask to hide the Bear River title. So I'm going to come to the Image menu, choose Adjustments>Invert. You can also of course use the shortcut of Cmd+I on a Mac, or Ctrl+I on Windows.
That's looking pretty good. I'm going to run another adjustment on here. Image>Adjustments>Levels. And I'm running these directly on the alpha channel here, and I just want to bring in the shadow slider, I want to just kind of intensify the blacks there. That's looking good. And then one final adjustment is I want to apply a gradient, so that these brush strokes fade to black. So, I'm going to grab my gradient tool. going to double check the gradient picker up here in the upper left, I'm going to choose the third swatch, which is a black to white gradient.
And then for the blend mode for the gradient, I want to choose multiply. So once again, there is a blend mode coming in, they are just so useful. So what the multiply blend mode is going to to do is it's going to cover up the white areas where I apply my gradient, but it will preserve the brush strokes down below. So I'm just going to click about oh, a third of the way down from the top here, something like that, and drag down like that. And then that applies a really nice gradient that just covers all of that up there.
So now I'm ready to put this into the layer mask and create the transition. So what I need to do is load this alpha channel up as a selection. So I'm going to hold down the Cmd key on Mac or the Ctrl key on Windows, and click on the thumbnail for the alpha channel in the channels panel. And I'll come back up and click on the layers tab here to go back to my layers panel, and I'll click on the Bear River title layer, and I'm going to click the add layer mask button down here on the bottom to add as a layer mask.
You can already see some of that fading effect, what it's going to look like, how the text is going to start to look distressed. So, to apply the fade and make that happen I need to animate the mask, and to do that, I need to unlink the mask from its layer. So, I'll just click on the chain link there and unlink that. And you make sure the mask is active and I'll get my move tool and see how this looks. And that's looking pretty good. Except at the bottom here, you can see I need to make a further adjustment to my mask. So let me Option+click on the mask so I can see what's going on there.
I'll just select that using the rectangular marquee tool. And with white as my background color, all I need to do is press Delete, or Backspace on Windows, and it will fill with the background color. So, that's all I need to do. I'll Option+click on the mask again, just double check that I have enough room there. And I do. So let's put this up, and all we need to do to apply the fade is figure out where we want to start the fade. I'll come over to the left side of the timeline and I'll add a key frame for layer mask position.
Move the play head out maybe a couple seconds. And now I will grab the layer mask, and pull it down until I can no longer see the text. And it adds a key frame there. Let's just preview what that looks like. And that looks pretty good. So layer masks don't have to be just black, white, or soft transitions of grey. They can really be anything you want, including specific shapes or even textures from other photographs. And by animating the mask, you can create customized transitions that add to the visual texture of your video project.
- What is video compositing?
- Using layer masks
- Applying movement and transformations with keyframes
- Using Smart Objects to perform nondestructive edits
- Animating a layer mask and layer effects
- Using blend modes to create composites
- Creating custom transitions
- Shooting video for composites