Chris Mattia teaches you how to import video into Photoshop and extract the perfect still frame image for your next teaching and learning assets.
- [Instructor] Video still frames are extremely helpful in creating slides, making step-by-step instructional guides, and creating the perfect hero image for that instructional YouTube video that you've been working on. And Photoshop has some great tools for this job. Here's a short, three-second video clip of Phoebe. Let's pull a clean still frame of her out of this video. Now the first thing we need to do is get the video into Photoshop. And we have a couple of options for this. We could, of course, go up to the File menu and select Open, then navigate on our hard drive to the video file, I've got mine here on my desktop, and then simply open it up.
I'll press Command minus once, to zoom out so we can take in the entire frame. Now if you go this route, Photoshop will open the movie as what's called a video group. Now at the bottom of the screen is your timeline panel. This is a panel we haven't seen before. There are some common play controls over here, clicking on this icon will play the video, and you can simply use the space bar to start and stop the video playback as well. There's a cut tool here, to split the video at the play head for doing some basic editing, and a play head that you can use to scrub the video with.
Now, as you scrub the video, or while you're playing it, the video may look soft focus at first, but as soon as you stop the video, Photoshop will render the frame sharply. I'm going to drag this panel group up a little bit more so we can get a better look at the other features here. If you twirl down the arrow for the video group, you can see we have some other controls for key frameable properties, such as position, opacity, and style. At the bottom of the panel is a zoom slider that you can use to zoom in and out of your timeline to get a better look at the specific frames that you're working with.
Over on the right, we have a new layer grouping called a Video Group, that should remind you of the artboards that we worked with in the last chapter. And our video clip is sitting as a single layer here in Photoshop. Now that's the basics of video clips, but getting our still image out of this clip does not seem like a very straightforward process. And that's because there is another way to open a video clip. Let's go back up to our file menu, and this time come down to import, and then select the option for video frames to layers.
Once again, browse our hard drive, find the file we want to open, and click open. This time, we get a new import video to layers window. On the left, you can choose to import the entire video clip, and Photoshop will extract each and every frame of the video into its own layer. You can also choose to select a specific range of the video, by using the small in and out sliders here. As you drag the sliders to create a subset of the video clip, you'll get a live preview so you know exactly what you're selecting.
Now, most video files that you import will come in at 24 to 30 frames per second, or possibly even more, so you can choose to limit the number of frames to import to, say, every other frame, or every third frame, and so forth. Now to grab our still image, though, we want to look at every single frame possible out of this short video clip. So, uncheck the limit and select from beginning to end, since this is such a short video clip, and then click OK. This time, Photoshop creates a whole bunch of layers, one for each frame of the video, and it organizes all of those layers in the timeline, one layer after another.
You can still play the video by pressing the space bar, and this time, instead of a play head, each frame highlights as it appears on the canvas. Then, Photoshop moves to the next frame or layer. Let's select layer 50. Phoebe is just starting to turn her head, and we're seeing a bunch of motion blur here. Let's click back through the layers one by one, and if you scroll your layer panel up to the same frame that you're on, as you click on each layer you can see that what Photoshop is doing, is it's turning the visibility for that layer on.
Now, here around frame 45, Phoebe's come back into sharp focus, and her ears are just starting to come forward. If we continue going back, frame by frame, we'll see that around frame 40, she's at full alert. Now, this is the frame that we're looking for, and since this frame is on its own layer, here in the layers panel, we can use all of the skills that we've already learned in Photoshop. For instance, if you hold down option or alt, you can drag the layer onto the new layer icon, to bring up the duplicate layer window. We can rename this layer as Phoebe, select the document dropdown, and select a new document.
I'll call this new document "Alert," and then click OK. The new tab opens up with the exact frame that we wanted. We no longer need our timeline panel, so I'll go up to the window menu and select timeline to hide the panel out of our way. You can now save this still frame to your computer, and use it in your teaching and learning assets.
- Mastering the Photoshop user interface
- Making selective adjustments
- Using actions for repetitive tasks
- Fixing common image problems
- Repairing an image with masks
- Preparing images for use on the web
- Creating 360 VR panoramas
- Making an animated GIF