Join Seán Duggan for an in-depth discussion in this video Working with video layers, part of Photoshop: Creative Video Compositing (2014).
Video in Photoshop is treated just like another layer. In fact, when you add a video click you'll see it listed as a layer in the Layers panel. But in addition to basic layer concepts like stacking order, opacity, and visibility, video layers allow you to work with the concept of time and apply changes to layers for a specified duration of time. And that's where the Timeline panel comes in. Before we get into the specifics of video composites, let's take a look at some essential concepts and functionality of video features in Photoshop.
So I want to start off by showing you how to open up video files in Photoshop, because there are a number of ways you can go about that. First, you can come to the File menu and choose Open like you would with any other file. Navigate to the folder where your files are, choose one, and just click Open. So the video file opens up and you can see here in the Layers panel that it just shows up as a layer, like any other layer. The main difference is that there is a little icon in the thumbnail of the layer of a film strip and that indicates that it's a video layer. In addition to showing up in the Layers panel you'll also see it here in the Timeline panel as well.
Now the other way that you can open up video files in Photoshop is to do it through Adobe Bridge. So I'm just going to grab one of these files here. Now I'm not going to double click on this file, because if I did it's going open up in a media player like Quick Time player. And if I right click on this, and check out Open With, I can see that Photoshop is not one of the programs that's associated with this file. However, on a Mac, what you could do is just drag the thumbnail down to the Photoshop icon on the dock, and it'll open up that way. The other cool trick you could do in Adobe Bridge if you want to open up multiple video clips into the same file, is select them and then, go to the Tools menu in Bridge, choose Photoshop > Load Files into Photoshop Layers.
The nice thing about this is Photoshop is handling all of the drudge work in opening those files and arranging them to layers so you don't have to open them separately, and drag the layers into a single file. And you can see here in the layers panel, I have my three video layers and they're also showing up here in the timeline. I'm going to go back to my waterfall file, and I'll talk about how you can use the Timeline panel to add video clips to a Photoshop project. Over here on the left hand side there's a little film strip icon, I'm going to click on that, and choose Add Media, and I'm going to go and grab another file.
Click Open, and you can see its added that new video layer here and it's created something called a video group. Now you'll notice that the difference between this file and this file here is that in this file the video layers are showing up in the timeline more like they are in the Layers panel. That is, they're stacked on top of each other. Whereas in my waterfall file, the video layers in the timeline are sequential, one after another, and they're arranged on the same track.
So that's a key concept and we're going to be working with that a lot throughout this course. I'm going to come here to the Timeline panel and on the right side there's a plus button on the track here. I'm going to click that, and that's another way that I can add a video file. So I'm going to choose this one and that one. I'm actually going to add two. And you can see here, those have all been added. Now, if I make my timeline a little bit smaller here with this slider, and scroll through there, you can see that those clips are all arranged sequentially, and that is they're going to play one after the other.
Whereas, in this file here with the light bulb, the clips are all stacked on top of each other. So if I was to hit play on this one here, we're only going to see the light bulb play because that layer is covering up all of the other layers. Now most of the time when I'm doing video composting this is how I like to have my layers arranged, because it makes more sense if we're actually making composites. If you do have files that are arranged like this in the sequential order, you can always ungroup them by coming to the Layers panel and right clicking on the video group and just choosing Ungroup Layers.
They're still going to be arrange sequentially, but they're not going to be on a single track. We'll talk more about the Timeline panel in the next movie. Opening video files in Photoshop is pretty much like opening any other type of file with the addition of those extra buttons in the Timeline panel.
- 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