Note:

For Photoshop versions earlier than Photoshop CC, some functionality discussed in this article may be available only if you have Photoshop Extended. Photoshop CC does not have a separate Extended offering. All features in Photoshop Extended are part of Photoshop CC.

Transform video layers

You can transform a video layer as you transform any other layer in Photoshop. However, you must convert video layers to Smart Objects before you can transform them.

  1. In the Timeline or Layers panel, select the video layer.

  2. Do any of the following:
    • Choose Edit > Free Transform to use handles in the document window to transform the video.
    • Choose Edit > Transform and choose a specific transformation from the submenu.

    If the video layer is not a Smart Object, Photoshop asks you to convert it.

Create new video layers

You can create new video layers by adding a video file as a new layer or creating a blank layer.

Open a video file

  • Choose File > Open, select a video file, and click Open.

The video appears on a video layer in a new document.

Add a video file as a new video layer

  1. For the active document, make sure that the Timeline panel is displayed in timeline mode.

  2. Choose Layer > Video Layers > New Video Layer From File.
  3. Select a video or image sequence file and click Open.

Add a blank video layer

  1. For the active document, make sure that the Timeline panel is displayed in the timeline mode.

  2. Choose Layer > Video Layers > New Blank Video Layer.

Specify when a layer appears in a video or animation

You can use various methods to specify when a layer appears in a video or animation. For example, you can trim (hide) frames at the beginning or end of a layer. This changes the layer’s start and end points in a video or animation. (The first frame to appear is called the In point, and the last frame is called the Out point.) You can also drag the entire layer duration bar to a different portion of the timeline.

  1. In the Timeline panel, select the layer.

  2. Do any of the following:
    • To specify the In and Out points of a layer, drag the beginning and end of the layer duration bar.
    • Drag the layer duration bar to the section of the timeline where you want the layer to appear.

    Note:

    For best results, drag the layer duration bar after the bar has been trimmed.

    Photoshop Drag layer duration bar
    Layers (In timeline mode) with the layer duration bar selected to drag

    • Move the current-time indicator to the frame you want as the new In or Out point, and from the panel menu, choose Trim Layer Start To Current Time or Trim Layer End To Current Time.

    This shortens the layer duration by hiding the frames between the current-time indicator and either the start or the end of the layer. (Re-extending the ends of the layer duration bar reveals the hidden frames.)

    • Use keyframes to change the layer’s opacity at specific times or frames.

    Note:

    To delete footage in one or more layers, use the Lift Work Area command. To delete a specific duration from all video or animated layers, use the Extract Work Area command.

Trim or move a video layer

To hide frames at the start or end of a video or animation layer, trim the layer. To start or end video at a different time point, move the video layer.

Note:

If you move video layers, changes become permanent when you save the file. If you trim video, however, you can restore it by re-extending the ends of the layer duration bar.

  1. In the Timeline or Layers panel, select the layer you want to edit.

  2. Move the current-time indicator to the frame (or time) you want as the new In point or Out point.
  3. From the Timeline panel menu, choose one of the following options:

    Move Layer In Point To Current Time

    Permanently moves the start of the layer to the current-time indicator.

    Move Layer End Point To Current Time

    Permanently moves the end of the layer to the current-time indicator.

    Trim Layer Start To Current Time

    Temporarily hides section from the current-time indicator to the start of the layer.

    Trim Layer End To Current Time

    Temporarily hides section from the current-time indicator to the end of the layer.

Note:

You can also use the Lift Work Area command to hide frames in one or more layers, or the Extract Work Area command to hide a specific duration in all layers of a video or animation.

Lift work area

A section of the footage in selected layers can be deleted, leaving a gap of the same duration as the removed section.

  1. Select the layers you want to edit.
  2. In the Timeline panel, set the work area to specify the duration of the selected layers you want to omit.

  3. From the panel menu, choose Lift Work Area.

Photoshop Before applying Lift Work Area
Layers before applying the Lift Work Area command

Photoshop After applying Lift Work Area
Layers after applying the Lift Work Area command

Extract work area

To delete portions of video and automatically remove the time gap, use the Extract Work Area command. The remaining content is copied to new video layers.

  1. Select the layers you want to edit.
  2. In the Timeline panel, set the work area to specify the duration of the video or animation that you want to omit.

  3. From the panel menu, choose Extract Work Area.

Split video layers

A video layer can be split into two new video layers at the frame you specify.

  1. Select a video layer in the Timeline panel.

  2. Move the current-time indicator to the time or frame number where you want to split the video layer.
  3. Click the panel menu icon , and choose Split Layer.

    The selected video layer is duplicated and appears immediately above the original in the Timeline panel. The original layer is trimmed from the start to the current time, and the duplicate layer is trimmed from the end to the current time.

Photoshop Before using Split Layer
Original layer before using the Split Layer command

Photoshop After using Split Layer
Resulting two layers after using the Split Layer command

Group layers in a video or animation

As you add more layers to your video or animation, you might want to organize them into a hierarchy by grouping the layers. Photoshop preserves the frames in your video or animation in grouped layers.

You can also group a group of layers. Besides nesting your layers in a more complex hierarchy, grouping a group of layers lets you simultaneously animate the opacity of all the grouped layers. The Animation panel displays a group of grouped layers with a common opacity layer property.

Note:

Grouping video layers in Photoshop is similar to precomposing in Adobe After Effects.

  • In the Layers panel, select two or more layers and do one of the following:
    • Choose Layer > Group Layers.
    • Choose Layer > Smart Objects > Convert to Smart Object.

Rasterize video layers

When you rasterize video layers, the selected layer is flattened to a composite of the current frame selected in the Animation panel. Although it’s possible to rasterize more than one video layer at a time, you’ll only be able to specify the current frame for the topmost video layer.

  1. In the Layers panel, select the video layer.
  2. In the Timeline panel, move the current-time indicator to the frame that you want preserved when you rasterize the video layer.

  3. Do either of the following:
    • Choose Layer > Rasterize > Video.
    • Choose Layer > Rasterize > Layer.

    Note:

    To rasterize more than one video layer at a time, select the layers in the Layers panel, set the current-time indicator to the frame you want to preserve in the topmost video layer, and then choose Layer > Rasterize > Layers.

Video tutorial: How to create animated GIFs

Video tutorial: How to create animated GIFs
Photoshop Principal Product Manager Bryan O'Neil Hughes explains how to create animated GIFs in this episode of the Photoshop Playbook.
Adobe Photoshop

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