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

About video layers

You can use Photoshop to edit individual frames of video and image sequence files. In addition to using any Photoshop tool to edit and paint on video, you can also apply filters, masks, transformations, layers styles, and blending modes. After making edits, you can save the document as a PSD file (that can be played back in other Adobe applications such as Premiere Pro and After Effects or accessed as a static file in other applications), or you can render it as a QuickTime movie or image sequence.


You can work only with the visual images in a video file, not the audio.

When you open a video file or image sequence in Photoshop, the frames are contained within a video layer. In the Layers panel, a video layer is identified with a filmstrip icon . Video layers let you paint and clone on individual frames using the brush tools and stamp tools. Like working with regular layers, you can create selections or apply masks to restrict your edits to specific areas of a frame. You navigate through the frames using the timeline mode in the Animation panel (Window > Animation).


Video layers do not work when the Animation panel is in Frame mode.

You work with video layers just like regular layers by adjusting the blending mode, opacity, position, and layer style. You can also group video layers in the Layers panel. Adjustment layers let you apply color and tonal adjustments non-destructively to the video layers.

If you prefer to make your frame edits on a separate layer, you can create a blank video layer. Blank video layers also let you create hand-drawn animations.


A video layer references the original file, so that edits to the video layer don’t alter the original video or image sequence file. To maintain the link to the original file, ensure that it remains in the same location relative to the PSD file. For more information, see Replace footage in a video layer.

Supported video and image sequence formats

You can open video files and image sequences in the following formats.

QuickTime video formats

  • MPEG‑1 (.mpg or .mpeg)

  • MPEG‑4 (.mp4 or .m4v)

  • MOV

  • AVI

  • MPEG‑2 is supported if an MPEG‑2 encoder is installed on your computer.

Image sequence formats

  • BMP


  • JPEG

  • OpenEXR

  • PNG

  • PSD

  • Targa

  • TIFF

  • Cineon and JPEG 2000 are supported if the plug‑ins are installed.

Color mode and bit depth

Video layers can contain files in the following color modes and bits per channel (bpc):

  • Grayscale: 8, 16, or 32 bpc

  • RGB: 8, 16, or 32 bpc

  • CMYK: 8 or 16 bpc

  • Lab: 8 or 16 bpc

Animation panel overview

An animation is a sequence of images, or frames, that is displayed over time. Each frame varies slightly from the preceding frame, creating the illusion of movement or other changes when the frames are viewed in quick succession.

In the standard edition of earlier versions of Photoshop, the Animation panel (Window > Animation) appears in frame mode, showing a thumbnail of each frame in your animation. Use the tools at the bottom of the panel to navigate through the frames, set looping options, add and delete frames, and preview the animation.

The Animation panel menu contains additional commands for editing frames or timeline durations, and for configuring the panel display. Click the panel menu icon to view available commands.

Photoshop Animation panel in frame mode
Animation panel (frame mode)

A. Selects the first frame B. Selects the previous frame C. Plays animation D. Selects the next frame E. Tweens animation frames F. Duplicates selected frames G. Deletes selected frames H. Converts to timeline mode I. Animation panel menu 

You can use the Animation panel in either frame mode or timeline mode. Timeline mode shows the frame duration and animation properties for document layers. Use the tools at the bottom of the panel to navigate through frames, zoom the time display in or out, toggle onion skin mode, delete keyframes, and preview the video. You can use controls on the timeline itself to adjust frame duration for a layer, set keyframes for layer properties, and designate a section of the video as the working area.

Photoshop Animation panel in timeline mode
Animation panel (timeline mode)

A. Enable audio playback B. Zoom out C. Zoom slider D. Zoom in E. Toggle onion skins F. Delete keyframes G. Convert to frame animation 

In timeline mode, the Animation panel displays each layer in a Photoshop document (except the background layer) and is synchronized with the Layers panel. Whenever a layer is added, deleted, renamed, grouped, duplicated, or assigned a color, the changes are updated in both panels.


When animated layers are grouped as a Smart Object, the animation information from the Animation panel is stored in the Smart Object. See also Work with Smart Objects.

Frame mode controls

In frame mode, the Animation panel includes the following controls:

Looping Options

Sets the number of times an animation plays when exported as an animated GIF file.

Frame Delay Time

Sets the duration of a frame during playback.

Tween Animation Frames 

Adds a series of frames between two existing frames, interpolating (varying) the layer properties evenly between the new frames.

Duplicate Selected Frames 

Adds a frame to the animation by duplicating the selected frame in the Animation panel.

Convert To Timeline Animation

Converts a frame animation to timeline animation using keyframes to animate layer properties.

Timeline mode controls

In timeline mode, the Animation panel includes the following features and controls:

Cached frames indicator

Displays a green bar to indicate the frames that are cached for playback.

Comments track

Choose Edit Timeline Comment from the panel menu to insert a text comment at the current time. Comments appear as icons  in the comments track. Move the pointer over these icons to display comments as tool tips. Double-click these icons to revise comments. To navigate from one comment to the next, click the Go To Previous  or Go To Next  buttons at the far left of the Comments track.


To create an HTML table listing the time, frame number, and text of each comment, choose Export Timeline Comments from the panel menu.

Convert To Frame Animation

Converts a timeline animation using keyframes to frame animation.

Timecode Or frame number display

Shows the timecode or frame number (depending on panel options) for the current frame.

Current-time indicator 

Drag the current-time indicator to navigate frames or change the current time or frame.

Global Lighting track

Displays keyframes where you set and change the master lighting angle for layer effects such as Drop Shadow, Inner Shadow, and Bevel and Emboss.

Keyframe navigator   

Arrow buttons to the left of a track label move the current-time indicator to the previous or next keyframe from its current position. Click the center button to add or delete a keyframe at the current time.

Layer duration bar

Specifies a layer’s place in time within a video or animation. To move the layer to another place in time, drag the bar. To trim (adjust the duration of) a layer, drag either end of the bar.

Altered Video track

For video layers, displays a duration bar for altered frames. To jump to altered frames, use the keyframe navigator to the left of the track label.

Time ruler

Measures duration (or frame count) horizontally, according to the document’s duration and frame rate. (Choose Document Settings from the panel menu to change duration or frame rate.) Tick marks and numbers appear along the ruler and change in spacing with the zoom setting of the timeline.

Time-Vary stopwatch 

Enables or disables keyframing for a layer property. Select this option to insert a keyframe and enable keyframing for a layer property. Deselect to remove all keyframes and disable keyframing for a layer property.

Animation panel menu

Includes functions affecting keyframes, layers, panel appearance, onion skinning, and document settings.

Work area indicators

Drag the blue tab at either end of the topmost track to mark the specific portion of the animation or video that you want to preview or export.

Change thumbnail size

In the Animation panel, you can change the size of the thumbnails that represent each frame or layer.

  1. Choose Panel Options from the Animation panel menu.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • Select a size option.
    • In timeline mode, select None to display only layer names.

Switch timeline units

You can display the Animation panel timeline in either frame number or timecode units.

  • To select units to display, choose Panel Options from the Animation panel menu and select Frame Numbers or Timecode.
  • To toggle between units, Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac OS) the current-time display in the upper-left corner of the timeline.

Show or hide layer properties in the timeline

As you add layers to a document, they appear as tracks in the timeline. Expand layer tracks to show layer properties that can be animated.

  1. To show or hide layer properties, click the triangle to the left of the layer name.

Show or hide layers in the timeline

All document layers appear in the timeline by default. To show only a subset of layers, first set them as favorites.

  1. In timeline mode, select one or more layers from the Animation panel, then choose Show > Set Favorite Layers in the Animation panel menu.
  2. To specify which layers are displayed, choose Show from the Animation panel menu, then select All Layers or Favorite Layers.
  1. With the Animation panel in timeline mode, do any of the following:
    • Drag the current-time indicator .
    • Click a number or location in the time ruler where you want to position the current-time indicator.
    • Drag the current-time display (in the upper-left corner of the timeline).
    • Double-click the current-time display and enter a frame number or time in the Set Current Time dialog box.
    • Use the playback controls in the Animation panel.
    • Choose Go To in the Animation panel menu, and then choose a timeline option.

Switch animation modes

You can use the Animation panel in either frame or timeline animation mode. Frame mode shows each separate frame, letting you set unique duration and layer properties for each. Timeline mode shows frames in a continuous timeline, letting you animate properties with keyframes and play video layers.

Ideally, you should select the mode you want before starting an animation. However, it’s possible to switch animation modes in an open document, converting a frame animation to a timeline animation, or vice versa.


You may lose some interpolated keyframes when converting a timeline animation to a frame animation. The animation appearance doesn’t change, however.

  1. In the Animation panel, do any of the following:
    • Click the Convert To Frame Animation icon .
    • Click the Convert To Timeline Animation icon .
    • From the Animation panel menu, choose either Convert To Frame Animation or Convert To Timeline.

Specify timeline duration and frame rate

When you are working in timeline mode, you can specify the duration and frame rate of a document containing video or animation. Duration is the overall time length of the video clip, from the first frame you specify to the last. Frame rate or frames per second (fps), is usually determined by the type of output you produce: NTSC video has a frame rate of 29.97 fps; PAL video has a frame rate of 25 fps; and motion picture film has a frame rate of 24 fps. Depending on the broadcast system, DVD video can have the same frame rate as NTSC video or PAL video, or a frame rate of 23.976. Video intended for CD‑ROM or the web typically has a frame rate of 10 to 15 fps.

When you create a new document, the default timeline duration is 10 seconds. The frame rate depends on the chosen document preset. For non-video presets (like International Paper), the default rate is 30 fps. For video presets, the rate is 25 fps for PAL and 29.97 for NTSC.

  1. From the Animation panel menu, choose Document Settings.
  2. Enter or choose values for Duration and Frame Rate.


Reducing the duration of an existing video or animation has the effect of trimming frames (and any keyframes) from the end of the document.