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Using Advanced Editing Techniques for Video in Photoshop

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This chapter shows you how to add the cool Photoshop effects that make your videos look more polished. You will learn about multi-track editing, how layers and Blend modes work with video, and how to mix different types of media on a Timeline. But don’t worry; the learning curve is not difficult.
This chapter is from the book

At this point you’ve learned some of the editing basics of importing, trimming, and moving footage. But there is so much more that you can do with video in Photoshop. Throughout the rest of the book you’ll learn about all kinds of features and techniques. This chapter is the first step of that discovery process.

Here you’ll start to add the cool effects that make your videos look more polished. You will learn about multi-track editing, how layers and Blend modes work with video, and how to mix different types of media on a Timeline. But don’t worry; the learning curve is not difficult.


Transitions help you create a smooth change between different clips of footage. You may have noticed in the footage that you’ve cut so far that the transitions are jarring. The video plays from one clip and then jumps to the next one. A nice cross dissolve transition would make this shift a little smoother. The good news is that Photoshop makes it very easy to apply this kind of effect. There are five different types of transitions in Photoshop:

  • Fade. This effect fades the footage to transparency over time. It is ideal to use if the clip is stacked on top of another clip.
  • Cross Fade. This effect creates a smooth blending fade with the adjacent clip on the Timeline.
  • Fade With Black. This effect fades the clip to or from a solid black color
  • Fade With White. This effect fades the clip to or from a solid white color.
  • Fade With Color. This effect fades the clip to or from a customized color. When you click this transition, a color swatch appears at the lower right of the panel for you to choose a color you want to use.

The Duration option determines the span of time that the transition will appear. A short duration will produce a more sudden change, whereas a longer duration will create a smooth, slow change. The number you enter in the Duration box will be the default timing for all transitions when they are applied.

Applying Transition Effects

Let’s add some transitions to the footage you were working with in Chapter 3:

  1. Open the project ch4.psd (either your saved project file so far, or the one I have provided for you in the download that comes with this book in the ch4 folder). This is where you left off with the beach scene in the previous chapter (Figure 4.1).
    Figure 4.1

    Figure 4.1. The project is opened and ready to add transitions to.

  2. Click the Transitions button at the left of the Timeline to open the Transitions panel and see a list of available transitions (Figure 4.2).
    Figure 4.2

    Figure 4.2. Click the button to open the Transitions window.

  3. Click the Fade option, and change the default transition time to 2 seconds either by clicking the triangle and dragging the slider or by simply typing 2 in the Duration field (Figure 4.3). All transitions applied will now be 2 seconds long by default until you enter a different value in the Duration field.
    Figure 4.3

    Figure 4.3. Change the Duration value of the transition in the Transitions panel.

  4. To apply a transition, drag the transition you desire from the Transitions panel and drop it on the Timeline at the beginning or end of a clip you want to affect. If you want to apply a Fade effect (as in this example), drop it where the two clips meet (Figure 4.4).
    Figure 4.4

    Figure 4.4. Apply a transition effect.

  5. Apply a Fade transition between the second and third clip, too. Click the Play button (or press the spacebar) to play the video to see how the transitions affect the video (Figure 4.5).
    Figure 4.5

    Figure 4.5. The transitions in action.

  6. Try a different type of transition. Drag a Fade With Black transition to the end of the Timeline, as shown in Figure 4.6. You may have to adjust the Timeline magnification slider or scroll the bottom scroll bar to see the end of the clips on the Timeline. When you view the video now, it will fade to black at the end. This is a common way to end a video; it’s elegant and really gives viewers the impression of closure.
    Figure 4.6

    Figure 4.6. Applying a Fade With Black transition effect.

Modifying Transition Effects

After you’ve applied a transition to a clip, you can easily modify it. You can change the timing of the transition or the type of transition, or choose to remove the transition entirely.

  1. Select the transition on the Timeline by clicking on it (Figure 4.7). A rectangle with two triangles appears.
    Figure 4.7

    Figure 4.7. Select the transition on the Timeline.

  2. Drag the edge of the transition to change the duration. As you drag you’ll see a display telling you the new duration. Continue to drag to make the transition shorter or longer (Figure 4.8).
    Figure 4.8

    Figure 4.8. Drag to change the duration.

  3. To more precisely change the duration or to access more options, right-click on the transition (Figure 4.9):

    • Change the Duration by moving the slider which appears as soon as you click the triangle or by typing in a new number.
    • Click the drop-down menu next to the transition name and choose a different type of transition.
    • Click the trash can icon to remove the transition.
    Figure 4.9

    Figure 4.9. The transition options on the Timeline.

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