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Quick Video Effects In Photoshop

Check out our Photoshop: Compositing Workflows in Photoshop course!

Even if you don’t have After Effects you can still create some cool things with video straight from inside Photoshop Extended. In this article I’ll show you a very quick example of what I mean.

First up I’m going to open a QuickTime video of a shark. I got this from Vimeo (just search free HD footage).

free video

Open the Animation panel from the Windows menu. This will allow you to play your footage.

animation panel

In order to use Photoshop effects on your movies you first need to convert them to a Smart Object. Do this by Control-clicking on the layer and choosing Convert to Smart Object.

Convert to Smart object

You can now add any of Photoshops Smart Filters. I’m in the Filter Gallery which is in the Filter menu. 

Add a smart filter

I’ve chosen Paint Daubs just to give my footage a quick stylized effect for this demo. It’s possible to create some really cool effects this way that just aren’t possible even in After Effects.

Paint daubs

Here’s the result:

The result

Next up create a new Layer and fill it with a light tan color. I’ve applied the Texturizer filter set to Sandstone to give it a rough paper kind of look.

Rough paper look

I’ve got a large watercolor brush that I got from Brusheezy. On a new Layer I’m going to click once with a light blue foreground color. 

Watercolor brush

On another new Layer I’m going to rotate the same brush and click again using a light purple.

a iight purple

I’m now going to set the blending mode of both Layers to multiply.

Blending mode to multiply

Going back to my textured paper Layer I’ll create a mask.

Textured paper layer

Using black as my foreground I’ll choose another brush and click to reveal my video layer beneath.

reveal video layer

Without moving the brush I’ll click another two or three times until the mask is painted solid black and the hole in my Layer is fully transparent. You can see the brush layers are covering the footage so we need to hide them.

Hide the brush layers

I need to copy the mask on my reveal Layer onto my brush stroke Layers. I do this by holding Option and dragging the mask to the layer.

copying mask to a new layer

Here you can see the mask is now hiding both the brush stroke layers.

behind the mask

Now I’ll select the texture Layer and apply a drop shadow to give the effect some depth.

Apply a drop shadow

Now I’ll just add a bit of text to complete the scene. 

Adding some text

Here’s the result.

You can use this technique to create overlays for your iMovie projects by simply hiding the movie layer. Here you can see the transparency which will reveal your footage.


You can render your footage by going to Export > Render Video... and choosing your format:

Render menu

These kind of effects are really easy to do in Photoshop so give it a try.

Check out our Photoshop: Compositing Workflows in Photoshop course!

Toby Pitman

Toby Pitman | Articles by this author

For the past 20 years Toby has worked as a professional guitarist, programmer and producer. Clients include Sir Paul McCartney, George Michael, Shirley Bassey, Yusuf Islam, Giles Martin as well as the London 2012 Olympic Ceremonies. He has also worked extensively in TV, Advertising and Film. As well as composing himself he has also worked alongside many composers like David Arnold, Clint Mansell and Simon Franglen on many major film releases. An expert in synthesis and sound design Toby has also lectured for Apple on their Logic Pro music software which he has used since its days on the Atari. He has also worked as an educator for the International Guitar Foundation and the Brighton Institute of Modern Music teaching guitar. In his spare time (of which there is very little) he moonlights as a motion graphics artist specialising in Cinema 4D and After Effects.


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