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Photoshop for Video with Avid or FCP

Here is a fantastic tutorial on how to use all your favorite Photoshop filters for video.


This training lesson is invaluable for anyone who uses Photoshop. We'll show you how to create a droplet that will process a set of actions so Photoshop will automatically do all the processing for you.

First, you need to export a sequential image sequence from your favorite non-linear editing program. Both Final Cut Pro and Avid Xpress support this type of export option.

First, you need to create two folders. Create a folder called 'Sequential Images', and create another folder called 'processed images'. I recommend creating both of these files on your desktop so they are readily available.


Now you need to export an image sequence of a clip that you want to process. Inside your Sequential Files folder you should now have 1 picture for every frame of video. I recommend export your files using the jpeg compression format. This will speed up the processing time within Photoshop.


Remember, in most cases, you will have 30 pictures for every frame of video. 3 seconds of video equals 30 images.


After you have exported your sequential files, you will need to open Photoshop. In this example I am using Photoshop CS. Navigate to the file menu and open one of your image files. You will use it as a reference to create a filter that will be applied to all the frames in your image sequence.

Before applying the filter, navigate to the Actions Tab within Photoshop CS. Click on the 'create action' button in the lower right corner. This will start the recording process. Be careful that you do not make any unnecessary mistakes, because every function will be recorded within the Action.


After the recording process begins, navigate to the Photoshop filters menu and select the 'Stylize – Glowing Edges filter'. Adjust the parameters as you desire. After applying the glowing edges filter, it is critical that you perfrom a 'save as' function. This will be recorded as part of the action. The 'save-as' location is not important.


After performing the 'Save-as' function, make sure you stop the action. Now you're ready to create a droplet!


Creating a droplet can be tricky, so here are the critical settings. After you've entered in these settings, you won't need to enter them again for future droplets that you create.

Save Droplet In: Give your droplet a name. It should be a descriptive name based on the action you created. In this example it's named 'Glowing Edges'.

Play Action: Make sure you tell your droplet which action to play. In this case it would be Action 1. Also make sure you check 'Include all Sub Folders'.

DestinationThis part is critical. Make sure you specify a folder for your new image sequence. Preferrably, you will always leave a folder available on your desktop with this name. This way you don't have to worry about additional droplets that you create saving image sequences into different folders. Finally, click the override Action "Save As" Commands. Click on the OK button to create your droplet.


Now you can drag a folder of images onto your droplet, and Photoshop will automatically process all the images and put them into the 'processed images' folder.


The last step is to import the finished image sequence into your non-linear editing program. If you are using any of the Avid software products which include any of the Avid Xpress or Media Composer products, you only need to import the first frame of the image sequence. Just make sure 'autodetect sequential files' is selected in your import settings.


*For Final Cut Pro users, you will need to use QuickTime Pro to open an image sequence. You only need to open the first frame, QuickTime Pro will find all the other frames in the image sequence for you. Then you can save a self-contained movie directly out of QuickTime Pro.

That's it! Now you can create additional droplet's that will process your favorite Photoshop filters.


*There is one small intermittant bug that I've run across. If your droplet is 'dead' and does not work. Drag the droplet icon into any OS X or Windows XP folder, and drag it back out of the folder. This will fix the 'dead' droplet.

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Avid Xpress Pro / Media Composer Loop Clip was the previous entry in this blog.

Avid Xpress Creating a Moving Film Strip is the next entry in this blog.

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