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Timelapse in Photoshop

Lesson 32 from: Post-Processing for Outdoor and Travel Photographers

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

32. Timelapse in Photoshop

Learn how to easily transform still images into a time-lapse video using Photoshop.
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Lesson Info

Timelapse in Photoshop

why don't we get into how you khun take individual frames that were shot in combine it into motion and we need photo shop to do that but it's pretty painless process so let's take a look I'm going to choose just a siri's of images here I was at the albuquerque balloon fiesta at one point and with it I I liked when they were the balloons had already landed and they start to deflate them I thought it looked kind of interesting so I'm finding a sequence of images here where they're deflating one of the balloons click on the last image of this sequence I'll see if I can find the very beginning of etta's well and let's see right about here get them all selected and now that I could've just all these just go to the develop module you could bring out shattered detail do what if you want we've already talked about adjustments though so I'm going to leave these images as they are I'm just going to talk about getting them to be moving then you remember only created an export preset didn't we cre...

ate one for time lapse we actually created too one scaled down our images so that they were no larger than I think nineteen twenty by ten eighty or something around there and the other I think saved full sized versions well with this one I'm just going to go to the file menu choose export with pre set and there's the one that says nineteen twenty by ten eighty time lapse to the desktop and what that one did I don't remember when we created it but it's just going to scale down the images save them as j pegs and deposit them in a folder on my desktop so I'm going to choose that it might take a little while for it to export because I have one hundred seventy five now it all depends on how many frames per second you end up doing this far how long of a um video that's going to end up being but I'm gonna let that run in as it runs I'm going to talk about what we're going to do with the second series of images now with this siri's of images first off if you look at I think it'll work out fine being full size it's just this thing coming down and I just hold down the orochi you get kind of a preview that was what we're going to do for the first video for the second video though I want to talk about something different and that is that it can often look more compelling if it looks as if the camera was in motion or the camera was zooming over time because then it doesn't feel like you're just sitting there on a tripod looking at something it feels like you're walking around it and so for the second series of images I want to take this siri's here which was yellowstone national park and we just got a bunch of people walking around a bunch of the steam moving around but I thought it would look more interesting instead of sitting there from one position with this why not have it look is if it zoomed up make it look as if we're looking at some of these little people to start with and you see them moving around a little bit and then as you see them moving around a little bit we slowly zoom out until we get to this so that it keeps us against us more attached to the people that are in the scene and then it slowly brings us out to sea in the the whole thing and now we're only really capable of doing that because we didn't shoot with a video camera instead we shot with a still camera that captures a lot more information than that what is really needed for video because video at least hd video is nineteen twenty by ten eighty pixels in size and if I look at one of these images go over on the right side of my screen when I'm in the library to the metadata uh tab one of the things I can get it to show me right now it's such show location is it should be able to show me the width and height and pixels you see these numbers that's how much data my cameras actually capturing much higher than nineteen twenty by ten eighty so if that's the case why not take advantage of all that extra information to make it so we can zoom up on the picture in still haven't looked crisp and therefore we can make it look as if we were using a slide to move the camera and a motor on the lens diz uma which I think will be pretty interesting so in order to do that we're going to end up exporting these images either at their original size or this size a little bit lower than that so what I would usually end up doing is creating a couple different presets in light room for various sizes with time lapses and the priest said that we created and show you what looked like very here to file and cheese export when I come up here to my time lapse preset you'll find that there's one thing that I did that might be different than some other presets and that is I didn't tell it to rename the files I told you to rename it with some custom settings with custom settings were if I choose it it is just type in the word time lapse for the beginning of file and then number it a sequence means just number of the files the reason I do that is because better shop can get a little bit confused if the numbers between all the images are not continuous if it doesn't go one two three four five it skips a number that could cause a problem and so that's why I had to come in here put in a sequence number cancel and then we had to pre sets one that ended up doing them at full size in one that did it the size of video I would use the one for size of video if I don't want it to look as if the camera is in motion all right well it doesn't finished all the images they're here but we have enough in here I think to give us a sense for how to do this here all our files so far so far we have sixty three of them I'm going to use just what we have and so I'm going to cancel the rest of this export you can cancel any expert you like by just clicking on this little expert and in fact you can have more than one export going at a time I'm going to get a few of these going I'll select these and I'll choose file export with pre set and I'll use their other preset here and you can see that when I do that I already have them there which is good because uh oh that's not actually good the precept that I'm using both of them are exporting to a folder called time lapse that's what's in the preset and it also is renaming the files when I do that they're already files there so it just went and said hey wait a minute there's already pictures with those names in them right where you told me to save them so what I'll do here is I'm gonna cancel our export we'll use however many images it's already exported and then when it's done canceling I'm gonna come over here and just put the number one on the end of our folder name therefore if I try to export again it's not going to find a folder of the name that it's gotten it preset so let's try this out and we'll let that run as we work in photoshopped so now I'm gonna switch over to the photo shop and in photo shop you might think you need to know a lot about video and other features in order to do it time lapse but you really don't all you need to do is go to the file menu inches open and in the open dialog box you want to point this to the folder contains your images and just click on the very first image that's in there then at the bottom of the open dialog box there's simply a check box that's his image sequence why it's not called convert to timelapse I don't know but that's exactly what it does all you need to do is click on the very first image that's in the folder and turn on that check box now when you click open you have a a video you do need to tell it how quickly it's just switched between those frames you shouldn't do it really fast like normal video would do which would be thirty frames per second or do you want to slow it down a bit by showing fewer frames every second I might come in here and just slow this down a bit by doing maybe fifteen or twenty francs per second the fewer frames I put in a second longer my video is going to be just because if I put the number one in there one frame per second I would have you know I might like them my video would be the same as how many frames I have in seconds but I click okay so here's our end result it's in here it's actually ready to play if I go up to the window menu there's a choice down near the bottom called timeline and if I choose timeline then this thing comes up and there's just the play button so it's not always really smooth when you play it here in photo shop because it has to manually switch between all those frames and it's not really optimized for video in that way but we can try to play here there we go it's not bad it ended at a pretty good point if you decide that it went too fast or too slow you can go to the side menu of the timeline which is in the upper right corner of it its little icon up there you see right here and if I click there one of the choices in this is set timeline frame rate it asked the star frame right right when we open these images to begin with but you were just guessing at what might look good you can always go to the side menu and increase or decrease it and it'll make your time line's longer shorter based on how many frames per second you told to use you can even come in here in on add audio if you have ah a song that you'd like to use or anything right over here where this little music symbol is you could go over here and choose add audio and then it'll bring up a open dialog box and if you grab one of I don't know what the formats are but relatively standard file format for audio like what I used in in itunes so I just grabbed one of my songs and put it in here it will load it the only thing is it'll load the entire length of the song so your video will end and the song will keep going and you can shorten that by just it will be a green bar down here at the bottom click on it grab the right edge of it and pull it so that it's the same length as this little bar that represents our video that just means trim away your video if you can't see the full length of the songs it's going way off the edge of the screen this little slider at the bottom of your screen zooms in resumes out on the times a timeline making the whole thing look skinnier or look wider so you could get to it anyway let's save this in order to get it out of photo shop I'll go to the file menu and there's a choice called export and I'm going to find a choice and they're called render video and that's what's going to create a file where it'll play smoother and other programs because it will be compressed in composited together in a proper not format for that so here at the top I can give it a name and I can tell it where to save it put it on my desktop and then you have a bunch of different settings and I'm not an expert on video when it comes to exactly what's used but h two six four works fine for most images you could google some of these sayings to see what other things you might want to change but in general I find that these settings age to six sport can work find or you gonna back you could try quick time but I'm going click render and now it's compiling all those images into a true video file that's optimized to be played in any program that can handle video so I should be able to go to my desktop I find that if I double click on it it should open in this case quick time player hit play and you can see our end result and so I could upload that to youtube I could send it friends I could do whatever I like but was it relatively easy to make a time lapse mainly in the open dialog box you had to know what one check box meant at the bottom and then on the timeline if you wanted to change how long it issue could go to the side menu and say you want to set the frame rate and that's the main thing we did when we were done we went to the file menu chose export but now it's learned to be a little fancier than that I'm gonna close this image and since I've already rendered out the video I don't need to save the photo shop by a file I don't plan to come back to it and I don't know if light room is done it looks like it might be exporting our images yes it is I don't see a progress bar so let's just double check that it did what I think it would there should be another folder on my desktop yep it's right here called timelapse those are the images that it was exporting while we were playing in photo shop and so let's create our second time lapse in photo shop will simply go to the file menu I'm going to choose new I'm sorry not new open and we don't want to be in that folder called time lapse one because that's the one we just worked with the one we want is just called time lapse click on the very first image turn on image sequence and then click okay click open now it might take a little while for it to open this because these air high rez pictures these air the full resolution of my camera which is a ridiculous amount of information much more than you need for video but it means that we can do some pretty interesting things with it the first thing I'm going to do is I'm going to take this layer and converted into a smart object what a smart object is going to do is it's going to preserve the original contents so that if I ever scale this image to make it look larger or smaller it will always calculate it from the original of image and it won't ever permanently apply it it's just going to make it more versatile for us to scale there's a couple different ways to turn things into a smart object I usually just go to the filter menu and there's a choice called convert for smart filters all that means it should be called convert to smart object that's what it does there just putting it here to suggest that you use it before you use filters and you'll see the layers panel this icon will change to look slightly different that indicates a smart object and let's first just see what our video looks like I'm going to hit the play button see if I can even handle playing a file this big I doubt it's going to be very smooth but see when the camera's still it's just kind of not that exciting let's see if we can make it more interesting so what I'm going to do to make it more interesting is if you look down where the time line is there's a play head and that's the little a blue triangle like thing with the red line coming out of it that's the part of the video we're currently looking at I can grab that drag it to get to various parts I'm gonna put it in the beginning and let's see if I could maybe crop this image I could use the crop to let's see if I can do it with a selection tool instead I'm going to tell it to use a fixed size in high definition video is nineteen twenty pixels by ten eighty pixels px means pixels and I can come in here and with those numbers typed in that's how big high definition video is meaning we can zoom up to make that much fill our screen and we still have enough information to make the image look good so I could do that and let's see if I can come over here and choose crop now because I have a smart object it did not actually throw away the information that's beyond the edges if I go back to the crop tool and I grab one of these size do you see the full image is still there whereas had I not had a smart object then photoshopped could have thrown away that information but this is what we're going to start off with what zoom up on it so that will look nice to see the nice little details going on then what I'm gonna end up doing is simply scaling the layer that we have over time so after cropping the image how can we figure out how to get photoshopped to track what I do when I scale it well if you look here this purple bar represents our video and if you go to the far left side there's a triangle I can use to expand and these are the various things that can keep track of overtime well the one called transform that means moving in scaling you know you could go to the edit menu there's a choice called free transform and the other kind of transforms that's what it's talking about there's a little stopwatch icon there I'm gonna click on it which means keep track of this so right now the play heads of the beginning of the video and I have on my screen it cropped to the area I want to show at the beginning of my video now all I need to do is grab the play head and move it to the end all the way to the end and then I need to transform that layer which means move it with the move tool or scale it with something like free transform so let's do that all I'm going to do is go to the edit menu and I'm going to choose where is it free transform that's where you can scale in rotate so I'll choose that if you if the little handles are beyond the edge of your screen you can type command zero command zero means fit in window usually when you're transforming it thinks about that transformation handles when it consider spitting within the window so I'm going to grab the corner here pull it down like that gonna grab the opposite corner appear pull it down and get us much of that is I think would be appropriate press returner enter to say I'm done and then I'll zoom up on the image command zero means fit in window so this is where we're going to be at the end of our video now it should remember that change that I made is long as I had this thing turned on right here where I clipped on little will stop washes say record what I'm doing with transformation and what happens is it made a little diamond mark right there to say I recorded it right there because you made a change there's another one of these diamonds at the very very beginning if I were to scroll far enough the left you see the other diamond right there that means I made a change when the play head was here and I made the second change when the play head was there so let's see if we can play this thing back I don't know if it's going to be ableto handle twenty frames per second with this high resolution but once we export it it'll be fine I'm going tio to just tap this icon that looks like an arrow pointing to the left at a bar that just means bring me to the beginning of the video and then I'll hit play and let's see what we're getting see it's really choppy here it doesn't feel like it's going to look very good but that's just because it's trying to process really huge file in order to produce this but doesn't it feel like the cameras in motion when you're going through it and it should end up with it all the way zoomed out so then all we need to do now to get it to play smoothly is to go up here to the file menu choose export and let's render that video so it renders each individual frame and compresses it and puts it together yeah just use the same settings that we're in here h two six four on I'll have it put on my desktop render this might take a little while just because it's uh have to scale each little part and created but the main thing is that it's optimizing it a moment so that when we play it back and something else it should play just a smoothly as any other video you ever play other than whatever our frame rate is might cause it to be jumping if you tell it to only show you four frames per second that's really slow that's like boom boom you know instead of being really fast going by their work feels smooth so the only thing that would make this not feel very smooth when played back is our choice on the francs per second so let's see if we can play this back I'll do a little uh try having a little full screen it's not a very long video if we changed our frames per second brought it down a little bit or if I were to just shoot more frames when I was out there but that's pretty cool considering that my cameras you sitting on a tripod I didn't have any of the fancy gear that people usually used to do time lapse where it has a slider and that type of thing and because I'm this far away it does look a lot like I had the expensive gear the time it's not going to look anything like using the real gear is if when there's both near and far objects if there are things really close to the camera it's not going to truly look like the camera's moving because usually those objects let's just say it's a poll of some sort usually it would change relative to its background you'd see both moving in a different amount where's we're going to see him moving together it doesn't quite have the same feeling but when everything is really far away like it isn't here there's not gonna be much of a difference the main thing I would need here for a better video simply more frames to make this so it goes slower that any questions or comments about that what's your favorite way of exporting if you're going to put it to like facebook uh I don't do it very often to facebook stuff but I mean as far as I know and before would work okay try to upload it let's I wonder I have I've actually never tried uploading video from light room to facebook I don't even know if it could do it but we could try it ok sure it might fail on this miserable miserably though um but anyway that's the general process I don't do a tremendous number of time lapse images my wife karen actually is the person on our our family could say that it's the time lapse person she's out there shooting them and putting them together all the time I just show you how to do it and when you when you're doing your time lapse do you tend to prefer photoshopped toe light room or vice versa ben I prefer photoshopped light room I mean in here I prefer it because I can do the panning and zooming and things I can't do any of those kind of things that I know if in light room s oh yeah I like doing it here um when you're done if you want to get rid of the timeline just go this side menu and there's a choice called close tab group and that means this group of tabs at the bottom you'll be back to how you might be used to

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Bonus Packet
Post Processing Practice Files

Ratings and Reviews


After catching parts of each of the three days, I knew that I would need to have access to this wealth of information. What is great about the program is the ability to stop and go back over something that is not fully understood...and be able to do that until confident enough to move on. I saw no "fluff" in the course, just great information imparted with a style that is makes it easy to understand. CreativeLive scored a big hit with this course! The bonus material is SO valuable, especially the presets. That saves an enormous amount of time for me. My appreciation of the power behind the software is becoming ever clearer. Thanks, Ben, for another outstanding presentation!

Shannon Beelman Photography

Ben has been amazing! He is a wealth of information on organizing images as well as great tips to make your travel images pop just a little more. I came into this class feeling like I had a good handle on lightroom and have come out with a better understanding of the power of the software to make artistic life easier. He covers tips, tricks and little known options that help make workflow smother. I have sat here watching as much of the free broadcast as I can and in this last week I have gotten control over years of images in my lightroom. This is one I know I will be buying soon.


Great class! Somehow, it was enjoyable not having Ben default to "curves for everything"! I don't think the title for this course did it justice, tho. This class was 90% Light Room and 10% Photoshop. I was very happy to discover that dynamic and equally as happy to purchase this course! If you are new to Light Room, this class is a MUST. Creative Live offers several LR classes but this is the one to own. Ben is working on his new book about Light Room Mastery - can't wait! In the meanwhile, I'll be watching Ben's thorough approach to LR in this video. So, don't let the title throw you a curve ball, if you are new to Light Room or a seasoned user, there's plenty of great information - delivered as only Ben can! Thanks CL for this great class!

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