Animating on Photoshop

Explorer ,
Sep 04, 2022 Sep 04, 2022

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Hi! I just started trying to create an animation on Photoshop. The problem is I can't figure out how to export the video and keep it looking the same way it does when I play it in Photoshop. First of all, the white lines move either slower or faster. I tried keeping it at the Document Frame Rate of 30 and the exported video has the white lines moving WAY faster than when it's in Photoshop. I tried estimating the number of frames per second within Photoshop and it seems like it's only 12! But then when I tried it at that setting, it moved way slower than what was in Photoshop. Perhaps related to this, is the videos are only exporting for a total of one second for some reason.

 

See attached screengrab for how it's supposed to look!

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Community Expert ,
Sep 04, 2022 Sep 04, 2022

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What settings (including file format) are you using when you export the video?

How are you playing back the exported video, where you notice the problem?

 

It looks like a frame animation, so that would typically be exported as an animated GIF file. But how an animated GIF file plays back can vary greatly depending on what program is playing it back. For example, in which web browser does the problem happen? Or are you previewing it using the QuickLook feature in the macOS Finder desktop?

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Explorer ,
Sep 04, 2022 Sep 04, 2022

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I'm trying to export it as an .mp4. The document frame rate says it is at 30 fps. Right now I have 24 frames in my document all with no delays. As I noted it is exporting the video as only one second long, and I think the problem is that it's just trying to squeeze everything into that one second. (When I play the mp4 the video is only one second long and it is SUPER fast, whereas in Photoshop it takes 2 seconds and it plays back at the correct, slower speed.)

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Explorer ,
Sep 04, 2022 Sep 04, 2022

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And so, I just tried exporting through Save as Web as a GIF, and the video does not get squeezed into one second as it does as a .mp4, but it is definitely slower than it is in Photoshop. See screengrab for side by side. 

 

As far as which file type I prefer - .mp4 or GIF - I would love to have it working properly in both!

 

Thank you 🙂

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Explorer ,
Sep 05, 2022 Sep 05, 2022

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bump!

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Community Expert ,
Sep 06, 2022 Sep 06, 2022

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Sorry about the delay…it was a three-day holiday weekend in the United States. Anyway, thanks to your additional info, I think you might be running into a fundamental difference in the way playback speed and duration is handled by traditional video vs. animated GIF. This is something that’s not often discussed, so it’s easy to miss.

 

Traditional video is very strict about the frame rate and duration of the overall clip, obviously so that you can count on a video to play back consistently on any video equipment. But animated GIF is set up to be driven by the duration of each frame, which is totally different. Also, if frame duration is set to 0 sec, that tells an animated GIF player to simply throw the frames on the screen as fast as it can…so the actual playback duration can vary a lot depending on the speed of the computer it’s viewed on.

 

You can see that difference in time handling in the Photoshop Timeline panel, which accommodates both. If you set up a Frame Animation, you get to set each frame to a duration,  and individual frames can be different durations. But there is no frame rate or overall duration — those are derived from the individual frame durations. Now, if you choose Export > Render Video directly from here, you are crossing over from frame animation to traditional video, so the time calculation must change: The number of frames is mapped directly to the frame rate. So if you have 24 frames and you set Render Video to 30 frames per second, then you will get an exported video of 800 milliseconds (8/10ths sec). Because 24 frames is not enough to fill one 30fps second of video.

 

If I’m right about this, there are two ways you can get the duration you want:

 

  • Create the animation timeline with 60 frames. So that when you render out traditional video set to 30 frames a second, the 60 animation frames will map to two seconds of 30 frames each. 
  • Click the Convert to Video Timeline button, which converts the animation frames into a single video clip. The clip starts out 24 frames long (less than one second at 30fps), so drag the right edge of the converted clip until it reaches the duration you want. The disadvantage of this method is you lose control over the individual frames, so if you want to be able to continue adjusting the animation, use the first method instead. 

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Explorer ,
Sep 06, 2022 Sep 06, 2022

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I just created 60 frames and tried exporting it. The video is now two seconds long, but it is playing WAY faster than it does when played from the PS timeline. If I count how many frames pass by on the timeline per second, I get 12. 

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Explorer ,
Sep 12, 2022 Sep 12, 2022

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Anyone...? 

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Community Expert ,
Sep 12, 2022 Sep 12, 2022

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@austinmdiamond wrote:

I just created 60 frames and tried exporting it. The video is now two seconds long, but it is playing WAY faster than it does when played from the PS timeline. If I count how many frames pass by on the timeline per second, I get 12. 


 

If my understanding is correct, when the Timeline panel is in Frame Animation mode, and you have frames set to 0 seconds, you probably can’t preview exactly what the exported duration will be. Again, web browsers treat 0 seconds as “play this as fast as you can” which varies depending on the hardware, software, and frame size of the animation, so the one thing you won’t be able to expect from Frame Animation is a duration consistent across players.

 

If that applies to Photoshop as well (and I don’t exactly know if it does, but I am guessing that it might), then when the Timeline is in Frame Animation mode, the exact playback duration in Photoshop might also depend on the complexity and frame size/complexity of the animation vs. the speed of the hardware. Because remember, Frame Animation mode only allows you to set a duration at the individual frame leve, not enforce a consistent timeline frame rate like Video Timeline mode does. So as long as it is exported as animation and not video, you can’t count on two seconds for 60 frames.

 

A second reason — the Photoshop timeline is not optimized for performance because it has not been rendered/exported. It contains original full quality layer content. So it probably takes more power to play back frames quickly, so the Photoshop timeline typically can’t play back frames as quickly as an optimized exported file.

 

So, here are my expectations for how fast Photoshop timeline content should play.

 

Given 60 frames in Frame Animation mode set to 0 seconds each (“play each frame as fast as you can”), I would expect that:

  • Photoshop will play that original, un-optimized content as fast as it can, which will depend on the frame size, layers, content, processing power, etc. It may play back 12 frames per second on one computer, 27 fps on a faster computer, and 5 fps on an older computer.
  • A web browser or other animation player will play an animated GIF as fast as it can, and that will again depend on the frame size, browser code, and computer hardware…but because the exported file is optimized, a player should be able to play it back faster than a Frame Animation timeline in Photoshop. One computer might play it back at 23 frames per second, and another at 37 frames per second. 

 

If converted to Video Timeline, and the frame rate is set to 30 frames per second:

  • Photoshop will attempt to play it at 30 frames a second. But if the computer hardware can’t process the original, un-optimized layers fast enough to achieve that, and if Allow Frame Skipping is enabled, video timeline mode will skip frames to keep it in sync. If Frame Skipping is off, playback may be slower than 30 frames per second if the hardware can’t render un-cached frames 30 times per second.
  • A video player will play the optimized, exported video file at 30 frames per second precisely.

 

So, really, it is not surprising that the times are inconsistent, given that the Frame Animation and Video Timeline modes are based on totally different ways of frame timing. And it’s not surprising that Photoshop would play an un-optimized Frame Animation timeline slower (12fps) than something that gets to play the optimized, easier to process exported file format.

 

If this is not helpful, we’ll have to wait for someone to reply who has a deeper understanding of this than I do.

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