Recently Envato Market Author, Scarab13 decided to explore the world of video in Photoshop, after years of not thinking much about it. And, what he thinks he’s found is a new growth market.
It was a dark, rainy night. Flashes of lightning lit up the sky in a style reminiscent of Sin City, briefly removing the shadows from my worried face. As I sat bent over my Macbook Pro, my mind was frozen yet my body was in a hot sweat as the situation came to a head. It had been weeks since I’d uploaded anything to my GraphicRiver portfolio which, being an Envato Elite Author, I felt obliged to do regularly. But I had no inspiration. No new ideas. Total emptiness.
After changing the music in the background a few times I realized I had nothing new to offer this rainy evening. A depressing thought indeed. During my time on GraphicRiver I’d seen party posters, flyers and many other categories of graphic template die. Left behind by a market whose appetite had changed.
Completely blocked as to what I could create that would be relevant, I closed Photoshop, went on Facebook and got a quick laugh from a random GIF of a cat failing to make the jump again and again. Then it hit me…
Video in Photoshop
I’d been familiar with Photoshop’s ability to do video since CS3 in 2007.
I remember fascinating my bosses at the agency I was working at by pasting videos on a nicely designed stage – in the program – and warping them, adding glare and effects, then exporting them as .mov files. But, then I kinda stopped thinking about it, since I usually did my videos in Premier Pro, After Effects and (on the rare occasion) Final Cut Pro. And so, the feature got a bit forgotten.
Other creatives I knew never used the video feature in Photoshop. So, after seeing that little kitten failing to make the jump, I decided that video in Photoshop was back!
There are so many ways to use short videos these days, especially since Facebook, Twitter and other social media networks have started supporting animated GIFS and cinemagraphs. People really engage with them, but many of them don’t know how to actually make them, likely because using complex editing programs, and export settings to create something so novel is a bit too much trouble for the average user.
This gave me an idea: What if I could make an easy-to-use template that would help people make awesome short video backgrounds, cinemagraphs and looped GIFs in Photoshop?
A lot of people have creative ideas, but don’t have the skills to bring them to life. So, my aim was to give them the tools that would allow them to focus on the final result with as little complexity involved on their part as possible. So, I got to work.
First I made a cool cinemagraph template, which is a still image with some moving areas, that let people paint over the areas they want to keep in motion. Basically, they would choose the best still shot from the video imported to Photoshop, then brush whatever parts they wanted to keep moving (eye, purse, water, flame, hair, etc). Then, they would use my provided export settings to save a perfectly animated and optimized GIF. I also included info on how to make the GIF play on Facebook and other social media, which is usually a bit tricky for a beginner to figure out.
I started creating those templates, usually in two versions, so that every version of Photoshop would load and use the files with ease. At the same time, I was constantly improving my files, adding grunge overlays, halftone patterns, color correction. I was discovering new areas of creativity while creating my “7 vintage TV set cinemagraph“, “Animated particles over still images“, “WordPress Video Background Video in Photoshop” and other video-based items for Photoshop. And boy, were those things fun to do.
What I’ve learned
Discovering this new “category” of animated design templates provided me with a whole new creative challenge.
After so many years of creating digital artwork and learning design secrets and photoshop tricks needed to be a creative director at several marketing agencies, I came to the conclusion that my creative knowledge was not enough.
I realized that in order to make a fully editable and easy to modify animated designs, I had to learn so much more. It was like starting from the beginning all over again. I had to change my creative mindset, which felt like learning to walk.
I’m very glad that I’ve made it through as I now feel much more complete as an artist and designer. Taking on challenging queries like “How can I simulate the Premiere Pro effect I need here” or “This is awesome, but how to make it editable?”, forced me to think way outside of the box.
Thankfully the results have come pretty quickly. People appreciate the new creative expression they’ve found in animated GIFS (by GIFS I’m talking v2.0 – rather than those pixelated torches and baby dances from 1996), and they have started using my easy to follow instructions to customize my items with and share them all over social media.
What I think makes my templates compelling is that they are the result of extensive research, long hours of production and testing and correcting.
From a dynamic customizable Ironman mask, to realistic snow falling over a user’s photos, all the way to full high resolution looping website backgrounds, I’m very proud of every single one of these items. And, this is just the beginning, because the possibilities are endless. Just think of things people still need solutions for: How to lower the K-size? How to make it awesome in a less number of frames? How to make them even easier to use? How to organize my layers better?
Seeing some of my templates on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook makes it all worth it.
Popularity of this new form of digital expression is spreading.
Being able to insert a photo in Photoshop and export a fully functional, professional looking looping animation that’s easy to post animated (without any other apps or software involved) is a new development in a world of design templates. It’s not just about posters, flyers and actions – now we’re going dynamic and animated and it’s exciting.
So, instead of bringing things to a complete close, I’ll share few more pieces of advice.
If you plan on hosting your animated GIFs yourself (and show it on a website or something similar), I advise you to optimize them even more by going to websites like ezgif.com/optimize and performing one of the types of compression, rather than saving them back. You’ll probably save a nice chunk of kilobytes.
Also, if you plan to have a 3rd party host your animated GIF (which is usually faster and more reliable, plus social media loves it), then upload it to Giphy or Imgur, then share it on social media websites right from there (or copy/paste the file’s URL). That way you’ll get way more exposure, since those image hosting websites have millions of users and your GIF will pretty much always be visible on there (unless you specify otherwise).
And one more thing – don’t be that guy who’s files are a mess – always name your layers properly, color code them and make them as easy for people to use as you possibly can. Take some time, make a video tutorial and an easy-to-follow .doc file. Remember, most people who pay for our files are not very skilled and they need fast results with less effort. Make is super easy to use : load, insert assets, save, done…