Applying Photoshop filters to videos

Thanks to Mitch for pointing out that Photoshop Extended edition has allowed the import and filtering of videos, since CS3. The Help says you can then…

“edit or paint on individual video frames to create an animation, add content, or to remove unwanted details. In addition to using any brush tool, you can paint using the Clone Stamp, Pattern Stamp, Healing Brush, or Spot Healing Brush. You can also edit video frames using the Patch tool.”

“In addition to using any Photoshop tool to edit and paint on video, you can also apply filters, masks, transformations, layers styles, and blending modes”

There’s a video tutorial on the subject (Flash required) from veteran Adobe tutor Russell Brown.

The details took some tracking down, but I also found that you can globally apply a filter to all frames:—

1. Go: Top menu | Filter | Convert for Smart Filter. This places an ‘adjustment layer’ over the whole video.

2. Now go to Top menu | Filter, and the filter you choose will apply to the entire video clip. Some filters options will be greyed out because they don’t work with Smart Filter conversions. The only art filter that was not greyed out and still worked for the final render (Top menu | File | Export) was Alien Skin Snap Art 2. Despite its naff name it is worth the $199 price, as it has the advantage of having one of the nicest oil paint filter of all the art filter plugins I’ve tried. The Akvis filters were not greyed out, but it couldn’t render into the final video. The 55mm Digital Films Tools were not greyed out and output into the final video — you can’t buy this any more, but the excellent diffusion filters may be useful for taking the CG shine off rendered iClone footage.

3. After application of the filter, don’t try to shuttle through the clip with the filter applied since it will be very slow if you have applied a complex art filter.

4. Export (Top menu | File | Export). This will be quite slow, especially if you’ve applied a third-party art filter. 25 seconds @ 15 frames per second (HD, 1Gb source avi) took just over an hour for a complex Snap Art 2 oil painting conversion. The video file output process doesn’t hog system resources and bring the PC to a grinding halt, which is very welcome. Highly optimised multi-core processor support is a wonderful thing.

Most art filters only look convincing if you can blend them back into the original image with Photoshop’s blending modes and opacity sliders. Luckily it’s easy to do this, once you know which tiny little button to double-click on. Here’s how to blend the original video with the filter effects…

You can also run Actions (Photoshop’s macros) on the video layer, if these call filters that are known to work with Smart Filters and output to the final video.

In the future, it’ll also be interesting to see how Photoshop + Snap Art 2 can be made to work with iClone 5’s cel-shaded output.

I only have CS3, but I imagine that Photoshop Extended’s video tool may have been given more advanced features in Photoshop CS4 or CS5. Of course, it’s never going to edit your footage into finished videos. For editing and titling for most people, I would recommend Adobe Premiere Elements.

You can currently pick up CS3 Extended on Amazon UK for about £130 used. Or if you’re a student or teacher you can go straight to CS5 Extended for about £180.

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2 thoughts on “Applying Photoshop filters to videos

  1. Pingback: iClone DirectX graphics mod from Tom Jantol « :: m y C L O N E ::

  2. I think the difference in PS CS5 that would interest you — besides perhaps PixelBender — is the Mercury engine, which uses hardware-assist to spend rendering times.

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