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Review: Video Editing in Adobe Photoshop CS6

A new feature in Adobe Photoshop CS6 allows editing and rendering for streaming, and includes keyframeable effects and clip-layering.

With all the multi-use device video camera options out there—from the iPhone 4s to the Canon 5D Mark III, both with 1080p recording—it was only a matter of time before Adobe figured out a way to turn its venerable Photoshop still image editing tool into a video editor. Still, it's a shock to see the Photoshop interface with a video timeline in it (Figure 1, below).

Adobe Photoshop CS6
Figure 1. Photoshop's new video editing timeline

In the newest Creative Suite release (version 6, or CS6) both the standard and extended versions of Photoshop have video import and editing capabilities. While the editing capabilities aren't as good as Premiere Elements or Premiere Pro, the audience that Adobe's shooting for probably won't mind. Adobe sees this addition of rudimentary video tools as a natural extension of its still image tools, so it's gearing the video-in-Photoshop message toward professional still photographers that don't really know what to do with all that video they've shot on their DSLRs.

Importing Clips into Photoshop

How easy is it to import video in to Photoshop? As easy as it is to import still images. Two options are available, one of which is to import images from a device (Figure 2, below). We used this option initially for our testing, importing both still images and videos from an iPhone 4s.

Adobe Photoshop CS6
Figure 2. Importing clips into Photoshop

Once the images (or videos, in this case) were selected and an appropriate import folder chosen, Photoshop by default imported the videos as a series of separate Photoshop documents (Figure 3, below) which doesn't really help for making a timeline of video clips.

Adobe Photoshop CS6
Figure 3. Clips imported frame-by-frame as PSDs by default

I recommend first importing one video from your device to a new Photoshop document, and then going back to the import dialog and choosing the second option for any subsequent video files ("create new layer in frontmost document").

In addition, take care to choose to import video from a device one at a time, as the import of video clips as a layer contains an undocumented additional step that requires manual intervention for each clip added. Attempting to import multiple video clips from a device seems to expose a significant shortcoming in the first version of Photoshop CS6 where the user has to sit and wait for every clip to be added.

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