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199 Messages


3.6K Points

Sat, Oct 13, 2018 8:02 PM

Photoshop 2018: Cannot increase Video Layer duration!

Photoshop 2018
Windows 10

While working on an animation using "Video Timeline", not a "Frame Animation", via the Timeline Panel, there is a very awkward impeding issue we're forced to work around - users cannot manually increase the length of Video Layers beyond their default max.

This has nothing to do with Smart Object layers, just to be clear.
Video Layers have no embedded content like Smart Objects - you can't open, or enter them, like you can SO's.

When I add a new Blank Video Layer (Layer > Video Layers > New Blank Video Layer) its given a duration equal to the current Timeline Panel's maximum frame count. After this point it's impossible to make that new Video Layer's duration any longer. This is very handicapping.

While working, it's not unlikely that users will need to increase the timeline's max frame count. It's expected, really.

Any normal layer's timeline duration can be freely changed at will. Same for Fill Layers.
Video Layers? Nope.


For example, here is a Video Layer, seen in the Layers Panel:
(Notice it's NOT a smart object - that's not what's being discussed here.)

Here's the same Video Layer, seen in the Timeline Panel:

I'm unable to drag the right side of the blue "R A D I A T I O N" timeline segment to make it last longer.

In the above image you see my Timeline Panel in use. I'm about to expand the duration of the "work area" (marked by the starting and ending grey markers at f30 and f60).
I'm drawing a frame-by-frame animation in the Video Layer called "R A D I A T I O N", but once I change the work area, it'll exceed my Video layer because I'm unable to increase any Video Layer's duration beyond it's original duration (which I never chose to begin with!)

Here is a crop of my Video Layer's content:

With onion skinning turned on:

Each frame is different. I'm creating some wispy radiating shapes n' stuff.


There is no good workaround I've been able to find that allows me to keep my animation confined to one Video Layer that I can continue to draw in from the start of the animation to the end.
I now have to add ANOTHER Video Layer and switch layers when I'm forced to, in order to keep drawing in the correct Video Layer to complete my smooth frame-by-frame

Adding a new longer blank Video Layer and merging it into my existing Video Layer doesn't work. Doing that has some very strange buggy effects, which I won't even go into.
Even inserting a blank frame or duping a frame can't increase the max duration. (Layer > Video Layers > Insert Blank Frame / Duplicate Frame)

It looks like creating a totally new Video Layer and painstakingly copying the contents of every frame INTO the new Video Layer one by one is the best way to go. (ouch)
Generate a reeeaally long Video Layer that you know is long enough to contain all the animation you might be creating at the OUTSET of the project, because once you've added your Video Layer it's locked, it's duration CANNOT be changed.

Obviously, Photoshop is not After Effects.
But must Photoshop's existing animation features (originally absorbed from unholy ImageReady) be left incomplete like this? PS can't even ease tweens! (and dear jesus is that painful)

User agency is being unnecessarily limited by sloppy assumptions on the part of the software.
I realize when video files are imported, they're imported as Video Layers and thus their total durations usually don't need altered because video is . . . video, but the problem arises when we're doing custom animation stuff.
I highly doubt a new layer type is needed here. Just some improvements to how users can manipulate Video Layers.


For a little additional clarity, here is the final animation (part of a larger overall animation):


I'm requesting this issue be presented to the photoshop devs for consideration.

Let me know what you guys think.

matt, the distraught animator


364 Messages


7.1K Points

2 years ago

Yes, it would be amazing if Photoshop allowed the user to extend the duration of a Blank Video Layer at any time rather than establish media limits when the Blank Video Layer is created.   Even in the Duration text field, you're capped at the duration set when the Blank Video Layer was first created.  And as you mentioned, creating a new Blank Video Layer at the tail of a current one is not really a work around.  

The ideal behavior would be that a Blank Video Layer can be as short as one frame or as long as the Timeline, similar to how a Solid Layer behaves in After Effects (as short as one frame or as long as the "length of Comp").  

For a New Video Layer from File, it makes sense that the resulting layer has a media start and a media end that requires either repeating the video file or changing the speed, but not for something generated within Photoshop directly.

199 Messages


3.6K Points

Well put.

1 Message


50 Points

2 years ago

The new video layer will be the length of your work area, which is :05 by default. Before you create a new blank video layer make sure your work area is the length you need it to be. You may beed to have a regular layer and stretch it out in order to extend the work area.