Photoshop: Better animation tools

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Check out the animation tools in Krita. You're hopelessly behind. If I wanted to make an animated movie with hand-drawn frames, I would be able to do it in Krita. It's free. But in Photoshop? Wasn't the animation palette introduced in CS2? You don't even support that version anymore. I can't imagine creating some simple animation tools being that difficult. The current ones are barely ok if you need to create a 4 frame animation. It's just really difficult and awkward to use. It's like it was designed with usability last in mind.

Come on, make some tools and have people make some 15 minute shorts with them. Frame animations! None of this bendy, warpy, flash tripe. You can do it! Don't make me switch between applications all the time. I don't like Krita, but I have to animate with it because Photoshop just never got around doing anything about animations.

I can't even use hotkeys with the video layers unless I start overriding stuff like Ctrl+Z or Ctrl+A, or should I try Ctrl+D? Nobody ever uses that. How about Ctrl+E? Nope, can't use that. You want me to control everything with my pen? Are you serious? I have to go to a menu to enable/disable onion skins. The settings for it are in some weird window instead of immediately responsive adjustments you can change and see what happens. I'm working on a visual medium here. Seeing the change is kinda important unless you have decades of free time.

I already know how to use Photoshop and I love it. All the tools are just the way I like them and I applaud you for that. All the tools except the animation tools. It's not asking for much. It's not like you have to start making some 3D lighting functionality, just simple tools that are actually easy to use. Easy to use. Easy to use! Dynamically change the lengths, copy frames, loop frames, move frames, line them with audio tracks, deselect small parts, fade in fade out, you know... animation tools!
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Juha Keränen

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Posted 1 year ago

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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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You probably want to use the more modern Video Timeline (modernized in CS6, rather than the old-school gif Frame Animation panel that was added in CS2). You can create blank video layers to do hand painted frame-by-frame animations. You can also turn on Onion Skinning and Enable Timeline Shortcut Keys from the Timeline panel menu. There are a number of tutorials on using Photoshop for frame-by-frame animations on the web.
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Juha Keränen

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Thanks for the reply Jeffrey!

The Shortcut keys were a new find for me. So, I admit that one is on me.

I am using the Video Layers. I even refrenced them in my post. The fact remains, the animation tools are really frustrating to use. The audio tracks are just green bars that don't tell anything to me. How can I time my animations? I have to play and stop and play and stop and play and stop and play and stop and try to guess where the right spot is. It's insane. Merely displaying the waveform would make all the difference.

I've gone through 5 tutorials so far and they all just talk about how you make a video layer and the basic movement around it. Can you easily copy the current frame? Can you turn on an option where the current frame stays visible until there is another keyframe? The tutorials don't tell me this. If there's a good tutorial, where is it? It's like trying to find that one excellent post among 5000 tweets. With tutorials I have to sit through them to know what they're all about. And most of them just parrot the same things.
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i think most of us would prefer if the Photoshop team would remain focused on photo editing tools rather than animation, 3d and anything else not photo related. Also, if you're a CC subscriber, you now have access to all the other applications in the CC suite which are much better suited to your needs.
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David Converse

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Yes I'd prefer the focus remain on photo editing. Adobe has several other programs designed for animation.
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Hilbrand Bos

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You two are probably unaware that there are hosts of illustrators, painters, animators and game designers that each and everyday use the 70% of photoshop functionality for sophisticated stuff that you narrowminded photographers have never heard about.