If you’re into creating video content, you probably already know that transitions between clips are an extremely important aspect of what you do. It’s rare that you have one long video file that was perfectly recorded. In reality, you most likely have multiple clips that you need to somehow merge together as one. It’s the merging that I’d like to cover here.
In today’s post, I’m going to walk through a process of adding a bit of something extra to a regular basic transition. I’ll import two video clips into Adobe Photoshop and set things up in such a way as to have the first clip fade into the second. While that’s fairly straightforward and while I’ve already discussed basic video clip transitions on this blog, in this post, I’d like to add a filter to the transition as well. The filter I’ll be using will add a blur to the end of the first clip, the the two clips will transition into one another and finally, the second clip will be blurred and that blur will smoothly fade out to the sharp remainder of the second video. So in sequence, things will go like this: The first clip will be sharp and will eventually fade into a blur. Then, the two clips will transition into one another using a fade. Finally, the second clip will be blurry and that blur will fade out into the sharp video. So while a traditional cross fade is what’s expected, I’ll construct more of a technical set of fades that will add a snazzy element of blurriness that should bring things to the next level.
Also, I would like to impress upon you that while I’m choosing to go with a blur filter today, you can choose any filter that makes sense for you. You would follow the same process as I lay out today.
The Two Video Clips
These are the two clips I’ll be using for this project. I took screen captures of them both and placed them in one file.
Duplicating Layers & Converting to Smart Objects
Okay, let me give you a snapshot of what I’m working with. I’ve got both video clips in the same workspace. I also have the Timeline panel opened up with the clips set up so they’re each on their own layer in that panel, meaning, the clips aren’t grouped in the Layers panel.
Since I’m not going to be working with fades directly on these layers because of the blur filter factor, I’ll need to duplicate these layers and convert them to Smart Objects before doing anything else. You’ll see why I have to do this below. Video layers need to be Smart Objects to have filters applied to them.
So, to duplicate each layer, I’ll simply click and drag the layer I’d like to duplicate down to the Create a New Layer button at the bottom of the Layers panel. Here’s what the Layers panel will look like after I do this.
Next, I’ll right-click on the duplicate layers and convert them to Smart Objects.
At this point, I’ve got both types of layers clearly laid out in the Timeline panel, nice and clean.
Adding the Blur
The next step is to blur the Smart Object layers. To do this, I’ll select each one, one at a time, in the Layers panel and then head up to the Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur menu item and click.
When the Gaussian Blur dialog box appears, I’ll choose a Radius value of 15 pixels. Then I’ll click the OK button and move onto the next step. Remember, I did this for both Smart Object layers, so they’re both completely blurred.
Adjusting & Fading the Smart Object Layers
Now that I’ve got all the layers set up the way they’re supposed to be, I need to move into the more logistical aspects of things, meaning how much of the blur I’d like to see and where things will begin to fade and end fading. That sort of thing.
I’ll work on the clips that are earlier in the timeline first. What I’d like to see here is the original (non-Smart Object) clip start off in focus. Then, a few seconds from the end of that clip, I’d like to fade into the blurry version of it (the Smart Object one). So, to shrink the Smart Object version of the first clip down, I’ll hover my mouse over the leading edge of it and then click and drag it to the right. I’ll stop a few seconds short of the end.
Next, I’ll add a fade to the beginning of this purple clip, so it fades into the blur smoothly. If you’re interested, you can read all about fades in one of my previous posts.
I made it so this fade lasts for one second.
Next, I’ll go ahead and set the second Smart Object clip up the same exact way, but opposite. I’ll reduce the length of this second clip so it shows for just a few seconds at the beginning after the final transition.
Take a look. If you’ll notice, I added the second fade to the end of the clip, so the blur fades out into sharpness.
Adding the Transition Fade
Since all the heavy lifting is completed, all I need to do now fade-wise is add a basic transition fade to the beginning of the second Smart Object clip. This fade won’t only introduce the second blurry clip, it’ll introduce the second clip altogether. Again, this is a one second fade.
Cleaning Things Up
Okay, let’s see where I stand as of now. I have a sharp video clip that moves along the timeline until it reaches a blurry one. When the playhead does reach that next clip, the first fade begins and things appear blurry. After that, the playhead continues to move until it reaches the second blurry clip. A second fade begins and brings us into the second group of clips. Things remain blurry until the next fade brings us back to clarity. We then finish up the video like that.
This is great, but there is one problem. The spot where these two clips meet contains an abrupt change. The second transition doesn’t begin until after the switch from the first to second clip, so that will need to be addressed.
What I’ll do to rectify this situation is click to select both of the second clips so they are both highlighted. Then, I’ll drag them to the left so they overlap the first set of clips by one second. After that, so only the second blurry clip shows as the fade progresses, I’ll click and drag the beginning of the second regular clip to the right, to trim off one second of video. Take a look at the screenshot so what I just wrote makes more sense.
I know this got confusing toward the end, so if you have any questions, please just ask.
Anyway, if I render this video out and upload it to Youtube, this is what we’ll see. Pretty neat, right?
And that’s it! That wasn’t too difficult, was it?
I hope I clearly explained how you can create custom transitions between video clips in Adobe Photoshop by using Smart Objects, filters and fades. If you have any questions regarding this post, please ask in the comment section below. If you’d like, you may also ask in the Photoshop user forum as well. Thanks for reading!