View Full Version : Motion in Photoshop

05-26-2006, 10:05 PM
I just downloaded the trial version of photoshop CS and I was looking at the ability to create animations. How would I go about turning something like this muzzel flash into an animation. I've heard people talk about it but I never understood how to do it myself.

05-27-2006, 12:10 AM
photoshop doesn't do animation. You're probably thinking of After Effects

05-27-2006, 02:31 AM
Well, you can technically do animation in photoshop, but it's not really layed out like that, and Kai is right, After effects will get you closer to what your looking for.

Jack Daniel Stanley
05-27-2006, 04:39 AM
Adobe image ready which ships in tandem with potoshop depoending onyour package will allow you to animate, you just make layers in photo shop for each frame that you want and then go into image ready and youcan select next frame add that layer and then set how many steps of tweaning or blending you want between them.

If you don't need tweaning you might as well justd drop each frame into your NLE.

Also if you are doing a muzzle flash, then you don't really need to animats since it should just be up for only one frame and again you can justdrop that into after effects or your NLE.

finally ...

you can gat actual short clips of real muzzle flashes to download for free here:
along with bullet impacts and explosions and a host of other things.
these are real filmed gun fires shot against a black background so each is unique, you then drag them into your NLE with any framerate conversion or deinterlacing necessary and compsosite them in add mode or screen mode.
I somtimes find that for true transparancy a little luma key may help as well.

good luck,


05-27-2006, 11:44 AM
Ya, I've looked at the detonation films site before. It's pretty good but it dosen't have a whole lot of variety. I will probably just try dropping sepeate frames onto the track. Do you guys think 5 frames condensed to 1/2 a second will look realistic enough?

Jack Daniel Stanley
05-27-2006, 12:03 PM
detonation has three quarter, straight on, and angles, unless you need a starburst it should cover you and look and work fine, you should be able to drag and drop them and squish or stretch or rotate them all in your NLE (unless you are doing starbursts and some crazy machine gun action ... all my stuff has just been dudes with handguns).

I'm not sure what you mean by 5 frames condensed into a half second ...

5 frames is like a quarter of a second so you would have to spread them out to get a half second.

but let me say this part again
a muzzle flash = 1 frame = 1/24th of a second

1/2 a second = 12 frames = way to long (unless all of this is in slomow)

You don't need to do any animation for a single muzzle flash. Are you talking about a hail of machingun fire or something? Then it stil just drag and drop each flash over ther barrel of the gun where it kicks, but each flash is still just one frame. Each flash may be the same or slightly different as per your resources and time, but you're still not growing or morphing them, you are just placing them for 1/24th of a second, which is a sort of animation, but nothing you need to do outside your NLE, and again you don't need to make each flash grow from small to big to medium or anything, You just need one good muzzle flash per shot and composite it right over the frame where your gun kicks. As far as animating the flash you are done. The rest is about composite mode, opacity, blur etc.

If you won't take my word for it, then frame by frame through one of the detonation film clips and count how many frames each flash is.

You'd be much better off spending your time doing selective gamma with the rest of the image as necessary to fill in where the muzzle flair would throw light, etc.

05-27-2006, 01:13 PM
What I meant was 5 seperate pictures of a muzzel falsh progressing until the it ends like the pictures below. You were right that 1/2 a second was too long I condensed them all down to .05 of a second.
http://img90.imageshack.us/img90/2973/muzzleflash59oa.pnghttp://img90.imageshack.us/img90/46/muzzleflash40vv.pnghttp://img90.imageshack.us/img90/6004/muzzleflash39ku.pnghttp://img90.imageshack.us/img90/9315/muzzleflash23gi.pnghttp://img90.imageshack.us/img90/2149/muzzleflash11mu.pngI was unclear with what I was doing in my other explanation.

Jack Daniel Stanley
05-27-2006, 01:39 PM
1 muzzle falsh = one frame
you can't incriment smaller than a frame
and more than one frame = too long


I assume your editing on a 24 fps timeline. The smallest incriment you can get is 1/24th of a second you cannot get 5/100ths (.05) of a second unless you are editing on a 100 fps persecond timeline wich you aren't because there's no such thing so 5 frames spread out over 5/100th of a second is impossible.

5 frames spread out over 5/24th of a second is. But now you are 5 times longer than you need to be.

A muzzle flash should be one frame long.


I've told you how to do it.

Drag one flippin frame into the time line where you want it.

You might experiment with making one extra ingnition or burnout frame, but its unecessary.


google tutorial and muzzle flash or muzzle flare

I can't help you with this anymore since you won't listen. Good luck

05-27-2006, 02:31 PM
I was trying to take your advice. I probably should have mentioned I'm not a complete pro at this kind of stuff and I'm only 15. So I don't do this as a job or anything. I am also just getting into film so I don't know all the terms and stuff-I would recomend keeping your explinations simple, it would make it easier for both of us. This is what I was trying to explain in my last post. I figured that I should just post what I'm seeing. And when I play it, it looks fine- thats all that really matters to me.
If I'm understanding this picture above, your saying that all those pictures should be in one 1/5 of the area they are covering. Or am I wrong on that too?

Jack Daniel Stanley
05-27-2006, 02:48 PM
OK sorry,

just didn't see how drop one frame where the gun kicks could have been clearer or simpler

the last number in 00:00:00 is your frames per second so that's not 5/ 100th of a second that's 5/24th of a second unless you are on a 29.97 or 30fps timeline and then it would be approx 5/30th of a second

24 frames per second = 24 divisible parts of a second so what you have is 5 /24th see?

Everyone else I've ever seen does 1 frame for a single muzzle flash but
if you say that looks good then great.

Sometimes a small ignition frame or blink frame after the biiggest is done.

Looking at what you have there I think something may be off though.

When you race in track or a swim coaches sometimes tell the racer to look for the fire of the gun because light travels faster than sound (more likely because there may be an ignition before an explosion in this case)

but if you are going to go through the trouble of rendering 5 discrete elments of the flash in photoshop then I think you want to match the biggest part of your flame with the biggest party of your bang or maybe the part of your flame that's almost the biggest.

So on the wave form there you might move those flares back 1-3 frames over the sound and see how that looks. If there's a tiniest flash of light before the bang then that would be normal.

Have you composited this over an actual clip of someguy shooting a gun?

I'd be surprised if you have and even more surprised if he's playing the kick of the gun right if the flare doesn't appear to move off the gun since its too long.

But if it looks good to you then great :thumbsup:

05-27-2006, 03:07 PM
Heres a link to the muzzel flash:http://youtube.com/watch?v=CmBSyC-tRo4
I forgot to lay the sound out on a later frame like you said so its a little off (-don't worry- won't be using that sound effect ever again). Also I just used a picture of a gun, so theres no blow back. It looks fast enough but It might not in a video. Do you think it should be faster?

05-27-2006, 03:12 PM

05-27-2006, 04:08 PM
Heres a link to the muzzel flash:http://youtube.com/watch?v=CmBSyC-tRo4
I forgot to lay the sound out on a later frame like you said so its a little off (-don't worry- won't be using that sound effect ever again). Also I just used a picture of a gun, so theres no blow back. It looks fast enough but It might not in a video. Do you think it should be faster?

Yes, It should only be one frame long, not 5. Do not animate it, just place a single frame of flash. It looks really fake animated, your eyes cannot see that fast, and neither can a camera, unless you are shoot at 120fps.

Matt Grunau
05-30-2006, 10:42 AM
most of the gun "flashes" you see in movies aren't accurate anyway, as a regular handgun shooter, i can tell ye. On eof the problems with the footage pics you posted is they look like there were shot with a high speed camera, to get as many flame "developments" as possible. TGhis makes sense, since you are free to use only on filmed flash for many seperate uses, since one flash as mentioned above is only going to last 1 frame, (depending on the caliber). I have seen plenty of films where the big machine guns have a secaondary and markedly smaller 'end" flame after the main.

You will only need one main flame per shot, so you can definately not only use them in, but create them in Photoshop. I have gnerated many muzzel flashes that way, and they have come out fine.

Matt Grunau
05-30-2006, 10:44 AM
photoshop doesn't do animation. You're probably thinking of After Effects

Wrong. You can still work with filmstrip format, which we could argue IS animation. Painfull, slow, and yucky, but I just had to get a jibe in there to you kai.


05-30-2006, 11:44 AM
... true... that's working with a FORMAT that is USED in animation... but photoshop itself can't animate it.. unless you want to hold down your scroll bar and squint ala flipbook style :)

Bruce Morgan
10-04-2006, 04:28 PM
It is not a super big deal But
I shot second unit for my ww2 feature and many of our wild cameras caught all the above mentioned flame patterns
examples -
-one flash only per frame on a cycle of three six or ten frames
-end flashes ,yes I have seen these.
-missed flashes or no flash frame yet gun kicks back.

all based on unsynchronized shutter speeds on wild 35MM FILM cameras filming real WW2 machine guns with blanks ....
not studio rig guns .
I heard NO MENTION of the- gas ejection frames -!!!!!
which I often caught on frame inspection and which frames often contained the accociated kick action of the gun .

Many will agree and disagree with this ....
It looks like a frame wth ejection vapor or white or grey gas escaping .
Some amunition was actully made to supress visible flame fire as you probably know .

I only Wish i could post an example but all my footage is in storeage waiting the big inevitable moment of digitizatiion.