Tilt Shift Time-lapse Action

Two times in the past I have released Tilt Shift Actions for Photoshop, and since then these have become a couple of the top downloaded items on my site. Upon communication with a visitor to the site it was asked if I could come up with an action that could be used with video via the “Video Frames to Layers…” function within Photoshop. So I went to work. Before I continue, be warned that videos imported to frames will not yield near the quality that actually high resolution photographs would, but it does allow you to convert sort or long videos into a tilt shift time-lapse video if you so desired. Your other option is to take timed photographs with your camera and then batch process them with the new Tilt Shift CS6 action I am releasing at a later date.

How to Use

This small tutorial shows you how to properly use the Tilt Shift Time-lapse Action to convert any video you have into a time-lapse video shot using the tilt shift technique. This action “should” work well for everyone, but if you happen to have any kind of issue with it, please leave me a comment below or contact me so that I can sort it out. The video I used is from XStockvideo.com, click here to view it so you can see the comparison.

Step 1

This is a long first step, but much of it does not have to be documented. Obviously you want to have your video ready to import into Photoshop. So any editing of the video needs to be done previous to using this action. High definition video works best, with proper lighting, and scenes shot from above. People on the street below, construction at a distance, traffic on a street, really anything that you can view from a higher perspective.

This action uses a central tilt shift, so when shooting your video imagine a horizontal line dividing your view in half, this line should be your focal point.

You can now import your video by navigating to File> Import> Video Frames to Layers….

Step 2

Once you have chosen your video, you are given a few options. Here all you need to choose is the frame limit and ensure Make Frame Animation is selected. “Limit to Every x Frames” will determine how many frames are imported from your video. This is what gives your video the appearance of time-lapse. You may need to do this a couple of times with different numbers to determine the best for your video.

Step 3

Once imported your Animation pane (Timeline pane in CS6) will be on Frame 1, and your active layer will be Layer 1.

Depending on the length of your video, and what you specified for your frame limit, your video could be anywhere from 5 to 5000 frames and layers in length, one frame per layer and vice versa.

The action has 7 possibilities for how many times it should repeat, each repetition applies the tilt shift action to one frame and that frames corresponding layer. So if you have 322 frames, you would run Repeat 100 three times, Repeat 20 one time, and then Repeat 2 once.

Step 4

Once the action completes a repetition cycle, it will automatically advance to the next frame and layer awaiting the another repetition cycle initiated by you. If it reaches your final frame and layer the action will quit. Now that the action has run through all of your frames and layers you may now render your video by navigating to File> Export> Render Video…

The Result

Here is the result of running the action and then exporting. The outcome has been scaled down to 720 HD and encoded in MPEG-4 format.

[vimeo 45638797]

If you use this action, please send me a link in the comments so that myself and others can see how the action worked out for you. And again, if you have any problems, feel free to contact me.