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Learn how to create a lower third animation in Adobe Photoshop

Follow along in this #tutorial and #learn how to use Adobe Photoshop's Video Timeline panel to create an animated lower third graphic. You will also learn how to render the video animation with a transparent background and overlay it on a mock video in Adobe Premiere Rush.

If you don't have Premiere Rush – don't fret – any video editing software will do for this tutorial.

As always, I have included the assets for this tutorial so you can follow along. They are available for download here. I have also included the PSD file from this tutorial so you can get a closer look at how it was set up.

For the first part of the tutorial, we'll build a lower third animation with a text reveal and have it reverse after a few seconds. From there, we'll add the animation using keyframes and then render as a .MOV with a transparent background – allowing you to overlay it into a video using Premiere Rush.

Creating the Document

  • After Photoshop is launched, click "Create New" or go to File > New.

  • In the top menu options, click "Film and Video".

  • For this lesson, we'll choose a 16:9 aspect ratio size of 1920 px by 1080 px – creating a document meant for wide screens.

  • In the Background Contents dropdown, choose Transparent.

  • Click Create.

Lower Third Graphics

  • With the Rectangle Tool, click and drag a rectangle shape that stretches from the left side to the right size of the document.

  • With the Rectangle Tool, once again click and drag another rectangle which will serve as the background for the lower third information – name and title.

  • In the Layers panel, name the large rectangle "Main Rectangle" and the smaller rectangle "Secondary Rectangle".

  • With the Type Tool, click in the workspace and type your name or a fictional name. Pick a font of your choice (for this tutorial, I am using Rift in different weights) and make the weight of it Bold.

  • With the Type Tool, click in the workspace again to add a secondary text layer and type the person's job title. Make it the same font family as the name, but choose a lighter weight – such as Medium or Demi Bold.

Position the graphic in the lower third of the workspace. It can always be adjusted when placed in the video editing software, but this gives you a general idea of how it will look like when placed on a video.

Here's a preview at how the lower third should look like to this point of the lesson:

Before we move on to how to add animation, it's important to convert both rectangles in the project to Smart Objects. To do this, right click the "Main Rectangle" layer and choose Convert to Smart Object. Repeat that same step for the "Secondary Rectangle".

You also noticed that I grouped the "Secondary Rectangle" with the Name and Title in the Layers panel. To do this, click on one of the objects in the Layers panel, hold Command (Mac) or Ctrl (Windows) and click the other two layers. Next, either click the Create New Group icon in the Layers panel or use the shortcut of Command + G or Ctrl + G on Windows.

We'll be using the Timeline panel for this next part. To access it, go to Window > Timeline.

Adding Animation Part I

  • In the Timeline panel, click "Video Timeline" button. This will stack the same layers in the Timeline, but we can add keyframes to add transform animation settings.

  • Click on the Main Rectangle layer in the Timeline and use the arrowhead to collapse the layer.

  • At the very starting point, click the Transform keyframe to add one right at the beginning.

  • Go to Edit > Free Transform, or use the shortcut keys of Command + T (Mac) / Ctrl + T (Windows).

  • Click and drag the right handle of the shape all the way to the left edge of the document until it is no longer visible.

  • Move the playhead ahead about 15 frames in the timeline and create another Transform keyframe in this spot.

  • Use the Free Transform tool again to click and drag the right handle back to position on the right edge of the document. Go ahead and play that animation by clicking and dragging the playhead from the first keyframe to the second.

  • Drag the playhead to about the 4.10 area of the timeline and create another Transform keyframe.

  • Click on the second keyframe in this animation and then right click, and choose Copy.

  • Go back to the third keyframe at the 4.10 mark of the timeline and right click, and choose Paste.

  • Move the playhead ahead about 15 frames to create one last keyframe for this animation.

  • Go to the very first keyframe, right click and choose Copy.

  • Go back to the last keyframe, right click and choose Paste.

What we just went over in the last couple steps here was reversing the animation. However it's important to leave enough time in between in order to give the viewer enough time to see the animation play in and play out.

Next, we'll animate the name, title and secondary rectangle to reveal in a mask from the Main Rectangle and have it reverse back again when the animation plays out.

Adding Animation Part II

  • Drag the playhead to the 1:00F of the timeline. This is the 1 second mark.

  • In the Timeline, click the Group arrowhead to collapse the grouped layers.

  • In the Tools panel, click the Marquee Selection Tool and draw a selection under the Main Rectangle – wider than the Secondary Rectangle. This will be the mask where the grouped contents – Secondary Rectangle, Name and Title – will reveal from.

  • In the Layers panel, click on the Group folder and while holding Option on Mac or Alt on Windows, click the Add Layer Mask icon in the bottom right corner of the panel.

  • Going back to the Timeline, create Transform keyframes for all three layers at the 1 second mark.

  • Go back to the Layers panel, and select all three Layers in the group by clicking one, holding Command or Ctrl and selecting the others.

  • Use Free Transform and then click and drag all three layers down until they're not visible. They should be hidden behind the layer mask created in Step 2. Here's a look:

  • Move the playhead to around the 3.20 second mark and create another Transform keyframe for all three layers.

  • Click on the second keyframe for each layer, and choose Copy.

  • Click on the third keyframe for each layer, and choose Paste.

  • Move the playhead ahead about 10 frames and create Transform keyframes for each layer in the timeline.

  • Click on the first keyframe for each layer, and choose Copy.

  • Click on the fourth keyframe for each layer, and choose Paste.

Now that the lower third animation is set, it's time to render the video as a .MOV with a transparent background, or Alpha Channel.

Rendering the Animation Video

  • Click the Timeline options in the upper right corner of the panel, then choose Render Video.

  • In the Render Video dialog box, name the video and choose a target folder to save the video to. Your desktop might be the easiest.

  • Next, change the format from H.264 to Quicktime. This means it will render as a .MOV and not a .MP4.

  • In the Render Options section, click the Alpha Channel dropdown, located in the bottom right area of the dialog box, and then choose Straight- Unmatted.

  • Click Render.

Watch the video tutorial as I go over steps on how to place the lower third into video editing software, such as Adobe Rush.

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