Creative Time Lapse – Advanced

Time Lapse

Creative time lapse advanced options

Using some advanced photography and Photoshop techniques you can make your next time lapse more interesting. Doing things like using slow exposures to blur motion as seen in my night time lapse footage can make your time lapse more interesting.  If you are shooting a busy city scape where there are lots of people then using the same technique to blur pedestrians can also look fantastic.

If you find that the rendering part of the process is too slow due to images being too large, then you can do some editing in Lightroom prior to creating your video in Photoshop. In Lightroom you can correct white balance, exposure, colour etc. Then when you are happy with your images you can export them using the correct image size that you would like to use ie 1080 pixels on the height side, then Photoshop can render much quicker.   I cover using Lightroom in my personalised tuition and is too in-depth to cover in my blog.  As a point of reference you can use Lightroom to export correctly sized images and this will dramatically speed up your rendering times.

Using filters and adjustments on your footage

So you have shot some time lapse sequences and are ready to turn them into a movie.  You can add filtration as well as any adjustment that you wish to add a more personalised and creative touch to your time lapse.  However if you do not approach this by fist converting your time lapse to a smart object what will happen is that the filtration or adjustment will only effect the first frame.  Then you would need to repeat this on every frame taking unneeded effort.  Especially considering that you may have several hundred frames, this would take ages instead of seconds!  Sounds like an important time saver.  Lets look at how to do this and follow it with an easy video to follow.

  1. With your image sequence in a single folder from Photoshop go File < Open select only the first frame and tick the box ‘open as image sequence’.  Then select 24 frames per second.
  2. Now making  your creative time lapse using filtration and adjustments possible you need to convert it to a smart object.  Do this by going to Filter < Convert for Smart Filters.


Now you can make any adjustment and explore your filters to add creativity to your image.  In my stop motion footage you can see the chairs moving by themselves.  In that footage I added more colour saturation and a tilt shift filter.

In the video for this blog entry I shot using a very slow shutter speed and a sturdy tripod on an extremely windy day.  The trees look as though they are violently blowing in the wind.  So we have the tree movement and the clouds moving in the background.  Only 124 frames in this sequence so at 24 frames per second this footage will last around 5 seconds.  The adjustments that I use thin this footage are : Shadow Highlight and Hue and Saturation where I increase the saturation on the cyan and blue layers.  The Shadow Highlight adjustment allows you to retrieve more detail in your shadows and also regain detail in your highlights.

Advanced Time Lapse from Photoshop Tutor on Vimeo.

An instructional video on how you can create a time lapse video using Photoshop as well as using smart filters to enhance it.

Windy Trees time Lapse from Photoshop Tutor on Vimeo.

Time lapse of trees blowing in the wind, altered in Photoshop using shadow highlight and hue and saturation.