Okay so sorry about the title I had no idea how to word it.

Heres what I'm doing. I'm taking a video, and sketching over it frame by frame. In this instance its a little rat running across the screen.

So I'm using photoshop to do the animation, I import the video to frames, convert to video timeline, and draw over using a pencil brush for say, 200 odd frames. I've then got a lovely little animation of the rat running across the screen, which is lovely.

The problem comes when the rat runs in front of something else I've drawn, as it isnt opaque. I dont know how to solve this problem. After I've finished the animation in Photoshop - I then import the PSD into photoshop and add the final touches in there.

See the two images I created here.

So far the only solutions I've come up with are:

In after effects, using a solid layer and animating a mask shape behind the rat. However if I make the slightest change to the PSD and have to import it again into AE, the timing gets completely thrown out, which means all that hard word I put into the mask is useless. And even then, It's not a perfect representation of the overall shape of the rat, as I'm trying to get it done quick so its just a moving white blob behind it.

In Photoshop, before importing to AE, I duplicated the rat animation group and put a stroke on it. This isn't ideal as it is expanded outside the rat, giving it a stroke effect - but it does cover the body of the rat and therefore block out everything behind it. I could live with the stroke effect, it actually looks kind of okay, but I dont know how to apply the group style to its containing layers - and when I import this into AE, AE doesnt recognise the style on the group.

I really dont know what to do - I need some way of being able to sketch over an animal in a video, or an object, and having it have a white opaque background frame by frame.

In photoshop you can ctrl+click a layer, and i does the marching ants around the layer contents. If I could do that for all 205 layers, and fill with white, that'd solve my problem.

Anyway, any advice please, I'm so new to animating in photoshop and I dont know how to solve this problem.


  • >>"If I could do that for all 205 layers, and fill with white, that'd solve my problem."<< there ya go. I think this is more a workflow problem. If you were aware of this need when you started, it wouldn't seem as daunting as it is after you've drawn all 205 frames.
    – Scott
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 21:53
  • @Scott So your saying, that when I'm sketching over each frame, I need to first paint the area white, then sketch? The problem with that is a. it adds more time to the project, and b, I cant then see the details of the object I need to sketch (more importantly lol)
    – Chud37
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 22:00
  • If you set a layer's blending mode to Multiply, white will vanish allowing you to see what's below that layer. Merely reset the blending mode when done. -- Point being I don't think (at least in Photoshop) there's any automated way to apply a fill/mask to 205 layers when the pixel data changes on each layer. And yeah, it'll add more time... sometimes there's no shortcut to craftsmanship.
    – Scott
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 22:22
  • @Scott Yeah thanks. I'll give the multiply a go. On my surface laptop though its going to be fiddly having to set that for every frame, but oh well. Like you say it should take time.
    – Chud37
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 22:37
  • With the Move Tool active... Option/Alt + M will set a layer's blend mode to Multiply, then Option/Alt + N will set the blend mode back to Normal -- sometimes better than the hunt/peck nature of the layer panel drop down menu.
    – Scott
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 22:41


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