Video Scrubber in Photoshop

In the October 2012 issue of Photoshop User (p. 92), I briefly mentioned that you can turn the Touch Ring on your tablet into a video scrub wheel when working in a video editor or QuickTime, but what about Photoshop? Photoshop handles video, so can the tablet be set up for that, too?

Of course! It’s true that both the Standard and Extended versions of Photoshop CS6 now allow you to edit video clips and, with so many people shooting videos, it’s becoming a common need to edit video quickly and easily. This is where the tablet comes in handy because you can turn it into a video-editing deck catered to Photoshop.

Let’s begin with the timeline scrubber. To make this work in Photoshop, you need to change a few things before you can set up the tablet. Click-and-drag a video clip into Photoshop, and the Timeline panel (Window>Timeline) will open at the bottom of the interface. Click the flyout menu in the upper-right corner of the panel, choose Go To, and you’ll see Next Frame and Previous Frame in the menu. Notice neither of these has a keyboard shortcut. Fortunately, Photoshop allows you to customize keyboard shortcuts.

Choose Edit>Keyboard Shortcuts and, in the Shortcuts For drop-down menu, choose Panel Menus. Locate the Timeline (Video) menu item, click the disclosure triangle, and locate Go To>Next Frame and Previous Frame. Click on Next Frame, and in the field that appears under the Shortcut column, enter a shortcut. I wanted to use the Bracket keys for these with the Command (PC: Ctrl) key as a modifier. Now, when I press Command-Right Bracket (PC: Ctrl-Right Bracket) for the Next Frame, Photoshop tells me that this keyboard shortcut is assigned to the Bring Forward command under the Layer menu. This is a keyboard shortcut I don’t use anyway, so I’ll go ahead and replace it. Now add Command-Left Bracket (PC: Ctrl-Left Bracket) to Previous Frame, then click the Accept button to the right to apply the changes. Click OK when you’re done.

Now go to your System Preferences (PC: Control Panel), navigate to your Wacom settings, and go to the Functions tab in the Tool section. Click on the Touch Ring tab just below to access the Touch Ring features. Also make sure you go into the Application section above and click on the + button to add Photoshop to the list if it isn’t already there. Click on the Photoshop icon to ensure that this function will only work in Photoshop in the event that same keystroke is assigned in another application.

Notice you have four modes for the Touch Ring that you can customize. Since I use the Touch Ring to scroll around menus, I’m going to use the second mode to add the video scrubbing functions. Click on the drop-down menu and choose Keystroke. The first field is for the counter-clockwise motion, so that will be the Previous Frame, which is Command-! (PC: Ctrl-[). The lower field is clockwise, so that’s the Next Frame, which is Command-] (PC: Ctrl-]). Add the Name of the function at the bottom and click OK. When this is done, go to Photoshop and test the function with the Touch Ring. Press the button in the middle of the Touch Ring to toggle through the four modes.

Now that you have a video scrub wheel in Photoshop, you can add other video-editing functions to the ExpressKeys and turn your entire tablet into a video-editing suite right on your desktop. It again demonstrates the versatility of both Photoshop and your Wacom tablet.

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