Loop is a Loop is a Loop

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Would you like to learn a technique that can save you thousands of dollars? If you produce videos, television, motion graphics, or DVDs you are probably quite familiar with looping backgrounds. These essential elements get used all the time under title graphics, inserted into lower-thirds, or as DVD menus. There are plenty of outlets available for purchasing looping backgrounds (chances are you already own some).

But this gets expensive, and does not give your video a unique look. There are several approaches to looping backgrounds, several companies (including the major players) take a lazy way out and don't make a full loop, but instead just dissolve to a graphic or different source.

By combining the power of Photoshop and After Effects, you can create custom looping backgrounds. In this tutorial, we'll create two different looping backgrounds. You can harness these techniques to create very different backgrounds with just a little bit of effort and variation. Let's explore your options.

You'll find Exercise 11 on the DVD-ROM.

Kevin Oleksy is an experienced video pro working for the U.S. Government. He produces re-enactments, documentaries, training pieces, and live satellite talk shows.

"I've been in video production for about 20 years and spent time in news as a cameraman, reporter, anchor, producer, technical director, and director. However, I've spent the majority of my career in post-production, doing military, corporate, and commercial editing and finishing," said Oleksy. "I was first introduced to the Avid back in the 5.0 days and haven't looked back."

Oleksy soon discovered the power of Photoshop to enhance his video projects. He started with Photoshop version 4 and has been a huge fan since. Photoshop also helped him expand into After Effects as well.

"When I worked for the military I mainly used Photoshop for Over-The-Shoulder graphics within the nightly newscast and the week in review. I would take still shots that highlighted the story and create a layered and keyable graphics that I could either fly in layer-by-layer live or import into the Avid for post work," said Oleksy. "I continue to use Photoshop to make mattes and backgrounds as well as titling. I do all of my titling in Photoshop... the flexibility and power for titles is awesome."

Oleksy thinks that Photoshop is the perfect companion application for any NLE package. He says it is a required skill for editors.

"Learning Photoshop is crucial in the video world. The flexibility and versatility it provides, allows you to create more visually appealing and hard-hitting productions. NLE's are great for editing, but their titling, masking and background abilities are often limited and weak."

To lean and keep his skills sharp, Oleksy takes every opportunity to attend training sessions and conferences. He's a firm believer in pushing himself to learn more.

"No matter how far you get, there's always somewhere further to get to. You can never say 'I have enough knowledge to be the best that I can.' Take every opportunity to attend training and trade-shows," said Oleksy. "Also, watch what other's are doing and try to build on that; some of the best ideas are generated by something you saw by someone else. No one is the be-all, know-all editing or graphics god, but the more you learn, the more you can learn!"

PRO file Kevin Oleksy

If you work in the video industry, chances are you're used to deadlines. Whether it's a rush to get the show on-air, a client sitting over your shoulder in the edit suite, or a replication due date, you've got hard deadlines to make. While we can't extend your FedEx drop-off times, we can get you some of your life back. You can save precious minutes (even hours) by learning to harness the power of Photoshop's awesome automation tools to meet your next production deadline.

Actions at Your Fingertips

^ Customize your keyboard! Photoshop actions can be mapped to the keyboard, giving you up to 60 customizable keys by using the f-keys and modifiers.

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