by Julieanne Kost

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June 4, 2012

When playing (or scrubbing) video in the Timeline panel, Photoshop creates a preview of the video as quickly as possible. However, depending on a number of variables (such as the dimensions of the original source video, the preview size, number of layers, complexity of changes made to each layer, power of the machine etc.), the time needed to render each frame will vary.

If you are working with video and still images which do NOT contain audio, and you need to preview the video “faster” (for example you might only need to see a rough approximation of the result of an adjustment layer in order to make further decisions), from the Timeline panel’s fly-out menu, turn on Allow Frame Skipping. If Allow Frame Skipping is on (and the project has no audio), then Photoshop will skip as many frames as necessary to display a “real-time” preview.

If you need to render and preview every frame (and the project has NO audio) turn off the Allow Frame Skipping option to force Photoshop to render (play) every frame. Although it will most likely be slower, this mode takes advantage of the playback cache and has the fastest and smoothest playback when previewed for the second time.

Finally, if the project has audio, and the audio button is ON, Photoshop will skip frames as necessary (regardless of the Allow Frame Skipping setting) to keep up with the audio (in real time).

Note: when skipping frames, Photoshop displays the playback frame rate in red in the lower left of the Timeline panel.