10 Replies Latest reply on Nov 29, 2012 9:24 AM by Meredith Payne Stotzner

    Video/Timeline playback quality issue in PS CS6 Extended



      I am using PS in a traditional animation capacity--drawing each frame of animation by hand on a seperate layer. I loved doing this in 5.5 and it worked wonderfully on my machine. There are a couple of problems for me with CS6 that perhaps someone can answer, one of which is very detrimental to my process:


      My main problem is that when i play back my animation (I prefer to use the clips/layers version as opposed to the "frame" version which is more limited in my opinion), the image quality is horrible. When I say "play back" I mean hitting the spacebar and playing it, not rendering it. This feature worked like a charm in CS5.5, but the quality is very low in CS6. The same thing happens when scrubbing with the play head--the image quality gets all blocky and pixelly looking. The funny thing is, when I stop playback or stop scrubbing through frames, the images go back to thier normal state.


      When I first saw this happen, it reminded me of a low quality RAM preview in After Effects (for those of you who are familiar with After Effects)--which I thought would make sense, since AE offers a way to increase or descrease the quality of immediate playbacks (RAM Previews) depending on what you are testing in the playback and how much available RAM you have. But there is no way to adjust the playback quality in PS CS6--at least not one that I can find. I absoluately need playback to be 100% quality as it was in 5.5, otherwise this feature is completely useless to me. Does anyone have a solution?


      Also--did they remove the "onion skinning" button from the Timeline window? That was so useful...does anyone know why they did that (or more importantly, is there a way to get it back?) That is such a useful button for anyone attempting traditional animation in this program--which it was wonderful for in CS5.5.



      BTW--my current machine specs if that matters:


      Mac Mini, 2009 model

      2.26 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo 64 bit

      NVIDIA GeForce 9400 256MB

      OSX Lion

      4 GB RAM

      100+ GB free HD space

        • 1. Re: Video/Timeline playback quality issue in PS CS6 Extended
          Galen Fott

          Exact same problem. Was this ever solved?

          • 2. Re: Video/Timeline playback quality issue in PS CS6 Extended
            moen85 Level 1

            Nope. The Indian tech support people from Adobe were USELESS. I was on the phone with them for several hours and nothing they told me was helpful. Photoshop CS6 is money in some respects because of useful new features, but this animation thing drove me nuts.


            I couldn't have it. The fact is, I have a business to run and I could not function with this stupid hold up. So, I took the bull by the horns and went through many cached files to recover my .dmg of Photoshop CS5.5. It was the only solution.


            I now run both programs---version 5.5 and version 6--on my computer and utilize them for different things. If I need to do animation, I use 5.5. If I need to do just about anything else, I use 6.


            On a somewhat different, yet somewhat relevant note (since you appear to do traditional animation), After Effects CS6 was giving me RAM Preview playback issues as well. Not pixelly--it just didn't play back AT ALL and gave me some kind of BS line about needing more than 2 frames to play back (was not the case).


            This was a problem that many people had with CS6, but different solutions to the problem (such as purging history, relaunching, or rebooting) produced different results. The only way I could get mine to play back properly was to reboot my whole system! That didn't work for me in terms of work flow either, especially since after rebooting, the problem would inevitably occur after just a few successful playbacks.


            So I again went through my old files and recovered the .dmg for the previous version of After Effects. My usage of After Effects is kind of minimalistic--mostly for simple motion graphics or sequencing traditional animation--so I didn't care too much about losing any new features from CS6, which I kept on my machine just in case. But I always use CS5.5 nowadays, never CS6. If you can't RAM Preview your work, the program is basically useless---I don't know why they released it like that.


            Anyways, I don't know what to tell you man---if you don't have older versions of the program, not sure what you can do. I owned the license for 5.5 Production Premium prior, so I had no problem reinstalling these two programs with my old activation keys. If you had that, I would recommend doing that and keeping both versions of the programs on your computer. Normally, I hate when folks pirate Adobe software since Adobe has a big company to run and engineers to pay, but when the new version of the program doesn't work (even though you paid through the nose for it) I would just do what you gotta do, you know? Our businesses and education can't slow down because they dropped the ball.


            Adobe kinda screwed the pooch somewhat with CS6--taking away the onion skin button in an animation feature? Losing a fundamental function (RAM Preview) in After Effects that NEVER screwed up in previous versions? Someone fell asleep at the wheel during this build. Good luck my friend.

            • 3. Re: Video/Timeline playback quality issue in PS CS6 Extended
              Galen Fott Level 1

              Thanks for your response. I'm not having the AE CS6 RAM preview options you describe, but agree that a full quality preview in Photoshop -- even if it has to lower the fps playback rate to show it (which it shouldn't) -- is essential. I jumped to the Cloud from CS5, so I do still have older versions.


              I'm also wondering if the Animation High Quality setting for QT output is the same as Animation Best (lossless) quality. Where did all the options and fine-tuning go? Frustrating.

              • 4. Re: Video/Timeline playback quality issue in PS CS6 Extended
                moen85 Level 1

                Not sure about all of the output settings for video in PS. As I said, I usually use After Effects for sequencing animation, and thats where I usually do final output work. If I output any animated work in Photoshop, I usually only do PNG sequences (which are lossless and later compositied with backgrounds or whatever in AE) or do low quality videos of pencil tests.


                One thing about Adobe and thier business--they are good at breaking up the features they offer into different programs. For example, they will only give you minimal features in Photoshop for video output compared to something like After Effects, or Premier. It's like they give you a taste test of the feature that you need so that you will want more of the feature--then they put the full gammut of that feature into another program.


                Even with AE and Premier--once you have the video exported into a movie file, it more than likely will need to be compressed into a format unavailable in either one of those programs. So that's why they made Media Encoder. They get you to invest in many programs this way.


                I'm currently prepping PS files into a particular kind of PNG format for the sake of mobile gaming. Would you believe that there are quite a few differnt TYPES of PNG files and Photoshop doesn't support them all? So now, I gotta get Fireworks (not included in my Production Premium package) so that I can have PNG-8 with variable transparency capability in the Alpha Channel.


                My advice is get another program to do your compression (Such as Media Encoder which works really well compared to any Free alternatives) or revert back to an older version of PS that contained the features you need. Happy to help

                • 5. Re: Video/Timeline playback quality issue in PS CS6 Extended
                  Meredith Payne Stotzner Adobe Employee


                  The Onion Skin feature still exists.

                  In the Timeline panel fly-out (located at the top-right of the panel), choose Enable Onion Skins.

                  Right below that menu item is Onion Skin Settings...


                  As for the lower-resolution playback of hi-resolution files, we've heard from a few folks that they'd rather have the hi-res over the performance increase it provided.  There is currently no way in CS6 to view the play-back at high-res. We're looking into the options.


                  In the meantime, I've requested a Technical Document be created so this information can be found easily on an on-line search.


                  Thanks for the feedback,


                  • 6. Re: Video/Timeline playback quality issue in PS CS6 Extended
                    moen85 Level 1

                    Thanks for the reply, Meredith.


                    I understand that the onion skin feature still exists, that was never the issue. The issue is that it used to be in a much more accessible place. When you are animating traditionally (which is pretty much what the animation timeline is for) it is important to be able to quickly turn on and off the onion skin feature. It is how animators check thier work--to see that a drawing is flowing properly with the drawings before and after it within the sequence. In the real world, this is the equivalent of turning the light switch on the light box on and off. Traditional animators do this frequently, so that they can see through the paper that they are drawing on to the papers underneath.


                    Because of the onion skin button being burried in a menu now, it interupts workflow. It is like the equivalent of taking the light switch off the light box and instead having to plug and unplug the cord for the light box into/from the wall. Clearly, having the light switch on the light box is much more efficient.


                    The thing I don't understand is why would Adobe take AWAY a feature that was so useful? I thought newer versions of programs were supposed to build on top of the existing version? Like I said in an earlier response, I just use CS5.5 when I have to animate. It is unfortunate, but then again, so was the decision on Adobe's part to remove the onion skin button.


                    To be fair, the fact that CS6 finally supports the ability to apply adjustment layers to group folders is awesome, as is the fact that layer styles can now be rasterized. Kudos to the team on that stuff, it was long overdue and made me happy enough with my upgrade.

                    • 7. Re: Video/Timeline playback quality issue in PS CS6 Extended
                      Meredith Payne Stotzner Adobe Employee

                      We're always trying to improve the software, but trying to avoid bloat in order for a better user experience.


                      Here's the long story:

                      We added a button for Render Video -  so users wouldn't have to find it in the Export menu.

                      We also added the Transition feature, which has a button in the UI.

                      Two buttons, that research told us were not heavily used, were removed in order to keep the panel from being intimidating & complex.

                      There was an extended beta and also a public beta. In that time, there were no customer complaints about moving the Onion Skin into the fly-out menu only.


                      That said, we certainly don't intend to have a negative impact on anyone's workflow.


                      Perhaps we can look into adding a keyboard shortcut for Onion Skinning.

                      It would still require a trip to the fly-out menu to choose "Enable Timeline Shortcut Keys". That setting is sticky and would survive from launch to launch.

                      Would something like that be helpful?


                      Thanks for the feedback,


                      • 8. Re: Video/Timeline playback quality issue in PS CS6 Extended
                        moen85 Level 1

                        Yes, a shortcut key would be tremendously helpful I think--maybe one to get to the onion skin settings menu as well? If it is just one trip to enable the ability to use shortcut keys for timeline, that is not a big deal. It's going to a menu every time you want to turn the onion skins on and off that makes it cumbersome.


                        I understand the idea of not intimidating newer users. More advanced users are not scared of using shortcut keys though, that seems like a good alternative. I still think it is wierd to add to the timeline a button that users will  very seldom use--when they are ready to process video at the end of all of thier work--and to remove a button that is used often, the onion skin. Seems backwards to me.


                        My guess is that the research which indicated the onion skin button was not used often came back that way simply because people use flash to animate more often than they use photoshop. The animation/timeline is probably an underused feature altogether. Most people just use photoshop for editing images or illustrations, I would think. But since the animation feature was included with it, I think it should work at least as good as it used to. Oh well, thanks for your help and explanation.

                        • 9. Re: Video/Timeline playback quality issue in PS CS6 Extended
                          Alan Erickson Adobe Employee

                          You can assign a KB shortcut to both the onion skin enable and options menu commands. Use the Panel Menus section in Keyboard Shortcuts.

                          • 10. Re: Video/Timeline playback quality issue in PS CS6 Extended
                            Meredith Payne Stotzner Adobe Employee



                            Thanks, Alan - I should have thought of that!


                            Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts...  

                            Shorcuts For: Panel Menus

                            > Timeline (Video)


                            It's all there!