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You can do this in Premiere. Create your animations in Photoshop, and then drag them to the timeline where you wish them to appear. I've done this in the page ( for logo ) however, it's the same thing with short animations. However, .gif animations are not great over video.
Camtasia Studio does a good job at this, and this sort of thing is built in. The effect are called "callouts / call-outs" and you can put in all kinds of stock ( ready made ) effects over a video anywhere you wish, and Camtasia does this effortlessly.
If you want to practice this with just Photoshop and Premiere, you can try creating an animated gif, or... you could create your animation in Photoshop, and then export the animation to a series of .png files ( 24bit transparent ), then line these up on the timeline (above your video on video 2 timeline for example) and this will have the same effect, but very professional looking ( however a bit more work )
In Premiere Pro....
You can make the shape in a title or as a PhotoShop document.
You can make it flash in a sequence of its own.
You can then deploy this sequence like a clip where you need the animation as an overlay which can be moved, faded in/out etc as required.
Nothing like as flexible in Elements.
Even more options in After Effects.
If you do not have Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator (the best ways to do this), then you might want to look at the fonts that you have available. In several "symbol" font sets, and in Dingbats I & II and Webdings, there are many iconic symbols that you can use in the Titler in PP. You can color them, and then rotate them, once they have been added to the Timeline. You might want to start with a fairly large font size, and the Motion>Scale, as is necessary.
Thanks for the great idea, I'll try to use just a dingbats symbol.
Seems simplest. Out of interest, how does Illustrator or Photoshop create an animated sequence out of, say, a circle I draw? I don't want it to change, just appear the same for 10 seconds or so over a place in my video. Can they export 10 seconds worth of frames of a single image as a video? in what format do they do it? and can Premiere elements superimpose a video as semi-transparent over another video? (otherwise I can't imagine how one can combine two videos one on top of the other)
you mentioned Elements, you said "Nothing like as flexible in Elements. "
Which Elements program are you talking about ? Photoshop Elements ?
I'm a bit confused, aren't the Pro series of the packages more complex ( more options available ) than Elements ( which are geared more toward beginners ) ?
Thanks for your tip, but I can't find the 'paint on' function. Also Elements' help doesn't mention it. Do you mean the Rectangle/Square/Line tool? I tried those but I can't seem to get an empty (unfilled) shape with a black border to appear. They are always block shaded or totally transparent, and when I click 'color properties' its dialog is only partially enabled (the 'Fill' options don't respond to any clicks)
I was suggesting that Premiere Elements lacks some of the features which allow decent animations in Premiere Pro. Since this is, after all, a forum for Premiere Pro, not Elements, I was hinting that you might not want to go to the simpler program for this sort of project.
I don't know why you are so keen to construct what sounds like a very simple animation outside Premiere. Once you have your shape as a still image, whether constructed in Premiere's titler or in PhotoShop or whatever, you can do quite a lot with it inside Premiere. Only when you have exhausted Premiere's considerable capabilities would it be worth using another program.
FWIW, you _can_ generate movie animations in PhotoShop CS3, but it's easier to do most of it in Premiere.
i "Out of interest, how does Illustrator or Photoshop create an animated sequence out of, say, a circle I draw? I don't want it to change, just appear the same for 10 seconds or so over a place in my video. Can they export 10 seconds worth of frames of a single image as a video? in what format do they do it? and can Premiere elements superimpose a video as semi-transparent over another video? (otherwise I can't imagine how one can combine two videos one on top of the other)"
There are several ways to accomplish this. I'd probably go with PS, and use the Layers. Create your Image Doc. to match your Project, say NTSC 4:3, then create your circle (for an example) on a Layer. Let's say that it's a red 3 pxl. so you'll want it to have a Stroke of 3pxls. and Fill to nothing. Ctrl-J (Duplicate Layer) and mask off a portion of that circle (Layer Mask). Repeat, masking off more and more. Save as PSD. If you Import the PSD into Premiere, you can do it as a Sequence (not sure of the exact name, and am away from Premiere right now). Then, just use the Layers in the reverse order that I suggested creating them, so that the circle draws, rather than "erases." Back in Premiere, set the Duration in Edit>Preferences to what you anticipate you'll want. Once Imported, you can stretch, or compress the Clip to create the exact timing, that you want. Recently did about the same using a "hand drawn" font to mimmick chalk writing onto a chalkboard. In that case, I was masking segments of each letter so there were about 150 Layers. You might want to experiment with Dissolves between the frames of your Clips (Layers) to see if that makes it flow better. I ended up using short duration Cross-dissolves. Hint, you can set your Transition durations in Edit>Preferences too. Just remember to set anything back, once you're done as they will follow to the next Project. Also, set any duration changes BEFORE you do your Import, or you will likely have to Delete the files, and re-Import.
You can also use various filters to give the feeling of a freehand circle, rather than a Vector image. I think that I settled on "Canvas" for my chalkboard sequence, but cannot recall exactly. Do not know what PS-E has, but think that it now has Layers, just Not Layer Masks, which I used for my project.