When you are editing your video files, you will find that you can do more than just cutting and moving clips around. You can also add elements to your video sequences to overlay the main footage, One such example is the ability to add still images to your videos.
To add an image to your video sequence go to Add > Image/Sequence in the video sequence editor. This will open up the file browser, so locate the image that you want and then click on the blue button labeled ‘Add Image Strip’. Then position and resize the image element in your movie file. You can also apply additional effects to the element, such as transforms and transitions.
There are a few reasons why you would want to add a still image to your video sequence, especially if your content is of the educational variety. Adding elements to your movie files is a great way to make it look more professional.
What Is An Image Element And How Can It Be Used With A Video File?
When editing your videos you have the ability to add additional things to your video sequence that are used to help enhance your content. These are referred to as elements or clips and can be added at any time to your base video file. One such element is the image element.
As you will no doubt guess from the name the element we are looking for is the image element, which will allow us to add a still image to our video. This still image may be used for numerous reasons, such as for an advertisement or promotion of a product at the end of your Youtube video.
An image when added to your file can be used for any length of time depending on how long you make the clip. You can also position it anywhere in your timeline such as the start, end, or wherever it is needed.
Adding An Image To Any Video File
If you want to add an image to your video sequence, go to the add menu in your video sequence editor, or press the hotkey Shift + A to open the same menu. Then you will want to select the option labeled as ‘Image Sequence’. An image sequence is a selection of multiple images that are traditionally numbered 001, 002, etc to represent frames of a video, however, this can also be used to add any single image regardless of the name.
When you select the image sequence option the file browser will then open up in a separate window. You can then locate the image that you want to add, select it, and then click the blue button to add the image as a clip to your timeline.
As mentioned in the section above these clips can be positioned anywhere in your timeline, and can also be adjusted in terms of their length.
In order for your image to be visible, the strip needs to be above your video in the VSE, where you will see numbered channels where your clips can be placed. These channels act as layers, with the higher numbered channels positioned on top of the lower ones.
Note that you still may not be able to see your image in the preview. If this is the case, then it is likely that you will need to change the composition of the image, which we will cover in the section below.
You can also adjust the parameters of your images in the side panel of the VSE.
Adjusting Image Elements Using The Transform Tool
Sometimes you may not want the image to cover your entire video, or you may want to create an effect like moving an image across the screen. These can be done via the side panel in the video sequence editor. Like the side panel used in the other editors like the 3D viewport, the side panel in the VSE can be made visible by pressing the N key on your keyboard.
You will have several tabs that you can select, but the default one should be the strip tab at the top, which shows the parameters for the currently selected strip. Make sure that you select your image strip in the VSE so that its parameters will show up here.
Changing The Composition To Make Sure Your Image And Video Are Visible
Under the strip tab, you will have different branches that you can select to adjust certain settings. The first of these branches is for the compositing of the image, which dictates how the image strip interacts with the other elements.
This may be set to either cross or replace by default, which if the image is positioned above the video, will make the video file disappear. If the video is above the image, then the image will not be visible.
Select the compositing menu and then change the blend mode to Alpha Over, which will make both the image and the video visible in the preview. Again you should make sure that the image is positioned ABOVE the video file for both to be visible.
Changing The Transform
As you will know from 3D modeling in Blender, the term transform is used to describe an object’s location, rotation, and scale. This is also true for elements of the VSE, which can be repositioned using the options in the side panel.
Below the compositing branch you will find the transform branch, so click on transform to open all the options within. In Blender, it can be confusing when the term location is replaced by position, which is the case here in the side panel. In practice, they are pretty much interchangeable and the positional values here control where the image is on the X and Y-Axis.
The two options below are self-explanatory, with the scale options you can control the size of the image on the X and Y independently, but keep in mind that if these two values are not the same then it will stretch out the image.
Rotation is simple to use, as we are only working on a single plane the image can only rotate one way, so a single value is available to rotate your image.
The origin is the point from which the above transforms are affected. We are again able to position the origin point of the image on each axis separately. Like in the 3D viewport, this does not do much to change the behavior of positioning but affects where the image will rotate and scale from.
If your transform tools are behaving weirdly, then a common troubleshooting step is to check the origin values, which should both be 0.5 by default in the center of the image.
Finally, we have the mirror tool, which allows you to reverse the image on either the X or Y-axis. Again changing the origin will affect how the mirror tool affects the image.
Sometimes the image that you want to use may have details that are not required, or may not be the correct aspect ratio. In this scenario, you can use the cropping tools, which are used to cut into the image from each of its four sides. The good thing about this is that it is not destructive, so you can always restore the image by resetting the crop values back to 0.
With many of these options, you will notice that there is a small dot to the side of each one, for cropping and for transforms. These dots indicate that you can animate all of these parameters.
Example 1: You can crop an image so that it appears invisible at the start of an animation, then reduce the cropping effect over a 30 frame period by animating that value until the whole image is visible.
Example 2: Use the opacity value to act as a transition so that your image fades into view, then animate the scale and position to set the image into the corner of the video.
There are countless ways in which you can use animation tools to improve your video content, but there is another way to add transitions for images.
Making Images Look More Professional Using Transitions And Fades
Transitions are a common yet effective tool used to transition from one clip to the next, although in Blender there is a slight difference between the two.
In the examples above we created are own transitions and fades by animating our parameters in the side panel, but actually don’t always need to go through this process.
By going to the add menu, you will notice towards the bottom that you have options for selecting fades and transitions.
A fade is an effect that is applied to the start and endpoints of a specific clip. A transition on the other hand is an effect used to seamlessly sway one clip for the next. Because of this distinction, if you selected a single clip and then went to the add menu the transitions would be greyed out, as two clips are required for selection to make any transition work.
When adding a fade you get the most control if you add to or from your selected frame, which will allow you to get the correct fade time straight away. For simplicity, you can also just choose the fade in and out option from the menu, and then open up the operator panel in the corner to adjust the duration of the fade.
Transitions are a tiny bit more complicated, as you need to select two clips to transition between, then go to the add menu > transition > option of choice. When you do the space in between the two clips is filled with the transition.
This means that rather than fading an image during its own set time frame, the fade occurs AFTER the clip has reached its assigned endpoint, meaning that the image is in full view for a longer period of time.
If your two clips are positioned right next to each other, then the transition will not be immediately visible. You would need to grab the second of the two clips and drag it away to extend the time frame of the transition.
Other Ways To Improve Your Video Content
In addition to adding single images to your content, you can also add other elements as well. Two popular elements to add are text and single-color clips.
A single color clip is used to overlay the entire video in a single color and acts as a good backdrop for other elements like text and images.
Text elements allow you to overlay your video with text. You can change key parameters of the text, such as its font, font size, position, and color in your video. You can also add effects like shadows and highlight boxes to make your text stand out more.
An example of combining elements together could be when you are adding credits to the end of a video. You can add the background color first, say back for example, and then add text elements on top of that black background. By adding a fade effect or a transition, you can have each text element replaced by the next.
If you want, you can also add sound to your credits as an additional element, or images to go alongside the credits based on the content.
There are lots of things that you can do to edit your video content in Blender, and the best thing to do is to experiment and see what you can come up with.
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