Robert Simpson
Science Curriculum Program Specialist

Keying Photoshop Layers into a Stop Motion Animation Project

Project Published 8/4/11 Last updated on 5/16/18
Numerous TV shows and movies make use of chroma keying (aka green screens). Take a walk on the moon, visit Hogwarts, or tell the story of a forgotten tree about to be destroyed. If you are thinking of using this technique, this project example will help you understand the process. Get an overview of the steps required to be successful. Middle school students participating in the Adobe Youth Voices program used green screens to bring the "Friendship Tree" to life as part of a stop motion animation movie. View an interactive Flash slideshow containing helpful captions and photographs of the nine month long production process. The Friendship Tree was shown at the Institute of Contemporary Art - Boston on June 2, 2011. Special thanks to Moby for granting permission to use "Wait For Me (Villa Remix)".

Please view the slide show first. There are 24 numbered slides.

The provided Photoshop file (PSD) includes the layers used to generate the images in the rebirth of the Friendship Tree sequence toward the end of movie.

Slide 13 - Spring Flashback Cloud Animation

Stop motion animation with chroma keyed Friendship Tree model. Click image to watch the before clip. (10s)

Slide 18 - Spring Flashback Tree Animation

Stop motion animation with composited video layers. The chroma key portion of the tree model has been replaced with a series of images created using Photoshop Elements. Click image to watch the finished clip. (10s)

Please visit the Adobe Youth Voices Media Gallery.

Learn more about using free music from Moby.
Mobygratis Music Tracks for Student Film Projects
(on the Adobe Education Exchange)

  • Photoshop Elements

    Organize, edit, create, and share your photos.

  • Adobe Premiere Elements

    Organize, edit, create, and share your videos.

Age Levels
1+ Month
ISTE Standards
Students: Creative Communicator, Students: Innovative Designer
  • Premiere Elements
  • Photoshop Elements
  • mini-DV camera
  • firewire enabled laptop or computer
  • firewire cable
  • tripod
  • lighting
    • $  utility lamps from hardware store
    • $$ utility lamps with gel filters
    • $$$$ softbox lights
CC License
Attribution Non-Commercial
4 / 5 • 21 Ratings

Resources (4)

or Join for free to access materials
File Size

Comments (13)

Write a reply...
or Join for free to view all comments and participate in the discussion.

David Onyango

Posted on 10/29/14 4:52:49 AM Permalink

This is so lovely, i am able to do something with my students.

Clint Balsar

Posted on 3/10/14 10:19:57 PM Permalink

Great use of Photoshop for storytelling.

Debbie Corleto

Posted on 10/14/11 3:29:49 PM Permalink

Absolutely amazing. Can't believe Middle School Students did this. Incredible use of photoshop, stop animation, layering and music as well as writing a creative storyline with the music to go along. ECXELLENT

Steven Mycynek

Posted on 10/14/11 1:32:36 AM Permalink


Rima Chaddha Mycynek

Posted on 10/13/11 8:10:07 PM Permalink

Fabulous work! Very creative! This is a great lesson in Photoshop, animation, story-telling and teamwork.

Robert Leneway

Posted on 10/13/11 2:29:12 AM Permalink

What a creative use of Photoshop, and Flash to engage student in well planned multimedia animated lesson.

Leslie Rule

Posted on 10/12/11 8:45:21 PM Permalink

What a wonderful example of video storytelling. Two things impressed me most: the fact that the story was so fleshed out. The story creation and telling is usually the hardest to do well. The second thing was just how beautiful and dynamic (yet smooth and fluid) the piece was. Really fine work. And, thanks for the video production process resource as well.

Courtney Gould

Posted on 10/11/11 2:47:54 PM Permalink

I am SO proud of our students! Smile It was a great team effort, job well done!

Lou Greene

Posted on 9/23/11 2:06:06 AM Permalink

Wonderful use of Flash, story telling, and stop animation! I'm so inspired!!!

Marie Roberson

Posted on 8/23/11 12:38:19 PM Permalink

Wonderful detailed work by obviously dedicated hardworking artists!


Posted on 8/23/11 12:32:37 PM Permalink

Just brilliant !

Mike Skocko

Posted on 8/5/11 8:08:30 PM Permalink

I agree with Jan. An epic win for the students!

Jan Barron

Posted on 8/5/11 12:24:37 PM Permalink

Amazing! Just amazing.