Photoshop Elements Tutorial: Getting a still image from a video frame in Photoshop Elements

What you’ll learn in this Photoshop Elements Tutorial:

  • Understanding Workspaces
  • Organizer basics

This tutorial provides you with a foundation for working with Adobe Photoshop Elements still images. It is the first lesson in the Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 Digital Classroom book.

Photoshop Elements Tutorial: Getting a still image from a video frame in Photoshop Elements

Adobe Photoshop Elements can import video clips as well as photographs and other images. Although Photoshop Elements is not designed to do video editing, it can manage video clips either imported from some cameras, videos created using software such as Adobe Premiere Elements, or videos you obtained from friends and family. It can also take a single frame of a video clip and save it as a still image. Let’s see how Photoshop Elements can be used to do this.

1 Make sure that you’ve imported the Lessons folder, as discussed in the “Adding files and folders to the Organizer” section earlier in this lesson.

2 From the Organizer, choose View > Media Types and uncheck all options except for Video. This hides everything in the Organizer that is not a video file. You should see one file remaining in the Organizer, called Claire Bike Ride.avi. If you don’t see the file names, you may need to increase the thumbnail size to make the filename visible. If you still don’t see the filename, choose View > Show File Names. Hiding and showing media types makes it easy to see only certain media types with which you want to work. This is only one method of refining what you see in the Organizer. In the next lesson, you’ll see how applying keywords and tags to your media can streamline this process as well.

3 Choose Edit > Deselect to make sure that you don’t have any files selected in the Organizer, then press the arrow on the right side of the Fix tab in the upper-right corner of the workspace. From the drop-down menu, choose Quick Photo Edit (). This loads the Editor Workspace, which is used to extract a still frame from a video clip. The features of the Editor Workspace are covered in more detail in Lesson 2, “Organizing Your Photos.”

Choose Quick Photo Edit.

4 Choose File > Import > Frame from Video.

The Frame From Video dialog box allows you to choose a video clip and grab still images.

5 In the Frame From Video dialog box, press the Browse button, and navigate to the Lessons folder that you copied to your hard drive. Select the file named Claire Bike Ride.avi and press Open.

6 The video clip that you selected is displayed within the Frame From Video dialog box. Use the player controls below the video clip to play, pause, stop, go forward, and go backward in the video. When the desired clip is visible, press the Grab Frame button or press the Spacebar on your keyboard to grab a still frame of the video. You can grab as many frames as desired.

Press the Grab Frame button or press the Spacebar on your keyboard while the video is playing to grab still frames from the video.

7 When you have grabbed the desired number of frames, press Done.

8 All your clips appear in the bin at the bottom of the Editor workspace. When you are finished, close each file from the bin by double-clicking on each file in the bin and pressing the Close button in the tab for each image in the main window of the Editor, or simply choose File > Close to close each image. You will be prompted to save files upon closing them. Save them to the Lessons folder making sure that the Include in the Elements Organizer checkbox is checked and that Photoshop is chosen in the Format drop-down menu.

9 Press the Organizer button () in the menu bar at the top right of the workspace. You will probably only see the original video clip at this point because the other media types are still hidden. Choose View > Media Types and make sure there is a checkmark next to all the listed options. This ensures that you can see everything in the Organizer. All the images that you grabbed from the video clip should now be visible in the Organizer. If you can’t see all the images, choose View > Refresh or press F5 on your keyboard to force the Organizer to refresh the view of the images. Keep in mind that clips created from a video file contain a resolution sufficient only for on-screen viewing and probably will produce a poor image if printed on a printer or sent to a photo service. However, they should be of sufficient quality for slideshows and e-mails.


Workspaces are different environments built into Photoshop Elements that allow you to perform different tasks on your pictures. Photoshop Elements utilizes two main workspaces: the Organizer and the Editor. Each workspace launches as its own individual application. When you are in the Organizer workspace, which is the default workspace after importing images into Photoshop Elements, you can press the Fix tab in the upper right corner of the Organizer workspace and then press the Edit Photos button in the Task pane to launch the Editor workspace. Conversely, if you are in the Editor workspace, you can switch to the Organizer workspace by pressing the Organizer button () in the menu bar at the top of the screen.


Organizer basics

Because the Organizer workspace is the default workspace after importing your photos, most of your initial time will be spent here getting your photos, well, organized! In Lesson 2, “Organizing Your Photos,” you’ll discover in greater detail how you can organize and find photos that you’ve imported into Photoshop Elements, but for now, you’ll look at some of the basics.

Creating an album

The concept of albums in Photoshop Elements is pretty straightforward. In fact, at some point you’ve probably created albums the old-fashioned way, by taking photos that were shot with a traditional film camera, having them developed, and putting them into an album book. You did this to keep your photos organized.

Albums in Photoshop Elements are very similar to those albums that you created in the past, only now they are digital. Albums allow you to organize photos that are related. For example, it might be an event, person, or group. You can also create Album Groups, which can organize multiple albums into a unique category or group. You can organize your photos any way you like, and albums make the process easy. Let’s see how!

1 Make sure that the Organizer workspace is active and that all your images are being displayed by choosing View > Media Types and ensuring that there is a checkmark next to each option listed. This displays all the photos that have been imported into the Organizer.

2 Choose View > Show File Names to display each image’s filename.

3 Choose Date (Newest First) from the Media Browser Arrangement drop-down menu at the top of the workspace to sort the images by date.

Sort the images by date.

4 Scroll down toward the bottom of the Organizer and click once on the photo named IMG_0840.JPG to select it. Now hold down the Shift key on your keyboard and click once on the photo named IMG_0903.JPG. This selects the photos chosen, and all the photos in between them.

Hold down the Shift key and click to select a range of photos.

5 Press the Create new album or album group button () in the Albums panel and choose New Album. The Album Details panel appears in the Task Pane on the right side of the screen.

6 In the Album Name text field, type AIRSHOW and press Done. A new album is now displayed in the Albums panel.

The Album Details panel allows you to give your album a name.

7 To view the files in the new album you just created, click once on the AIRSHOW album. This displays only the photos of that album in the Organizer. When an album is active, it becomes highlighted in the Albums panel, and the album name appears in the upper-left corner of the main Organizer window after the word Find.

8 To stop viewing a particular album, click the album again to display all photos.

The album becomes highlighted when it is being displayed.

9 Hold down the Ctrl key and click on all the images of planes flying in the air. Ctrl+clicking (Windows) or Command+clicking (Mac OS) allows you to select non-contiguous photos in the Organizer.

10 Press the Create new album or album group button () in the Albums panel and choose New Album. Name this album Planes in flight and press Done. Albums provide an efficient means for organizing your photos. Now you’ll create an album group to further organize the albums you’ve created.

11 Press the Create new album or album group button in the Albums panel and choose New Album Category. Name this category July 2008 Airshow, and press OK

12 Click and drag the two albums you’ve created, and drop them on top of the July 2008 Airshow album category. The albums are now contained within the category.

Drag and drop the albums on top of the album category for further organization.


How to get help

As you explore and work with Photoshop Elements, you’re bound to have questions. Fortunately, help is close at hand. Below are some useful resources for obtaining help when you need it.

Photoshop help

Adobe Photoshop Elements provides detailed and searchable help that can be accessed quickly and easily by choosing Help > Photoshop Elements Help, or Help > Elements Organizer Help, depending on if you’re currently in the Editor or Organizer workspace, respectively. You can also access help from either workspace by pressing the F1 key on your keyboard. If you are connected to the Internet, you are directed to Adobe’s on-line help, which contains the most up-to-date information available including community help which offers suggestions from other users of Photoshop Elements. If you do not have an Internet connection, Photoshop Elements directs you to a local copy of the help files that still contains a plethora of information but may not be completely current. Answers to your questions are only a click away. Support Center

You can access the Photoshop Elements Support Center online at The Support Center contains current information related to support issues that other users have had and what their solutions are. The Support Center also contains How-to videos demonstrating features of Photoshop Elements.

The Inspiration Browser

Adobe has released a service called that allows you to upload and store photos online to share with friends and family. Photoshop Elements integrates with this service. When you sign up for this free service, you are provided with additional features in Photoshop Elements not otherwise available. Refer to Lesson 6, “Sharing Your Photos,” for more information about

If you return to the welcome screen by pressing the welcome screen button () in the Organizer, there will be an area on the lower-left side of the welcome screen to sign into your account. Upon signing in, new options are displayed on the welcome screen. Press the Tips and Tricks link in the lower-right corner of the Welcome Screen to open the Adobe Elements Inspiration Browser. The Inspiration Browser contains tutorials posted by users like you who have found new and creative ways of using Photoshop Elements software. You can even post your own tutorials showing new ways of using Photoshop Elements that you’ve discovered.

The Inspiration Browser.