The ProShow Blog

Tips, tutorials & inspiration for making slideshows

Using Transparent Layers for Unique Effects

Today’s guest post comes from landscape and portrait photographer Gareth Rockliffe

For me, adding an image with transparent layers to a slideshow can add an enormous amount of creative production value to a project. When done correctly, the effect can just catch the viewers off guard enough so that they are not sure whether they’re seeing video or a moving still.

By separating an image into individual layers you can give movement to each layer independently, thereby making a once static image come to life. Add to that slide contrasting zooming, tilting and panning and the creative options get really interesting. The thing to guard against is not making the slide about a clever effect, but rather a way to convey an emotion about the image and enhance the whole slideshow experience.

I find a good place to begin is with a photograph that has clouds. When a separate transparent layer is created of just the clouds and then placed on top of the original image, just a simple left to right motion can give the impression of clouds floating by. It’s simple and effective. Once the technique has been perfected, you can then look for other elements within the image to add subtle movements to. This can be somewhat time consuming, especially on a long show, but in my experience, it’s worth the extra effort and I can take a show to a whole new and exciting level.

Follow along in a ProShow Producer tutorial video to get started on transparent layers!


Gareth Rockliffe is a native of Southport England with over thirty years of experience. Rockliffe has achieved international recognition for his soulful landscape and portrait photography and has exhibited widely throughout the United States and Europe.

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