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How to Turn on Onion Skin in Photoshop

Onion skin is a thin coating of paint that is used over a base color to create a subtlety different shade. This method is frequently utilized to give walls, furniture, and other items more depth and dimension. In Photoshop, the onion skin feature can be turned on by clicking the “Onion Skin” tool from the toolbar.

Photoshop users or Professional film creators, in particular, must understand How to Turn on Onion Skin in Photoshop. Using this method, Photoshop lets you view numerous layers at once. When attempting to align objects or match colors between layers, this can be useful. However, since it can considerably slow down your computer and make Photoshop difficult to use, it’s crucial to utilize this feature sparingly. You can learn everything you need to know about onion skin including how to activate it in Photoshop from this article.

How to Turn on Onion Skin in Photoshop 

Follow the steps described below to turn on onion skin in Adobe Photoshop-

Step 1: New Document

Open Adobe Photoshop and make a new document.

Note: Once Photoshop is launched, go to “File” and then click on the “New” option then a new dialogue box will pop up, and select the “Film and Video” option. You can select HDTV 1080p in the blank document presets and give it a name in the preset settings, and then click “Create.”

Step 2: Timeline and Layers

After creating the blank document go to the Timeline and Layers option.

Note: Go to the ‘Windows’ drop down and locate the ‘Timeline’, if it is not marked with a tick, then click it once. Then again go to the ‘Window’ dropdown and locate the ‘Layers’. Click it to tick it. When you choose the layers option, the first background layer will show up. To make it a regular layer, you need to click on that.

Step 3: Setting up the layers

Lock the Background layer, create a video timeline and open a new blank video layer.

Note: In order to lock your current layer as your background, click the icon of the “PadLock” beside the layer and press the “Lock all” option. Now at the bottom of your artboard, you will see a timeline panel. Click the “Create Video Timeline” button and you will find a timeline icon with layers that will appear. 

Now go to the “Layer” dropdown menu at the top and scroll down to “Video Layers” then click on “New Blank Video Layer” under it. Now a second layer will show up, “Keep in mind that Layer 1 and Layer 2 are different. Contrary to Layer 2, which lacks the film strip, Layer 1 varies throughout time as it depicts the transition from one frame to the next.”

Step 4: Onion Skinning

Adjust the onion skin settings and start onion skinning.

Note: Choose Layer 1 and in case you wish to sketch your artwork, select the Paint Brush Tool and choose your brush color. Now, to turn on onion skin in photoshop, come back to the timeline panel. Locate three gray lines at the top-right corner of the timeline panel. Click on it and on the dropdown you will see the “Enable Onion Skins” option so, Click on that as well. You will see “Onion Skin Settings” below it; go there and make the appropriate modifications if you wish to make any during onion skinning.

Step 5: Drawing and Animation

Keep on drawing and moving on to the next frame.

Note: To start onion skinning, first draw your first shape. Once done, you will see the “next frame option”, in the Timeline option. You must draw in the same manner by moving on to the next frame after each completed frame,  that’s how you gradually want the onion skinning

Keep on adding all your drawings. Once you’ve added all of your drawings, select the next frame option, draw the next one, then select the next frame option once more, and so on until you’re done. Return to the “Enable Onion Skins” option and, this time, uncheck it. Click the play button to watch your animation after that. If necessary, the timeline toolbar also allows you to adjust the animation’s speed.

Step 6: Save and Export

When you are done, save your work and render the video.

Note: To save your onion skinning as a Photoshop document, go to “File” and then click “Save As”. You can give the file a name and choose where to save it in a dialogue box that will appear after you click “save as”. Make sure you save it in “Photoshop” format and then click “Save”.

Return to “File”, choose “Export”, and then press “Render Video”. Once you have given your film a name and chosen a location for it to be saved, simply click “Render” and your video will be created.

Frequently Asked Question

Why can’t I enable onion skin in Photoshop?

Several factors could be at play if you can not enable onion skin. Firstly, ensure that the “Timeline” window is open. Go to the “Window” menu, and click on ‘Timeline’ if you can’t see the Timeline window. Make sure that your layer is a video layer or an animation layer. Only these layer types will support onion skinning. Last but not least, ensure that onion skinning is enabled in the Timeline window. Near the bottom of the Timeline panel, there ought to be an “Onion Skin” button. Try restarting Photoshop if you’re still having trouble enabling onion skinning. Hopefully the issue will be fixed.

What is the onion skin feature?

Onion skinning is a 2D animation technique. Traditional animations are created by artists drawing on incredibly thin sheets that are then set up in front of a light source. As a result, an artist is able to go through the frames and contrast the keyframe and the in-betweens. Onion skinning, to put it simply, is a feature that lets you see prior and following frames as overlays on the current frame.

Why is it called onion skin?

It is called onion skin because onion skin paper is a very thin and nearly transparent form of paper that mimics the outer peel of onion in certain ways. Because it usually contains a high percentage of cotton fibers, which makes it stronger paper, it is also reasonably durable considering how light it is.


Many individuals aren’t even aware of what onion skin mode is or its purposes. Simply put, onion skinning is a function that enables you to overlay earlier and later frames on the current frame. Both symbol-based and frame-by-frame animation can use onion skinning.. We recommend you practice and play around with the options provided for you to edit your scatches and create cool animations and use them in your projects, presentations, advertising, or other kinds of stuff.

We hope that this blog has given you a clear overview of onion skin mode and also how to activate it in Photoshop. If you have any questions, kindly let us know. Please share your insightful thoughts in our comments area as well. Hoping to see you soon with a new topic.