This page provides a quick guide to some basic techniques in Pdplayer.


Page Contents



Pdplayer has been designed to provide fast and effective workflows. All it takes to preview a sequence is to drag a single file from it over an open Pdplayer window and press play.


Working with Layers

One of the most powerful features of Pdplayer is its layered timeline workflow. Every sequence, movie clip or still image you will ever work with in Pdplayer, will be placed on a layer. To add a sequence as a layer in Pdplayer, you can do any of the following:

  • Go to File > Add Layer or press Ctrl + L to open the Add Layer dialog. Here you can select an image file and click Open to add it as a layer. Pdplayer will automatically detect if it is a part of a sequence, a single file, or part of a stereoscopic sequence, and create the appropriate layer type.
    • If you want to add just a single file from a sequence, enable the Add as single image option. If this option is not turned on, Pdplayer will assume the images are not part of a sequence.
    • Enabling the Position after current layer option will place the layer after the current one in the timeline.
    • If you are loading one part of a stereoscopic sequence, you can enable the Add other stereo view option to automatically add the sequence for the other view. Pdplayer recognizes keywords in the path and file name to load the correct sequence, for example the characters left in the filename to indicate the left view, and right for the right view.
  • Drag and drop a file over an open Pdplayer window. Note that if you want to add an image that is a part of a sequence as a Still Image Layer, you should hold the Ctrl key while dragging and dropping it. Holding the Shift key while dragging will place the layer current one in the timeline.
  • Double-click on a file in Windows Explorer (if it is associated with Pdplayer already).
  • Copy/paste a file from Windows Explorer. Note: If it is an image file, it will be added as a Still Image Layer.
  • Right-click in Windows Explorer and choose Open With > Pdplayer.


Add Layer dialog


Working with layers is extremely easy. You can select a layer by clicking it. Shift + Click and Ctrl + Click are also supported to select multiple layers.

The layers can also be selected by Group ID. This can either be done by double-clicking on the layer number (the number on the left-hand side of every layer), or by selecting a layer and going to Edit > Select Group. Layers can be grouped together by selecting them and pressing Ctrl + Shift + G or by going to Edit  > Assign New Group to Selection.

When you add files that have an alpha channel to your composition, Pdplayer will, by default, set the alpha mode for their layers to Premultiplied Mask. If you want to change this value, you can right-click on the blending and alpha mode icon on the right of the layer in the Layer Stack and choose a mode from the menu. You can also have more advanced control over the blending and alpha modes through the Blending Panel in the Property Panel.



Blending and Alpha Mode icon options

Blending Panel advanced options



Once you have added layers to your composition, you may want to arrange them. You can change how different layers stack over each other by dragging them in the layer stack. You can move the layers in the workspace by holding the Shift key and dragging with the left mouse button.

In Pdplayer, to play only a part of a layer, go to the start or to the end of a layer until the mouse becomes a two-sided arrow, and drag. This places a Layer In Point and a Layer Out Point. When the player starts playing the composition, it will only show the frames between those two points of the layer. When you drag the Out Point beyond the end of the layer, Pdplayer will add a loop. Double clicking on the In Point of a layer will move it to the first frame of the sequence, resetting it to 0. Double clicking on an Out Point will move it to the closest end of a loop.


Setting the Layer In Point



Timeline and Work Area

The Timeline and Work Area determine the composition length in frames. You can change the length of the timeline by double clicking on the value to the right of it and entering a number, or by dragging the handles on its sides. You can also choose to make the timeline fit the length of the layers in the scene, or trim it to the length of the work area. Double clicking on the side handles of the timeline fits it to the length of the layers. The work area is a part of the timeline that serves as an indicator which parts of the different layers will be played. Anything outside of it will not be played. You can change the length of the work area by left clicking on the sides of it and dragging to scale it. When the work area is shorter than the timeline, you can shift it by dragging it with the middle mouse button. Double clicking on either edge of the timeline area will move it to the closest In or Out point of a layer.

While you are arranging the different parts of the composition, you might want to see how they fit together. You can preview your work with the Playback buttons. Pdplayer allows you to play the composition both forwards and backwards or go through it frame by frame.

Upon installation, the default frame rate at which Pdplayer works is 24 frames per second. You can see the current frame rate in the box to the left of the Timeline. There are several ways to change this value: First, right-click on the box and choose from a list of common values, or second, left-click on the box and drag, or finally, double click on the box and enter a different value.




The layer stack holds all the layers in the composition and allows you to arrange them in the timeline. They are stacked vertically: when you play the composition, the top layers will be in front of the bottom ones. To arrange the layers, drag them with the left mouse button as desired.


Saving with Pdplayer

Pdplayer allows you to save your work in several different ways. You can save individual layers, as well as the result in the Mask Area  as either a sequence of one of the five supported image files (.sgi, .tga, .png, .jpg or .tiff) or as one of the two supported video file formats (.AVI Movie or Quicktime Movie). Pdplayer also has its own file format in which you can save your whole composition.

  • File > Save Compositions As… – Saves the whole composition as a .pdpcomp file.
  • File > Save Screen As… – Saves Pdplayer’s window as an image file.
  • File > Save Frame As… – Saves the current frame of the current layer as an image file.
  • File > Save Mask As Image... – Saves just the result in the mask area as an image file.
  • File > Save Layer As… – Pdplayer saves the current layer as either a sequence or a video file. If the user is saving into either MOV or AVI files and layer has audio it will be saved in the video.
  • File > Save Mask As Sequence... – Pdplayer will save just the result in the mask area as either a sequence or a video file. If the user is saving into either MOV or AVI file and there are layers containing audio in the composition the audio will also be saved.


When you choose to save out a JPEG Sequence you can specify the quality of the compression:


Save as JPEG Sequence



When you choose to save an AVI Movie you only need to select the compression method and the quality of the clip.


Save as AVI movie



Export from Pdplayer

With the current version of Pdplayer you can export your composition to an After Effects script, a NUKE script and Pdplayer’s specific Pdplayer Command File (.pdpcmd). This is done by going to File > Export Composition As which will bring up the Export Composition as dialog.


Export Composition as dialog



The following three pictures show a composition in Pdplayer which has been exported to both After Effects and NUKE.


Composition in Pdplayer


Composition in After Effects


Composition in NUKE



Additional information about integrating Pdplayer with external software packages can be found in the Workflow Integration page.