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In the all-new Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery, the third and final installment of the popular series, join industry expert and award-winning author Deke McClelland for an in-depth tour of the most powerful and empowering features of Photoshop CS5. Discover the vast possibilities of traditional tools, such as masking and blend modes, and then delve into Smart Objects, Photomerge, as well as the new Puppet Warp, Mixer Brush, and HDR features. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced.
So far so good, but let's say it's not quite enough. Not only do we want to take an entire folder full of images at a time and flatten them and change the resolution and convert them to CMYK and sharpen them and save them out as TIFF graphics to an independent folder, but we also want to take those exact same images and scale them for the web and give them a translucent black stroke and use the Save for Web command to save them out as JPG images into yet another independent folder. We want to be able to do that in one batch processing operation, knowing full well that the Batch command can accommodate just one action at a time.
What in the world do we do? Well, we create a separate action to save these images out as web graphics, and then we create yet another action that combines the CMYK action with the Save for Web action, and I'll show you how that works. So we're going to start with the Save for Web action in this exercise, and then we'll combine the two in the next exercise. So I have opened that image, Arles Amphitheater.psd, and this is a layered image, as you can see. It doesn't contain many layers, just one smart object, with variations applied as a Smart Filter.
But still, we're going to have to flatten this image. But before we do, we might as well start an action here inside the Actions panel. So click on the Productivity set to make it active, just so that we're sure we're going to create this action inside the Productivity set. Click on the little page icon at the bottom of the panel. And I'm going to call this guy "Size stroke & SFW," which stands for Save for Web, and then I'll click on the Record button to begin recording my action. The first step is to flatten the image, because after all, we have to downsample it significantly here.
We're going to send it to 16th of its current size. So there's no sense in having variations applied, or Smart Objects going, or anything else, because that's just going to gum up the works. So go up to the Layer menu and choose Flatten Image or press Ctrl+Shift+Alt+F or Command+Shift+Option+F if you loaded Deke key. The keyboard shortcut does not affect the action. Now, at this point you might say, well, why are we flattening the image again? We already flattened it for the conversion to CMYK. Isn't once enough? No it's not, and the reason is because Photoshop is going to treat these as two independent actions that just happen to be grouped together.
You'll see what I mean shortly. The next step is to downsample the image. So go to the Image menu and choose the Image Size command. And then here inside the Image Size dialog box, make sure Resample Image is turned on. That's very important because we need to down sample. Constraint Proportion should be turned on as well. I always make sure Scale Styles is turned on. I mean we're working with a flat image so it doesn't matter at all. However, it seems to me just a good habit to get into. Next, I'm going to reduce the width value here to 590 pixels wide, because it's going down to a quarter wide and a quarter tall.
That's a 16th of the size in general. So it's quite a reduction, and then go ahead and click OK. And notice now if I twirl open Image Size, I can see that I went ahead and reduced the Width value to 590 pixels. Because Resample Image is turned on, everything else is changing in kind. Width Scale Styles doesn't matter, but there it is. Width Constrain Proportions, Interpolation bicubic. I made a mistake. I meant that to be Bicubic Sharper. Luckily, this is a very fortunate mistake. I'm going to zoom in, so that we can see the difference once we get done applying the setting.
We'll have sharper edges once we're through here. What I'm going to do is stop the recording for now, by clicking on the little square Stop button, and now I'll show you how to modify that setting. So if you do miss a setting along the way, don't worry about it. As long as you keep an eye on what's getting recorded by the Actions panel, you'll be able to address the problems on the fly. Anyways, the first thing is you want to undo the effects of the Image Size command, by pressing Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac, so that the image is big again. That doesn't affect the action, which remains the same, because we are not recording any longer.
Now double-click on Image Size to enter that simultaneous Playback and Record changes mode, and make sure all the check boxes are on, which they are, and I'm now going to change the Interpolation method here from Bicubic to Bicubic Sharper. That should take care of our problem, because all of the other settings are what they should be. So I'll click OK, and now I'll take a look at what I've done. Now Image Size says with Scale Styles with Constrain Proportions, Interpolation Bicubic Sharper, but it didn't record the change in size this time. This kind of thing happens.
So I press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac to undo the modification once again, and then I go back to Image Size, double-click on it. Sure enough, we are seeing all the check boxes on, and Interpolation is set to Bicubic Sharper (best for reduction). That's what I want. So I get that little bit of sharpness around the edges. But my Width value is unchanged. I need to reset that to 590 pixels, and then I'll click OK in order to apply the modification. This time I got everything. I've got Width, 590 pixels. I've got Scale Styles. I've got Constrain Proportions, and Interpolation is set to Bicubic Sharper. So far, so good.
Next step is to go ahead and throw on the translucent black stroke. So I'm going to click on the Record button in order to take up the recording process again. Now I want this to be a black stroke. Sure enough, my foreground color is black, but you don't know it's going to be that way for somebody playing back this action. Anytime you're making an assumption about the foreground or background colors, you need to dial in that color inside the Color panel, if it's anything but black-and-white. If it's black or white, then just press the D key in order to reset the swatches.
That goes ahead and ensures, no matter how another user has their color set up, that the foreground color will now be black, and the background color will be white. That's just what we want. Now press Ctrl+A, or Command+A on the Mac, in order to select the entire image, and Photoshop records that one kind of strangely. I'll twirl close the Image Size, and I'll twirl up and Set Selection to: All, just so you have a sense of how the program talks to itself. Anyway, I'm going to twirl that closed. Next, I want you to go up to the Edit menu and choose the Stroke command. That's my Deke key shortcut, by the way, Ctrl+Shift+Quote, Command+Shift+Quote on the Mac.
The default settings are just fine. That's a Width of 1 pixel, Color should be the foreground color, Location, Center, Blending is Normal 100%, Preserve Transparency is dimmed. Click OK, and you now have stroked the image. Now I said I want it to be a translucent stroke. So it kind of blends in with some of the details around the edges. I think that'll look good. And so I'll go up to the Edit menu and choose Fade Stroke, Ctrl+Shift+F, Command+Shift+F on the Mac, and I'm just going to reduce that Opacity value to 50%, nothing more. You don't have the multiply it in, or do anything fancy, because it's a black stroke; it's going to multiply itself automatically.
Click OK, and then finally, you press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac to deselect the image. This time you're setting the selection to none. Interesting. There is one more step. Obviously, we need to save this graphic for the web. So go up to the File menu, choose Save for Web & Devices, that is Ctrl+Shift+Alt+S, Command+Shift+Option+S on the Mac. Then inside the Save for Web dialog box, it doesn't matter if you're looking at the Optimize display, or 2-Up, or any of that jazz. I want you to set JPG to High, Quality 60.
This is actually the Preset JPG High, if you'd prefer to work with that. We want to go ahead and convert the image to sRGB. Let's save what Metadata we have and then go ahead and click on the Save button in order to save that image. Then navigate your way to the Web imagery subfolder, and go ahead and click the Save button in order to save off that image, and we are done. Now you can click on the square Stop button to stop recording that action. Now that's half of the action. I was telling you, we want to able to convert the image to CMYK and save it out as a web graphic with one action.
So we're going to have to create an action that combines the two together, and I'll show you how that works in the next exercise.
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