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Creating an action set

From: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

Video: Creating an action set

Over the course of this chapter, I am going to be showing you how to record a variety of actions, which are sequences of commands and operations that you find yourself performing on a regular basis inside of Photoshop. So obviously, actions get rid of the tedium. Also, they ensure that that original action that you recorded gets played, step-for-step so nothing is forgotten in the retelling, and then finally, Photoshop can replay an action way faster than you can perform the operations in the first place. So they're terrific automation tools. You can batch process entire folders full of images to, for example, convert a bunch of RGBs over to CMYK, or grayscale, or web graphics, or whathaveyou.

Creating an action set

Over the course of this chapter, I am going to be showing you how to record a variety of actions, which are sequences of commands and operations that you find yourself performing on a regular basis inside of Photoshop. So obviously, actions get rid of the tedium. Also, they ensure that that original action that you recorded gets played, step-for-step so nothing is forgotten in the retelling, and then finally, Photoshop can replay an action way faster than you can perform the operations in the first place. So they're terrific automation tools. You can batch process entire folders full of images to, for example, convert a bunch of RGBs over to CMYK, or grayscale, or web graphics, or whathaveyou.

I am working inside the Bridge, looking at the contents of the Original wide format subfolder, found inside the 34 Actions folder. And what I have got here is a series of 15 different images, all of which I captured on that trip to Southern France and processed, to some extent or other, inside the Photoshop. Some of them will be familiar to you from previous chapters; others won't. Now they all have a couple of things in common. They are all Adobe RGB images, with Adobe RGB profiles, and they all subscribe to the exact same pixel dimensions. That said, there is lots of stuff that's different about them.

They all have different resolutions. They contain different metadata, and some of them are layered PSD files; others are flat JPEG files. And we need to make these files as uniform as possible, and so what I want to do is take these images and prepare them for CMYK output, and so I need to create an action to do that. Now what I'd like you to do, just to verify the differences that are going on here, is in the Bridge press Ctrl+K or Command+K on a Mac, and then switch over to the Thumbnails panel, and then make sure that among the Metadata that you see underneath the file name, go ahead and turn on Dimensions.

So we at least need to see the image dimensions. Then click OK. Now I happen to be viewing my images in this vertical filmstrip workspace that I set up in advance and called V-Strip. So I did this many, many chapters ago. You can use any workspace you like, but notice here this, very first image, Arles Amphitheater, has image dimensions of 2360 pixels wide by 1040 pixels tall. That's true for all of these images, for what it's worth, and its resolution is 240 ppi, while the very next Avignon Street has a resolution of 300 ppi, then the next one 300 ppi again, next we have got 240, next we have got 120.

Some of them have resolutions of 100, some 72 ppi, some 96 ppi, ad infinitum, so a bunch of stuff going on here. What we need to do is create an action that makes things uniform. I am going to switch over to Photoshop by clicking on that little boomerang icon. Now I have opened the sample image here is called Pont Saint-Benezet.psd, and it's found inside that same original wide format subfolder. And I want to go ahead and use this image as the guinea pig for my actions. And it's important that we use one of the layered images, by the way, one of the psd images as the guinea pig, because it's got more going on than the flat jpg images, and it'd be very easy, for example, to forget that we need to flatten the image if we are working from a flat image in the first place.

All right so, let's see how we make an action, just how we get one made in the first place. First thing you do as you bring up the Actions panel. So go to the Window menu and choose the Actions command, or you can press the F9 key, and notice what you are going to see here inside the Actions panel. You may see more action sets in this, but you will at least see Default Action. So this folder is the actions set, and then an action set contains a bunch of different action. So all these other items listed below are the actions themselves.

I have to say, this default set that's included along with Photoshop is a pretty rough-and-tumble set. I don't really think all that much of it. If you want to try out some of these actions, you are certainly welcome to do so. I will go ahead and click on the top layer inside the Layers panel, which is called sky, just because otherwise we are going to get weird results under some of these actions. A couple of them require that you have Selection set up in the first place, such as a Vignette and Make Clip Path. Others are designed to work with type, the ones that say type in parentheses, for example. We have got just weird actions here, like Molten Lead. And if I go ahead and click on it and then play it, then it turns the image into molten lead.

I guess, really what it does is it just makes this random molten lead pattern on top of all the other layers. So it doesn't hurt anything, but it doesn't necessarily make our lives any easier, that's for sure. Now if you switch over to the History panel, you are going to see everything that happened, all the steps that were associated with this wacky effect here, because if you are working on with me, then the only state that was there, on your behalf, was the open state. Everything else, all these other operations, were created by the action, including New layer, Fill, Clouds and all this other garbage. Also, it went ahead and created a snapshot. This is something a lot of the actions do, and it's a pretty good idea, and we will come back to this, because that means if I didn't get around to saving my image before I played back the action, then I might have pretty hopelessly messed things up because I would be hard pressed to figure out, when I go back to the History panel, exactly where the action started.

So you just click on that snapshot, and then you are back in business, because that saves the image as it existed before the action transpired. So that's kind of a nice thing. You can try out some these other guys as well, if you want to. What we are going to do though, is we are going to make a new action, and here is how you do that. First of all, you have got to make an action set in which to house your action, and you don't add your action to the Default Actions, believe me, because it will just get lost in the shuffle, and these guys are for beans, frankly. I am going to go ahead and twirl this folder closed, and I am going to drop down to the bottom of the Actions panel and click on this little folder that says Create New Set. And that's the way to go. And also, by the way, your actions have been the organized into sets if you want them to be mobile, if you want to move them to a different system, if you want to share them with friends, if you want to switch them between the Mac and a PC, and so on.

So go ahead and click on that New Set icon right there, the little folder icon. And let's go ahead and call his Productivity, and you can call it anything you want later, but for now this is a good name for it, because these are some practical actions. Click OK, and now we are going to create the action itself. Now you can't just start recording an action. Notice that the circular record button is not available to me right now; instead, you need to make an action in the first place, and I will show you how to do that in the next exercise.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery
Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

192 video lessons · 43678 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 40m 45s
    1. Welcome
      2m 45s
    2. Making Photoshop your default image editor
      7m 43s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      8m 10s
    4. Remapping OS shortcuts
      7m 37s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 31s
    6. The color settings explained
      6m 54s
    7. Loading the CS5 color settings in Bridge
      3m 5s
  2. 1h 11m
    1. Your creative range continues to expand
      1m 46s
    2. The Avatar project so far
      2m 38s
    3. Painting on a photograph
      7m 50s
    4. Adding texture and depth
      6m 14s
    5. Simulating chalky white paint
      7m 23s
    6. Masking and placing an image
      7m 20s
    7. Upsampling and Lens Blur
      5m 9s
    8. Blending blurry elements
      3m 48s
    9. Making a Smart Object
      6m 46s
    10. Placing an image as a Smart Object
      3m 22s
    11. Blending away a background
      5m 56s
    12. Applying Smart Filters
      4m 34s
    13. Creating a glow with Lens Flare
      3m 45s
    14. Blending and masking a glow
      5m 3s
  3. 1h 26m
    1. Using the image to select itself
      1m 53s
    2. Introducing masking
      6m 32s
    3. Making an alpha channel
      6m 54s
    4. Using the Calculations command
      6m 48s
    5. Add, Subtract, Offset, and Scale
      5m 54s
    6. Prepping an image with the Dodge tool
      6m 55s
    7. Fixing mistakes before they get too big
      6m 32s
    8. Painting in the Overlay mode
      5m 51s
    9. Exaggerating and selecting flesh tones
      7m 39s
    10. Smudge, Median, and the Blur tool
      6m 59s
    11. Masking low-contrast details
      6m 7s
    12. Creating a flesh-and-clothing mask
      5m 45s
    13. Masking and compositing the foreground
      5m 27s
    14. Finessing the final composition
      7m 39s
  4. 2h 24m
    1. Connecting the dots
      1m 40s
    2. The Pen tool and the Paths panel
      6m 32s
    3. Drawing a straight-sided outline
      6m 25s
    4. Editing a path outline
      6m 36s
    5. Adding and editing smooth points
      5m 35s
    6. Creating vector masks with the shape tools
      4m 59s
    7. Building a complex outline from shapes
      4m 26s
    8. Subtracting and transforming shapes
      6m 45s
    9. Cloning, flipping, and combining shapes
      8m 58s
    10. Roughing in non-symmetrical paths
      7m 41s
    11. Finessing a complex outline
      9m 15s
    12. Masking a layer effect
      8m 26s
    13. Isolating an image element
      6m 8s
    14. Smooth points and control handles
      9m 3s
    15. Stretching curved segments
      7m 49s
    16. Using the Rubber Band option
      9m 33s
    17. Drawing smooth points with the Pen tool
      6m 59s
    18. Shading an isolated object
      3m 45s
    19. Drawing cusp points
      7m 14s
    20. Setting points in the pasteboard
      9m 57s
    21. Using the Convert Point tool
      6m 42s
  5. 2h 57m
    1. Everything you need to know about blending
      1m 45s
    2. Photoshop CS5's blend modes
      7m 21s
    3. Cycling between blend modes
      6m 15s
    4. Darken and Lighten and their derivatives
      6m 3s
    5. The blend mode shortcuts
      8m 6s
    6. The Multiply and Burn modes
      4m 28s
    7. The Screen and Dodge modes
      6m 0s
    8. How opposite blend modes work
      8m 24s
    9. Why Multiply darkens and Divide lightens
      5m 23s
    10. Cleaning up a client's bad art
      5m 3s
    11. Dropping out a white background
      5m 56s
    12. Blending inside blend modes
      8m 3s
    13. Overlay, Soft Light, and Hard Light
      6m 26s
    14. Vivid, Linear, and Pin Light (and Hard Mix)
      6m 35s
    15. Difference, Exclusion, Subtract, and Divide
      7m 34s
    16. Great uses for the Difference mode
      6m 18s
    17. Promising uses for the Divide mode
      9m 6s
    18. Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity
      7m 0s
    19. Blending an inverted layer
      3m 32s
    20. The "Fill Opacity Eight"
      7m 25s
    21. Making bad blend modes good
      5m 16s
    22. Making a knockout layer
      6m 53s
    23. Blending in the CMYK mode
      8m 3s
    24. Overprinting black text
      8m 29s
    25. Using the Luminance slider
      5m 24s
    26. Parametric luminance masking
      6m 21s
    27. Adjusting the behavior of luminance effects
      10m 8s
  6. 2h 2m
    1. Smart Objects = protective containers
      1m 35s
    2. Placing an Illustrator graphic
      6m 30s
    3. Vector copy and paste options
      6m 56s
    4. Applying Puppet Warp to vectors
      8m 9s
    5. "Gluing" vector art for Puppet Warp
      5m 50s
    6. Warping art onto the surface of an image
      8m 7s
    7. Blending a Smart Object
      4m 30s
    8. Blurring and blending a Smart Object
      6m 8s
    9. Making changes in Illustrator
      5m 57s
    10. Creating "true clones"
      7m 18s
    11. Double-flipping text
      4m 44s
    12. Applying effects to multiple layers
      3m 24s
    13. Updating true clones in one operation
      7m 36s
    14. Editing JPEGs as Camera Raw objects
      5m 49s
    15. Creating a double-exposure effect
      7m 15s
    16. Masking and shading transitions
      7m 47s
    17. Applying and repeating Camera Raw edits
      6m 9s
    18. Copying vs. cloning a Smart Object
      5m 18s
    19. Flipping a Smart Object and its mask
      3m 42s
    20. Adjusting multiple Camera Raw clones
      3m 53s
    21. Text that inverts everything behind it
      5m 34s
  7. 1h 59m
    1. This time, "smart" means dynamic
      1m 37s
    2. Introducing Smart Filters
      6m 28s
    3. Traditional High Pass sharpening
      5m 17s
    4. Smart High Pass in the Lab mode
      7m 57s
    5. Sharpening a high-frequency image
      7m 46s
    6. Retroactively reducing noise
      7m 31s
    7. Which filters are Smart Filters?
      6m 20s
    8. Shadows/Highlights as a Smart Filter
      4m 37s
    9. Nesting one Smart Object inside another
      7m 11s
    10. Drawing a mask from a nested Smart Object
      8m 7s
    11. Better Shadows/Highlights inside Lab
      9m 16s
    12. Tempering saturation values in Lab
      7m 0s
    13. Filtering live, editable text
      9m 2s
    14. Enhancing filters with layer effects
      4m 33s
    15. Applying a filter multiple times
      5m 0s
    16. Creating a synthetic star field
      7m 7s
    17. Making a stucco or drywall pattern
      6m 28s
    18. Land, sea, and clouds
      8m 30s
  8. 2h 50m
    1. Photoshop's advanced painting tools
      2m 3s
    2. Canvas texture and brush libraries
      6m 40s
    3. Painting with a predefined custom brush
      9m 21s
    4. Dissecting a custom brush
      11m 9s
    5. Designing and using a custom brush
      4m 54s
    6. Saving and loading brush presets
      5m 27s
    7. The ten styles of bristle brushes
      9m 47s
    8. Size, Spacing, and Angle
      7m 2s
    9. Using the Bristle Brush preview
      7m 53s
    10. Bristles, Length, Thickness, and Stiffness
      6m 53s
    11. Stylus tilt and mouse behavior
      5m 25s
    12. Stroking a path outline with a brush
      4m 0s
    13. Troubleshooting a stylus
      5m 49s
    14. Introducing the Mixer Brush
      7m 22s
    15. The Load, Mix, and Wet values
      5m 1s
    16. Cleaning and loading a brush
      6m 26s
    17. Shading a piece of graphic art
      6m 34s
    18. Shading with color
      7m 53s
    19. Mixing a photographic portrait
      6m 11s
    20. Tracing the fine details in an image
      5m 52s
    21. Crosshatching and brush size
      5m 53s
    22. Covering up and augmenting details
      7m 36s
    23. Painting in hair and fabric
      5m 54s
    24. Painting and scaling very fine hairs
      8m 7s
    25. Adding texture with the Emboss filter
      8m 31s
    26. Exploiting a "happy accident"
      2m 46s
  9. 1h 40m
    1. Artificial intelligence that works
      1m 22s
    2. The Auto-Align Layers command
      7m 25s
    3. The Auto-Blend Layers command
      3m 54s
    4. Masking auto-aligned layers
      4m 50s
    5. The Geometric Distortion setting
      6m 44s
    6. The Seamless Tones and Colors checkbox
      4m 8s
    7. Creating the best possible layer mask
      9m 18s
    8. Auto-blending depths of field
      5m 54s
    9. Finessing masks, accepting imperfections
      6m 29s
    10. Shooting and downsampling panorama images
      5m 54s
    11. Introducing the Photomerge command
      6m 40s
    12. Evaluating the Layout settings
      6m 47s
    13. Loading, aligning, and blending with Photomerge
      5m 36s
    14. Tracing and extracting seams
      7m 18s
    15. Adding a masked element into a panorama
      5m 55s
    16. Simplifying and correcting a panorama
      5m 58s
    17. Smart Filters and nondestructive cropping
      6m 43s
  10. 1h 18m
    1. The most mysterious of mysterious topics
      2m 29s
    2. Introducing HDR Toning
      6m 43s
    3. Reigning in clipped highlights
      5m 54s
    4. The Local Adaptation options
      9m 5s
    5. Nondestructive editing with HDR Toning
      8m 22s
    6. Using the HDR Toning Curve
      7m 2s
    7. HDR Toning vs. Shadows/Highlights
      6m 0s
    8. Merging multiple exposures
      7m 14s
    9. A first look at HDR Pro
      6m 24s
    10. Removing ghosts, correcting backlighting
      7m 11s
    11. Generating and editing an HDR comp
      7m 0s
    12. HDR rendered to completion
      5m 19s
  11. 1h 27m
    1. Processing hundreds of files in no time
      1m 43s
    2. Creating an action set
      6m 37s
    3. Making an action
      7m 7s
    4. Stop, Delete, and Record
      7m 12s
    5. Add, Undo, and Rerecord
      6m 40s
    6. Playing and testing an action
      6m 31s
    7. Playing and editing a specific operation
      6m 39s
    8. Permitting the user to change settings
      4m 58s
    9. Explaining an action with a custom stop
      5m 0s
    10. Batch-processing multiple images
      7m 22s
    11. Adding a Save As operation
      6m 34s
    12. Creating an action to save web graphics
      7m 59s
    13. Batching two actions into one
      7m 15s
    14. Saving and loading actions
      5m 30s
  12. 1m 19s
    1. See ya
      1m 19s

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