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Creating an action

From: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery

Video: Creating an action

In this exercise I'm going to show you how to create an action, bearing in mind that actions allow you to record and play back multi-step operations. So if you find yourself doing the same thing over and over again, not only is it a big time saver in that you don't have to sit there and perform all those operations manually, but Photoshop can play back a group of operations much more quickly than you can perform them. Even if you are like an absolute robot and you could just whip through the stuff, Photoshop can do it faster. So they are great automation tools, as you might imagine.

Creating an action

In this exercise I'm going to show you how to create an action, bearing in mind that actions allow you to record and play back multi-step operations. So if you find yourself doing the same thing over and over again, not only is it a big time saver in that you don't have to sit there and perform all those operations manually, but Photoshop can play back a group of operations much more quickly than you can perform them. Even if you are like an absolute robot and you could just whip through the stuff, Photoshop can do it faster. So they are great automation tools, as you might imagine.

I've gone ahead and opened this image called The terrors of Sammy.jpg and the idea was I had this Olympus Stylus 1030 SW, which is this great little point and shoot camera that you can put in the water and it's shock resistant and you can drop it. It's really an awesome camera. I love it. So I brought it to the water park and Sammy got it in his head that he would be frightened of every single aspect of the water park. So I have about a hundred shots of him looking totally goofy like this. So anyway that's what we got here, but now this camera isn't smart enough to rotate the images properly, so they all appear in landscape and that means any portrait shots like this one need to be rotated upright. So let's say that I want to create an action that rotates the image and then it scales the image for output to a little dye-sub snapshot printer and it also apply some sharpening. Just some basic operation like that.

So let's go ahead and perform the operation and record it as an action at the same time and you do that by bringing up the Actions palette. It lives right here in my little column palettes and if I hover over it, you can see it's a little playback button and we see the word Actions. You can also go out to the Window menu and choose the Actions command. Here is the Actions palette. By default, you are going to see this action set right there, these folders are called action sets and if you twirl it open, these are the default actions that ship along with Photoshop and there are the big list of actions that come with the program Now I warn you not to have enormous expectations of these actions. They are not the kind of thing that you'll find yourself doing over and over again. They are merely demonstrations what you can do with actions. So not the most spectacular bunch, but there is some stuff going on. You can try them, just grab an action like so and then play it back by going down here to a little play button and see that it's not going to function for you and then hit Stop and bag it, like so.

This one requires a selection outline in order to work. That's why it has the word selection in parenthesis after it. So my bet on that one. Let's try Molten Lead instead and see if it looks anything like Molten Lead, and we'll go down and click on the play button. I have a feeling this is going to wipe out this image. So let's just sit back. But yeah, that looks great. So it doesn't really a matter what you start with on that specific action, you are going to get this layer right there. Charming. Let's go ahead and press the Backspace key to get rid of it, because it's nothing even resembling what I want. You also, by the way, if you click on this little palette menu icon, then you will see that you can choose some other action sets as well including commands, just a bunch of single commands recorded as actions, then you could play them back as actions. I don't get it.

And then some other stuff too that you can try out. I don't mean to speak ill of these things. I'm sure some person at Adobe spent a long time on them, but I never really found much use for them. I find that it's better to have your own idea of what it is you want to accomplish and then go ahead and record it. So here's how. Let's go ahead and twirl close Default Actions because we don't want to mess with that. The idea is you don't want to go throwing your actions into somebody else's set. Let's go ahead and make our own set, because that's how you save and load actions as well as we see. Let's move the bottom of the palette up just a little bit. Come down here to the bottom and you'll see this Create New Set icon.

Go ahead and click on it and then it will ask you what you want to call your set. And I'm just going to call mine My actions and then click OK. And now so far, all we have done is create a folder in which to store our actions. Notice that the record button is not going. It's just sitting there, and you can't click on it either because you need to create an action before you can record it. When you create an action, it starts recording automatically as we'll see. But you do it by clicking on this little page icon down here at the bottom in the Actions palette and then you'll be asked to name your action and I'm going to call mine Rotate & Scale and I want it to be inside the My actions set; I don't want to put it in Default Actions, of course.

You can assign a function key if you want to, but note that your keys are pretty limited here. On the PC you can only go F2 through F12, and then in addition to pressing the function key by itself, you can specify whether you also want to add Shift and/or Ctrl, being of course Command on the Macintosh side of things, and that's it. For some reason they've limited your keyboard shortcuts to just those variations. I don't find the keyboard shortcuts to be all that useful, but you can apply them if you want. Every once a while I'll throw a function key on something that I'm doing incessantly, but that's about it.

Then you can color your action as well, if you want to. I am not going to do any of that stuff. I'm just going to click on the Record button and now we are in the process of recording an action. See that little red Record button right there? That tells you that you are recording. Now I'm not doing any thing, so there is nothing to record. It's not until I start choosing commands and otherwise performing operations here inside of Photoshop that I start racking up steps inside of my Action. But Photoshop is now poised and aware of what I'm doing.

Notice that I'm kind of delaying things and I'm doing this for a reason to demonstrate to you that time does not matter where Photoshop is concerned. Even if I take nine years to explain the next step to you, Photoshop will play it back instantaneously once we're done creating the Action. In the next exercise we are going to begin performing some operations that will be recorded here inside the Actions palette.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery
Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery

147 video lessons · 27714 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 21m 17s
    1. Welcome
      1m 21s
    2. Installing the DekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      5m 38s
    3. Resetting the Function keys on a Mac
      3m 51s
    4. Installing the CS4 color settings
      4m 34s
    5. Setting up the CS4 color settings
      5m 53s
  2. 2h 31m
    1. Introduction to masking
      51s
    2. Introducing color range
      4m 22s
    3. Adding base colors and adjusting fuzziness
      4m 46s
    4. Localized color clusters
      6m 12s
    5. The Quick Mask mode
      7m 33s
    6. Viewing a quick mask by itself
      6m 40s
    7. Testing the quality of edges
      3m 55s
    8. Introducing the Masks palette
      7m 45s
    9. Editing a layer mask
      6m 18s
    10. Choking a mask with Gaussian Blur and Levels
      6m 44s
    11. Choking a mask with Mask Edge
      7m 43s
    12. Adding a Gradient Overlay shadow
      4m 23s
    13. Using live Density and Feather
      6m 12s
    14. Journeyman masking
      5m 44s
    15. Creating an alpha channel
      7m 6s
    16. Increasing contrast
      7m 15s
    17. Overlay painting
      8m 28s
    18. Cleaning up whites and blacks
      5m 48s
    19. Soft light painting
      5m 47s
    20. Selecting in style
      6m 55s
    21. Employing masks as selections
      5m 2s
    22. Scaling and compositing layers
      6m 30s
    23. Compositing glass
      5m 10s
    24. Selecting glass highlights
      8m 41s
    25. Working with found masks
      5m 46s
  3. 1h 34m
    1. Introduction to vector-based shapes
      1m 10s
    2. Vector-based type outlines
      7m 23s
    3. The benefits of vectors
      6m 27s
    4. Upsampling vs. nondestructive scaling
      7m 35s
    5. Vectors and effects
      8m 7s
    6. Fill Opacity and clipped layers
      4m 24s
    7. Basic shape creation
      3m 15s
    8. Drawing interacting shapes
      6m 21s
    9. Power-duplicating paths
      3m 12s
    10. Combining pixels and vector masks
      5m 19s
    11. Line tool and layer attributes
      7m 5s
    12. Copying and pasting path outlines
      3m 28s
    13. Drawing custom shapes
      3m 59s
    14. Drawing with the Pen tool
      7m 48s
    15. Creating cusp points
      7m 28s
    16. Defining a custom shape
      3m 34s
    17. Assigning a vector mask to an image
      2m 38s
    18. Adding a vector object to a composition
      5m 40s
  4. 1h 23m
    1. Introduction to Vanishing Point
      1m 11s
    2. Creating and saving the first plane
      8m 9s
    3. Creating perpendicular planes
      5m 16s
    4. Healing in perspective
      8m 47s
    5. Cloning and scaling in perspective
      8m 33s
    6. Patching an irregularly shaped area
      6m 59s
    7. Healing between planes
      3m 34s
    8. Importing an image into a 3D scene
      5m 45s
    9. Adding perspective type
      5m 37s
    10. Removing and matching perspective
      5m 36s
    11. Applying a reflection in perspective
      5m 1s
    12. Creating a perspective gradient
      6m 11s
    13. Converting a gradient to a mask
      2m 58s
    14. Swinging planes to custom angles
      4m 32s
    15. Wrapping art around multiple surfaces
      5m 49s
  5. 1h 15m
    1. Introduction to Smart Objects
      58s
    2. Placing a Smart Object
      5m 7s
    3. Saving a PDF-compatible AI file
      4m 27s
    4. Performing nondestructive transformations
      6m 7s
    5. Editing a Smart Object in Illustrator
      6m 50s
    6. Converting an image to a Smart Object
      6m 50s
    7. Cloning Smart Objects
      5m 24s
    8. Creating a multilayer Smart Object
      5m 51s
    9. Updating multiple instances at once
      2m 54s
    10. Creating a Camera Raw Smart Object
      4m 17s
    11. Editing a Camera Raw Smart Object
      3m 25s
    12. Assembling a layered ACR composition
      5m 54s
    13. Using an ACR Smart Object to effect
      3m 41s
    14. Blending multiple ACR portraits
      6m 56s
    15. Live type that inverts everything behind it
      6m 32s
  6. 1h 48m
    1. Introducing nondestructive Smart Filters
      46s
    2. Applying a Smart Filter
      4m 22s
    3. Adjusting filter and blend settings
      4m 25s
    4. Heaping on the Smart Filters
      5m 19s
    5. Smart Filter stacking order
      7m 23s
    6. Resolution and Smart Filter radius
      6m 12s
    7. Masking Smart Filters
      4m 41s
    8. Employing nested Smart Objects
      5m 5s
    9. Dragging and dropping Smart Filters
      6m 31s
    10. Using the Shadows/Highlights filter
      5m 53s
    11. Regaining access to the pixels
      7m 8s
    12. Parametric wonderland
      5m 52s
    13. Working with the Filter Gallery
      6m 28s
    14. Freeform filter jam
      5m 51s
    15. Swapping filters from the Filter Gallery
      3m 45s
    16. Mixing all varieties of parametric effects
      7m 30s
    17. Addressing a few Smart Filter bugs
      3m 11s
    18. Applying a Smart Filter to live type
      5m 30s
    19. Choking letters with Maximum
      3m 7s
    20. Duplicating a Smart Filter
      2m 38s
    21. Enhancing a filter with a layer effect
      6m 30s
  7. 1h 6m
    1. Introduction to Auto-Align, Auto-Blend, and Photomerge
      1m 2s
    2. Merging two shots into one
      3m 49s
    3. Applying Auto-Align layers
      3m 44s
    4. Masking images into a common scene
      1m 38s
    5. Auto-Align plus Auto-Blend
      8m 11s
    6. Assigning weighted Opacity values
      4m 7s
    7. Employing a Difference mask
      7m 17s
    8. Masking smarter, not harder
      3m 53s
    9. Capturing multiple depths of field
      3m 37s
    10. Auto-blending real focus
      8m 31s
    11. Creating a panorama with Photomerge
      7m 27s
    12. Correcting a seamless panorama
      4m 52s
    13. An altogether nondestructive Lab correction
      7m 59s
  8. 1h 44m
    1. Introduction to new CS4 technologies
      1m 1s
    2. Applying Content-Aware Scale
      7m 18s
    3. What works and what doesn't with Content-Aware Scale
      4m 19s
    4. Protecting areas with masks
      7m 31s
    5. Applying incremental edits
      7m 6s
    6. Protecting skin tones
      7m 12s
    7. Scaling around a model with TLC
      9m 0s
    8. Adjusting the scale threshold
      5m 22s
    9. When Content-Aware Scale fails
      4m 2s
    10. Creating a lens distortion effect
      8m 39s
    11. Layer masking the family
      11m 44s
    12. Installing the Pixel Bender
      3m 42s
    13. Introducing Pixel Bender kernels
      6m 50s
    14. Pixel Bender kernel roundup
      7m 24s
    15. Tube View and Ripple Blocks
      3m 58s
    16. Making a seamless pattern with Kaleidoscope
      6m 13s
    17. Introducing the Pixel Bender Toolkit
      3m 24s
  9. 1h 20m
    1. Introduction to actions
      42s
    2. Creating an action
      5m 45s
    3. Recording operations
      5m 12s
    4. Reviewing and editing an action
      4m 45s
    5. Playing an action (the Button Mode)
      4m 50s
    6. Saving and loading actions
      5m 0s
    7. Copying and modifying an action
      4m 8s
    8. Permitting the user to change settings
      5m 50s
    9. The Best Chrome Effect Ever II
      3m 41s
    10. Recording a fail-safe action
      7m 33s
    11. Rounding corners with a mask
      4m 33s
    12. Cleaning up layers
      3m 51s
    13. Automating layer effects
      7m 1s
    14. Applying chrome with Gradient Map
      6m 24s
    15. Action anomalies
      4m 11s
    16. Rendering effects to layers
      5m 1s
    17. Testing that it works
      2m 0s
  10. 1m 14s
    1. See ya
      1m 14s

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