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Join Photoshop master Deke McClelland in the fourth and final installment of his popular Photoshop CC One-on-One series. In this course, Deke shares step-by-step tutorials and expert-level insights on the most powerful features, helping you make your own way to true Photoshop mastery.
In this movie, I'll introduce you to the Actions panel and also show you how to create a new action inside of an action set. To get to the Actions panel, go up to the Window menu and choose the Actions command, or you can you can also press the F9 key. Notice by default, the Actions panel is grouped along with the History panel, which makes a modicum of sense, because after all they both track operations. The difference is that the Actions panel allows you to record those operations, so that you can play them back later. If this is your first time in the panel, then you'll see this folder up here at the top called Default Actions.
That is an action set and it contains a series of inset actions below here. So, Photoshop requires you to create your actions inside of sets, which is actually a good thing because that way you can organize your actions as you create them. Now, I don't think much of the default actions, but I will give you some guidance here. Anything that says the word selection, requires a selection. If it says type, you need a type layer. Layer doesn't really mean anything, it just means it's going to create a new layer for you.
If you want to experiment with one of these actions, then just go ahead and click on it, such as quadrant colors here, and then drop down to the play icon at the bottom of the Actions panel and click on it as well. One piece of advice however, before you play back any of these actions, make sure that you've saved your image. Just so that you don't lose any changes because chances are good you are not going to like what you get. Anyway, I'll just go ahead and click the play button and I end up with this stunner of an effect here. If you go to the fly on menu then you'll see that you have access to a bunch of other action sets as well, none of which are really anything to write home about.
We start with commands which just goes ahead and records single commands, as if we're trying to create keyboard shortcuts. And then it ends with Video Actions, which convert your image between different old-style video formats. The command of merit that you might want to know about upfront is Button Mode. And if you switch to it, then you'll see each one of the actions indicated by a button. At which point now all you have to do in order to play back an action is just click on it. So I'm going to get rid of this background copy layer, which contains that quadrant effect, in order to return to my original image.
And just to show you what I'm talking about, I'll click on sepia toning layer, and you can see that we end up with this effect here. Which is again, not that great, but at least you can modify the results by double clicking on this adjustment layer. Notice that the buttons have different colors associated with them. And that'll become important in just a moment. I'm going to switch back from the button mode to the standard mode by clicking on Button Mode. And you have to do that if you want to record an action, by the way. The button mode just allow you to play the actions back.
And then what I recommend you do, unless you end up falling in love with the default actions, I recommend that you select the default actions set. And then drop down to the little trash can icon, and Alt+Click on it, or Option+Click on it on a Mac, in order to get rid of those actions without bringing up an alert message. And if that seems like a fairly dramatic thing to do, bear in mind you can always bring those actions back by returning to the fly out menu, and choosing reset actions. Which is going to give you back all the default actions. So it's not like you can't get back to em if you want to.
Anyway, I'm going to go ahead and press Ctrl+Z, or Cmd+Z on the Mac to undo that particular operation. I'm also going to go up to the File menu and choose the Revert command in order to restore the original version of my image. Now notice these icons down here at the bottom of the panel, only two of which are any longer available to us. Now you can create a new action by just clicking on this little page icon, but that will result in a default, automatically named action set which is not what you want. So the better thing to do is to have a goal in mind in the first place of' course, and then to click on this little folder icon in order to create a new action set and then you'll be asked to name it.
I'm going to call mine output actions, because these are going to be actions designed for printing images. And then I'll click okay. Now at this point presumbly you want to record in action. And you do that by dropping down to the page icon and clicking on it. That'll bring up the new action dialogue box, and I'm going to call mine Sharpen for Output, let's say. I want to put it in the set called output actions. If we had more actions available to us, then you could select them from this list. Notice at the bottom here we have this color option, and that defines the color assigned to the button inside the button mode.
So, if you want to colorful button, here's where you create it. But, you can always do that later by the way, so I'm just going to leave mine set to none. And, you can also assign a function key shortcut starting with F1 on the Mac, and then starting with F2 on a PC. And if you select one of these guys, let's say I select F3, then you can choose to make the shortcut just the function key or you can add the Shift and/or Control keys here on the PC, or the Shift and/or Command keys on the Mac.
Just bear in mind if you loaded my D keys, that's going to end up potentially overwriting some of my keyboard shortcuts, which, by the way, start at F5. I don't have anything from F1 through F4. But you may also find that you run into conflicts with some of the OS level keyboard shortcuts. So, what I generally do and this is just me, is I leave the Function key set to none, and, I just use the Play button in order to play the actions back. Then you want to click on the Record button in order to begin recording your action.
And notice now, that we have this red circle icon, right there, which indicates that we are in the middle of recording the action. And now, you would begin performing your operations. And as you do, each operation gets recorded inside the action. And we'll see what that looks like in a moment. But first I want to show you that you can at any time stop recording just by clicking on the square stop icon, or you can just press the Escape Key, and that will discontinue the recording of the action. Now, if you ever want to pick up the action again, which of course we would because we haven't recorded any operations You would just click on the circular Record button.
So those are the basics of using the Actions panel. In the next movie, we'll begin the process of recording a practical action.
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A: Deke updated the course to reflect changes in the 2014 version of Illustrator CC, including changes to the art filters, the Puppet Warp tool, HDR, layers, and actions.
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