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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.
All right, now let's say we want to create a variation on our action that gives the user control over its behavior. Specifically, I think someone using this action ought to be able to adjust the amount of sharpness applied, because as you well know by now, sharpening is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Some images need more, some less, and so I think the simplest way to present this information to somebody playing this action is using the Fade dialog box. So in other words, right at the end of the action, the Fade dialog box should come up onscreen, the user can change the Opacity value, click OK, and they're done. But that means we need to make sure that we provide more than enough sharpening, because you can't go higher than 100% inside the Fade dialog box.
So we don't want somebody sitting there going, well, I applied 100% sharpening, but my image still isn't sharp enough. So, we're going to have to goose up that Smart Sharpen operation right there, so that we create an oversharpening effect, and that way somebody playing the action back has at least enough sharpening to work with. So, here is what I'm going to do. I'm going to grab this Convert to CMYK Action that I've been working on, and because I don't want to edit the Action directly - I'm pretty happy with the way it is now - let's go ahead and create a copy, and I'll do that by dragging the action down onto the page icon and releasing.
So that goes ahead and copies the action and all of its steps. I'll go ahead and rename this action CMYK + adjustable sharpen, let's say, and then we should play the action back to the point that we will want to modify it. So, I happen to be looking at Avignon street.jpg. I'll go out to the Edit menu and choose the Revert command, as you invariably do when you're thinking about replaying an Action, and that takes me back to the original RGB version of the image. Then I'll click on Flatten Image and Shift+Click on Convert to Profile, to go ahead and play the three steps that I know I don't want to change, just so that were poised, right ready to apply the Smart Sharpen Filter, which I do want to change.
So, with these three steps selected, I'll click the Play button. It goes ahead and plays the three steps. We are now looking at a CMYK version of the image. Now, I'll go ahead and double-click on that Smart Sharpen step in order to bring up the Smart Sharpen dialog box, and I'm going to take the Amount value up to 300%, let's say, and I might go ahead and elevate the Radius value a little bit too. I'll take that guy up to 4 pixels, let's say, leave Remove set to Lens Blur, that's it, and then click OK. Now, I'll go ahead and double-click on Fade, because we definitely want to fade the effect, make sure that mode is set to Luminosity, and this time I'm going to back off the Opacity value to 50%. And that's going to turn into a suggested setting for anyone who is playing this action.
All right, now click OK, and notice we're not recording the action here; we're just making changes to these two steps. And you can go ahead and twirl them open if you want to check out those changes. Sure enough, Smart Sharpen is now set to an Amount 300%, a Radius of 4 pixels, blah, blah, blah. Go ahead and twirl that guy closed, twirl open the Fade. The Opacity is set to 50% now, the mode is luminosity, twirl that closed if you like, and notice this second column right there. It allows you to toggle the display of the dialog box on or off.
So, if you click inside of that column, that forces to display the dialog box for the Fade operation. And so during playback the action will just hang and wait for the user to confirm this operation. All right, now I'm going to switch to the next image. It's called St Marie de la Mer branches.psd, and let's try out the action, see how it works. I'll go ahead and click on CMYK and adjustable sharpen to make sure it is the active action, not the original Convert to CMYK that is. Then I'll click on the Play button to play it, and notice that Photoshop goes ahead and plays through all this steps and then brings up the Fade dialog box and asks me what I think.
At this point, I would go ahead, potentially, and back off the Opacity value a little bit. Let's say I take it down to 35%, where this image is concerned. The reason being - I'll go ahead and move these branches over a little bit - that we already have some haloing around all the branches, and I don't want to exaggerate that haloing too much. So, I'm going to go ahead and turn that Opacity value down quite a bit, click OK; otherwise, this seems to have worked quite nicely. Now let's switch to the next image that I have open; it's called March to the flame.jpg. And this is an image that I ended up cropping because I was actually pretty far away from it, and then I must admit I upsampled the image, so it match the size of the other ones, which means it's going to need some additional sharpening.
So, I'll go ahead and play this action once again, and this time I'm going to try cranking the Opacity value up, say to about 75%, and click OK in order to accept that modification. That might be a little bit high, come to think of it, but it gives you a sense of just how flexible this action is. In the next exercise, I'll show you how to insert what's known as a custom stop.
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