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Photoshop mastery can be elusive, but in Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery, best-selling author and video trainer Deke McClelland teaches the most powerful, unconventional, and flexible features of the program. In this third and final installment of the popular and comprehensive series, Deke delves into the strongest features that Photoshop has to offer, including scalable vector graphics, Smart Objects, and Photomerge. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, both part of the lynda.com Online Training Library®.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
All right gang, we are still working with the same images. The terrors of Sammy.jpg and The horrors of Max.jpg, both of which have been modified using different Actions. I use this Rotate, Scale & Sharpen Action to modify Sammy. I use this R, S & Supersharpen Action, which is pretty over the top of this point to double Path Sharpen Max. Now notice over here there is this column of empty icon at this point. Although up here for Default Actions, you will see that it is turned on, and it is Red. So we have this little box with dot dot dot in it.
That means that it is going to bring up a Dialog Box. And if you twirl open Default Actions, you will see that some of the Actions bring up Dialog Box and others don't. And if you want to see exactly what steps bring up the Dialog Box, then you go ahead and twirl open the Actions, and you will see that these guys are the ones that do it. All right, now so what in the world is that about? Well, here is the deal. Let's say we want the user to be able to do modify the settings, like the first Action here, works great for your standard everyday average focused image that we are printing to this one specific printer.
So this one snapshot printer is able to accommodate these kinds of images really easily. But what if the images have some extra softness in the first place, and you want to be able to be compensate for that on the fly? Why then we have got the Super Sharpen, and you want the person to be able to modify the settings to taste. All right, so I could set things up, so that it's the Smart Sharpen Dialog Box that will pop up on screen like so. So let me show you what that looks like. I'll just click in the dialog box icon in front of Smart Sharpen, then I'm going to go ahead revert the image of Max by pressing F12 key.
Oh, and I'm still recording holy molly! I am still recording the Action. I didn't even notice that. You have to Stop the recording at a certain point people. Yes, all right, by clicking the Stop Recording button, and then I'll go ahead and throw away this final step. And that's okay. Actually that's kind of useful mistake, because you'll find yourself accidentally adding totally ridiculous steps to an Action. And what happens is you started recording the Action or you start rerecording, you know, adding to the Action, they way I did in the previous exercise.
And then you will kind of just check out. You won't even pay attention to the Action palette anymore. You will just be performing steps. Honestly, this will happen to you. And about fifteen, twenty minutes later you look over the Actions palette, and it's still recording. You will see the red Record button down there, and you will see like a hundred steps inside of your Action. And it has just been recording all the steps. You switched images, you closed an image, you opened another one. It's recording everything, right? In that case just stop. Don't freak out. Just stop recording, grab those extra steps. Identify where they are, and Trash them. Anyway, all right, so now I have this guy ready to go. I'll go ahead and click on the R, S & Supersharpen right there in order to select it, and I'll go ahead and Ctrl+double click on it or Command+double-click on it on the Mac, in order to play the Action back.
Notice now, the Smart Sharpen Dialog Box comes up, and invites the user of your Action to make some changes. This is horrifying, because you are asking your user to make an analysis of the image in one of Photoshop's most complex Dialog Boxes. You really need to know what you are doing to work inside of Smart Sharpen, and in my opinion, if only because there is this very misleading More Accurate check box right here, but the whole Remove experience is unusual, and nobody knows what Radius means who hasn't been using Photoshop for a while.
And so I guess they could say, oh! I guess I'll change the Amount. I'll tweak that down a little bit or something. But that's still asking a lot of them. All right, so I'm going to Cancel out of there for a second. Here's what I recommend you do instead. Let's go ahead and press F12 in order to revert Max once again. Let's not ask the user to content with this Smart Sharpen dialog box. Turn that guy off. Let's ask him to content with Fade. That's really easy. They can fade the effect. So go ahead and turn on the Dialog Box for Fade for the second one. The first one, I suggest you just leave that one alone.
Because that's after High Paths and High Paths effect is pretty subtle. But the Smart Sharpen effect is over the top. So let's do this. Let's go back to the R, S & Supersharpen Action, and Ctrl+double click or Command+double click on that guy. And then, here is this Dialog Box. That's so easy. Then it's just like, oh no, I don't want that much sharpening. I'll go ahead and take it back to let's say 60%. 60% looks good to me. They won't even pay attention to Luminosity hopefully. Hopefully they don't go changing that and go, ah, I wonder what this would look like if I choose Difference. Oh no. So hopefully they won't do that.
Anyway, but this is such a simple Dialog Box. We can anticipate they'll figure this one out. Click OK. And then the beauty of this is we then actually record that setting. We didn't modify the original settings. So the next time they play it back, it will still be 100%. So when you just do a standard playback, then the results of your modifications are not recorded. It's only when you do a double-click on Fade, as opposed to Ctrl or Command+double click. And you see that Record icon down at the bottom of the Actions palette that whatever changes you make will be recorded, as the suggested settings that is for this Dialog Box.
All right, so there you have it. A nice flexible Action at your disposal, and sense we have done some work right there. Why don't we go ahead and select My Actions. And if you want to you can go ahead and rename this like so. My two actions if you wanted to. And then we go ahead and save those off by bringing up the fly-out menu. Choosing Save Actions, assuming of course that the set is selected. And then saving that out for you inside of 30_actions folder in case you want to load it up later. All right, just want to make sure everything is there for you people.
In the next exercise we are going to take a look at how to use Actions, not to correct an image, but rather to record a creative effect.
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