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Recording a simple but practical action

From: Photoshop CC One-on-One: Mastery

Video: Recording a simple but practical action

In this movie, I'll show you how to record a simple but practical action that sharpens just the detail inside of a flat image file. I'm going to start things off by moving the Actions panel over to the left side of the screen so that I can better keep track of what I'm doing. Now a word of advice up front. Before you begin recording an action, you want to make sure that you've saved any changes to the image file that you have open on screen. That way, after you get done recording the action, you can revert to the save version of the image and play the action back to make sure it works.

Recording a simple but practical action

In this movie, I'll show you how to record a simple but practical action that sharpens just the detail inside of a flat image file. I'm going to start things off by moving the Actions panel over to the left side of the screen so that I can better keep track of what I'm doing. Now a word of advice up front. Before you begin recording an action, you want to make sure that you've saved any changes to the image file that you have open on screen. That way, after you get done recording the action, you can revert to the save version of the image and play the action back to make sure it works.

Now, I've already saved off this image. So, I'm ready to go. And I've also created a new action inside of a custom action set. To resume recording all I need to do is click on the Circular record button down at the bottom of the Actions panel. In which case it turns red to show me that it's recording. Now note that not all operations are recorded. For example if I zoom in on the image or if I pan around using the Hand tool, those things are not recorded at all.

Something else to bear in mind is that it doesn't matter how fast you perform the operations. And that's because Photoshop is always going to play the action back as fast as it can. Which means that you're better off recording slowly and carefully. You can even go ahead and take a coffee break. And as long as nobody comes along and messes with your machine. Then nothing whatsoever will be recorded. Then we get into more mysterious territory. For example, if I press the x key in order to switch the foreground and background colors, that gets recorded here inside the Actions panel.

So Photoshop considers that to be a significant operation. Whereas, if I were to select the Brush tool, that gets recorded. But then, when I brush around inside the image like so, that does not get recorded at all. And that's because Photoshop cannot express brush strokes numerically. And therefore, they do not get recorded. Compare that to making a selection with say the Lasso tool. If I select the Lasso tool, that does not get recorded. However, if I drag around inside the image in order to create a selection.

That does get recorded. How? Well, I'll go ahead and make my panel a little bit bigger here, and then I'll click on this little triangle to twirl open this step. And we can see that Photoshop is not recording the fact that the selection was created with a lasso, because it's immaterial. It, however. Is creating a polygonal lasso, which is interesting, that has all of these point coordinates right here, plus, in my case, 362 more. Your result, of course, will vary. But that tells us that what Photoshop is actually doing is creating an extraordinarily complicated polygon when you are drawing with a Lasso tool.

So whereas the brush stroke is entirely free form, therefore it can't get recorded, the selection outline is numerical. And then note, if I press the m key to switch back to my Rectangular marquee tool and I click off the selection, then I've set another selection here. I'll go ahead and twirl it open. And now I can see that I've set the selection to none. Alright, so obviously we don't want all these steps inside our action. And, I've made a mess of the image. So, first thing I'll do is go up to the File menu and choose Revert.

Which will revert the image of course and get recorded by the way. And then to get rid of all this junk because I could leave it all in the action it not really going to hurt anything that I did all this junk and reverted the image and then sharpened it. But we don't need these superfluous steps. So I'll just go ahead and stop recording by clicking on the square Stop button. And then I'll Shift+click on the top step to select all five of them. And I'll press the Alt+key, or the Opt+key on the Mac, and click the trash icon and that will bypass the alert message that would normally appear if I hadn't pressed Alt or Option.

Alright, now let's get started on the real action, here. I'll go ahead and make my panel a little bit thinner. And we have to remember, and this is the easiest thing to forget, believe it or not, to start recording again. Because I can't tell you how many times I thought I was recording in action, but I neglected to click on this button. So, go ahead and do that, and then, I'll go up to the Filter menu, choose Sharpen. And choose Smart sharp, because after all, I just want to apply a static effect this time around. And then I'm going to call up one of my presets that I created back in the intermediate course, such as print graphic lets say, and I'm really just doing that so remove gets set to Gaussian blur.

And then I'm going to set the amount value to 250%, and I'll set the radius value to 2.5 pixels like so, and I'll leave reduce noise set to zero. And notice now the preset reads custom, because I've modified some settings. Now I'm not really feeling any urge to save off these settings, so I'll just go ahead and click OK. To apply those settings to the image. Now, as you know any time you sharpen an image you want to make sure you're sharpening just the details and not the color information. So, you want to follow up smart sharpen by going up to the Edit menu and choosing Fade Smart Sharpen or by the way.

You can press the keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+Shift+F or Cmd+Shift+F on the Mac and the only reason I'm mentioning that is because it's entirely acceptable to use shortcuts when recording actions in Photoshop. Now the first thing I want to do is reduce the opacity to 50%, and then very important, I'll change the mode to luminosity and click OK. Now let's go ahead and stop the action and take a look at what we've done here. I'll twirl open Smart Sharpen, and you can see that the Preset Kind is Custom.

That's actually really important, and I'll explain why in the next movie. Use Legacy is turned off, that's a good thing. We've got an amount of 250%, a radius of 2.5 pixels. Reduce noise is set to 0%. And Remove was set to Gaussian blur. So everything significant that we did inside that dialog box got recorded. And now if I twirl open Fade, Same thing. The opacity has been reduced 50%, and the mode is now set to Luminosity. Which is to say that I've recorded everything that I've wanted to.

Now you may look at this and say, well. That's awfully darn basic Deke after all it's just two operations, and there's static operations at that. But you can think of an action so far anyway, as being a kind of expanded keyboard short cut. But rather then having a different short cut for every single operation, you can combine multiple operations into a single short cut. And you can record specific settings, as well. And what's great about this one, even though we've only designed it for a flat image so far. Is that it's set by default, where this action is concerned, to sharpen just the detail, and nothing more inside an image.

Which is always what you want when you apply a smart sharpen inside Photoshop. In any case that's how you record a very basic action. In the next movie I'll show you how to modify the recorded settings.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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

100 video lessons · 8550 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 25s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      1m 25s
  2. 1h 21m
    1. The many and varied filters in the Filter Gallery
      1m 16s
    2. Introducing the Filter Gallery
      7m 25s
    3. Modifying Filter Gallery settings
      4m 27s
    4. Combining multiple Filter Gallery effects
      7m 28s
    5. The strange power of the Sketch filters
      7m 19s
    6. Converting an image to etched outlines
      5m 58s
    7. Turning those outlines into "digital ink"
      4m 21s
    8. Duplicating a complex Smart Filter sequence
      5m 31s
    9. Customizing a filter effect for a new image
      6m 47s
    10. Tracking Filter Gallery effects by name
      4m 2s
    11. Pencil sketching one image onto another
      6m 26s
    12. Brightening eyes and teeth in a filtered portrait
      8m 46s
    13. Using the new Oil Paint filter
      8m 8s
    14. Customizing an effect with a filter mask
      3m 56s
  3. 41m 16s
    1. Shining light onto a photograph
      1m 1s
    2. Introducing the Lighting Effects filter
      10m 3s
    3. Creating a custom, colorful vignette
      4m 34s
    4. Creating an angled watermark pattern
      5m 24s
    5. Lighting a watermark texture map
      6m 22s
    6. Turning text into a soft texture map
      3m 45s
    7. Creating raised credit-card-style letters
      5m 4s
    8. Wrapping an image using a displacement map
      5m 3s
  4. 30m 38s
    1. Magic is a shaky proposition
      1m 32s
    2. Introducing the Shake Reduction filter
      7m 41s
    3. Drawing custom Blur Trace boundaries
      8m 3s
    4. Modifying and comparing Blur Trace boundaries
      3m 1s
    5. The Blur Direction tool and Source Noise
      2m 58s
    6. Adding grain and smoothing color artifacts
      7m 23s
  5. 33m 37s
    1. Correcting barrel distortion and panoramas
      1m 4s
    2. Introducing the Adaptive Wide Angle filter
      4m 17s
    3. Drawing polygonal constraints
      4m 10s
    4. Manually straightening a GoPro photo
      4m 45s
    5. Stitching together a seamless panorama
      4m 35s
    6. Correcting a pano with Adaptive Wide Angle
      6m 57s
    7. Aligning constraints and overcorrecting
      7m 49s
  6. 52m 52s
    1. Distorting an extracted image
      1m 24s
    2. Extracting a foreground from a background
      3m 30s
    3. Introducing the Puppet Warp command
      5m 2s
    4. Changing the mode and adding rotation
      4m 58s
    5. Adjusting the Expansion value
      4m 0s
    6. Using Pin Depth and Density
      4m 36s
    7. Applying Puppet Warp to editable text
      6m 41s
    8. Creating an intermediate text frame
      3m 16s
    9. Converting layers into animated frames
      7m 13s
    10. Tweening and animating text
      5m 10s
    11. Exporting a QuickTime movie and GIF animation
      7m 2s
  7. 1h 10m
    1. Why edit video in Photoshop?
      1m 5s
    2. Loading video clips into Photoshop
      5m 57s
    3. Creating gradually fading transitions
      6m 11s
    4. Activating a few painless keyboard shortcuts
      3m 41s
    5. Adding text to your video
      5m 21s
    6. Combining your text into video groups
      4m 57s
    7. Adding motion to text (or any layer)
      5m 33s
    8. Adding soundtracks and voiceovers
      6m 50s
    9. Exporting and examining your video
      6m 14s
    10. Editing an existing video comp
      8m 55s
    11. Adding a video clip to the start of a track
      5m 38s
    12. Superimposing video clips with blend modes
      4m 49s
    13. Applying a Smart Filter to an entire video clip
      5m 30s
  8. 1h 24m
    1. Merging multiple exposures in Photoshop
      1m 52s
    2. Automatically aligning bracketed photographs
      4m 13s
    3. Preparing bracketed photos in Camera Raw
      4m 47s
    4. Introducing the HDR Pro command
      4m 12s
    5. How the HDR Pro settings work
      4m 56s
    6. Dramatically increasing the detail in a photo
      7m 45s
    7. Adding a curve in HDR Pro to heighten reality
      9m 9s
    8. Creating a faux-HDR effect in Camera Raw
      6m 17s
    9. Simulating HDR exposures in Camera Raw
      6m 57s
    10. Merging simulated exposures in HDR Pro
      7m 17s
    11. Creating an authentic HDR portrait shot
      6m 12s
    12. Softening an HDR portrait shot
      4m 29s
    13. Developing HDR in Camera Raw
      8m 53s
    14. Working with a 32-bit channel image
      7m 6s
  9. 1h 5m
    1. Managing the multilayer experience
      1m 52s
    2. Renaming a sequence of layers
      5m 35s
    3. Refining the Layers list using filter icons
      3m 31s
    4. Searching by name, effect, and blend mode
      5m 20s
    5. Color property, hide, show, and lock
      5m 28s
    6. Deleting empty layers; replacing fonts
      4m 34s
    7. Grouping layers by name
      7m 53s
    8. Masking groups and effects in one operation
      5m 28s
    9. Expanding and collapsing all groups and effects
      3m 43s
    10. Introducing layer comps
      4m 4s
    11. Creating a dynamic layer comp
      5m 34s
    12. Applying a mode or effect to an entire group
      8m 55s
    13. Moving many layers without upsetting comps
      3m 28s
  10. 1h 15m
    1. Three incentives to recording actions
      2m 2s
    2. Introducing the Actions panel
      6m 31s
    3. Recording a simple but practical action
      7m 4s
    4. Modifying settings and playing an action
      7m 37s
    5. Creating a dynamically adjustable action
      5m 5s
    6. Adding steps to an existing action
      7m 56s
    7. Actioning a consistent image resolution
      8m 13s
    8. Modifying an adjustment and adding Save As
      6m 21s
    9. Actioning the creation of a flat CMYK image
      5m 18s
    10. Batch processing an entire folder of images
      6m 41s
    11. Saving and loading your actions
      4m 10s
    12. Creating a conditional action
      8m 47s
  11. 1m 20s
    1. See ya
      1m 20s

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