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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 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.
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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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