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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.
Now basically, when you are recording an action, you are recording a specific set of instructions that you want to play over and over again and that means you've really got to dot your I's and cross your T's and make sure that everything is working out exactly right. So the first thing you want to do in terms of troubleshooting here, right after you get done recording an action, even if it's a pretty darn simple one like this, you want to go ahead and play that action back on the exact same image you recorded it on in the first place, and I know that sounds crazy like how could anything go wrong. But my experience is more than half the time something goes wrong even on that exact same image that I was just working on.
So we are not going to encounter any problems here, but I just want to show you how you go about playing the action, reviewing it, making modifications, and so on. So what you do, as you go up to the File menu and you choose the Revert Command. Assuming you didn't save your modifications, you just went ahead and recorded them here. You go ahead and choose Revert in order to restore the original version of the image as it looked before you started recording the action. There is a tip for you by the way. Before you begin recording an action, make sure to save your image so that all previous non- recorded modifications are up-to-date.
All right, then what you do is you go ahead and click on the action in order to select it right there, and you click the Play button down here at the bottom of the palette, and then you let it play and you see if everything worked out. And in our case, it worked out beautifully. Well, let's say something went wrong. Then how do you go about sort of just working through the action step-by-step. Let me show you. We'll go ahead and revert the image again by pressing F12, which is the keyboard shortcut of course, and then I'll move Sammy over a little bit so we can see what's going on.
What you do is you go ahead and click on a step, and if you click on a step and click the Play button, it's just going to play from that point on. So it will go ahead and play the entire thing. However, you can limit playback to a single step if you want to, using this wonderful trick. It's kind of a top- secret trick here. Press the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac, and you double-click on a step, and that will playback just that one step. Now, if you Ctrl+Double-click or Command +Double-click on an action, you'll play the entire action. So that is the way to playback an action inside of Photoshop.
Next, I'll go ahead and Ctrl+Double- click or Command+Double-click on Image Size, and then I'll Ctrl+Double-click or Command+Double-click on High Pass, and then I'll Ctrl+Double-click or Command+ Double-click on Fade. That way, you can play through each step one step at a time. So it's a really great way to work. Now, I'm going to go ahead and backup a few steps here, by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Z or Command+Option+Z a few times until I restore the large version of the image, right after it got rotated. The reason is let's say I change my mind. Let's say for example, this Image Size operation right there. I want to change that, because I don't want to scale the image down quite so far. I figured out for example that I have more room to work. I want this to be a frame -able image. Maybe I figured out that the resolution of my printer is different than I thought. I want to change this Image Size step.
Well, if you want to change one of your steps, don't press Ctrl or Command, you just double-click on that step name and notice what happens down here at the bottom of the palette. You are going to see both the Record and the Play operations highlighted. This is showing you that you are playing the step. So it's going to go ahead and show you the settings that you recorded previously, but Photoshop is also going to record any changes that you make. So I'm going to stick with the same values I modified last time, which are Width and Resolution. So I'm going to change the Resolution value to 306, because I just newly discovered that's actually the resolution of my printer.
What was I thinking? Then I'm going to go ahead and change the Width value to 6. So I'm creating a 6x8 image, and it's still going to get smaller, so I'm still down-sampling, which is good. I wouldn't want to up-sample this image, and then I'll go ahead and click OK. Now, notice right now, it's not showing me any different settings. As soon as I click OK, it will go ahead and update those settings. So we have Width of 6 inches and Resolution of 306. We are just playing and modifying that one operation, and it's left us back right after we went ahead and played back the Image Size command.
So now in order to make sure that worked, I'll press F12 again in order to revert the image, and there is Sammy looking horrified right there. Now, I'll go ahead and playback the whole darn thing and see if it works. And it works beautifully, and the Sharpening still works great. So it's a successful action. So we managed to review the action, make sure it works, and make a modification as well. In the next exercise, I'll show you how to play the action back on a totally different image, and really make sure that it works.
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