Monday, 2 July 2007

Photoshop Actions

First up is a tip on how to save time when doing repetitive tasks inside Photoshop. Using 'Actions' is a way to record a set of instructions than can then be played back and applied to an image with a click of a button. An action can even be applied to a folder of images or a selection from Bridge. this is how I create the images for each blog post. Instead of having to resize, add layers, drop shadows and text to each image every time I post I have saved an action so all I have to do is open my image and click play. So how do you do this? Follow along and we will recreate the action to make the image above.

  1. Open an image in Photoshop and apply any edits you wish, levels, curves etc.
  2. Open the Actions Panel (Window>Actions) and create a new action by clicking on the little piece of paper icon on the bottom of the panel.
  3. Enter a name, I called mine "Blog Jpeg" and click Ok.
  4. Now you will see the record button turn red and anything we do will be added to the action. If you make a mistake press the stop button and drag the errors from the list to the bin in the actions pallet to delete them. Step back in the history states (Ctrl + Alt + Z) until you get back on track and then press record to start adding to the action again.
  5. So to begin with we need to change the resolution of the image to 72dpi. Press Ctrl + Alt + I to bring up the image size dialog and change the Res to 72 and click Ok.
  6. Now we need to change the size of the image, if we use the Fit Image command rather than Image Size, our action will work on both horizontal and vertical images. Bring up Fit Image (File>Automate>Fit Image) and enter 400 in both boxes. Click Ok.
  7. Next we need to add a white background to the image. Double click the background in the layers pallet. Leave everything as is and click ok. This turns the BG into a layer. Hold down Ctrl and click the new layer icon (piece of paper) which will create a new layer UNDER the existing layer.
  8. Select Canvas Size from the Image menu and change the units to percent. Enter 110 for both Width and Height. Using percent means our action will again work for horizontal and vertical images.
  9. Press Shift + Backspace and choose white from the use menu to fill the new layer with white.
  10. Press stop and you now have an action than can be applied to any image to make a smaller version (440pxl along the longest side). You can add text to the action, drop shadows and even a 'save as' command so it will automatically save you images to a predefined location. Add anything you can think of so you save time in front of the computer and spend more time shooting.
Happy Shooting

Photo captured with D2x, 200mm Micro and Nikon 5T +1.5 diopter

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