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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Photoshop Tips: Improve Workflow with Photoshop Actions Command

If you do the same repetitive steps to create and edit art in Photoshop, then the Actions command saves you time and improve your work flow. Actions allows a person to record and save a series of commands that can be applied to other images by simply playing the action that had previously been recorded. Many blending, text effects, special effects, and texture Actions commands comes with Photoshop. Also more Actions are available on the internet and can be downloaded free or for a nominal fee.

The picture at the top of this article shows examples of some text effects created by Actions that are already available in Photoshop. Clicking on the play button for the Action in the Action panel took seconds to convert the text to the effect (cast shadow, outline, brushed metal, die cut, wavy, wood paneling). More importantly you can use existing Actions and edit them to your specifications so that you do not have to start an Action from scratch. You can also place a stop on any of the steps in the Action so that a window for the command opens and you can alter the command on the fly.

For instance, in the above example, the text must be generated in Photoshop before you play the Action. So if you want a different font, words, color, etc. then you would have to first type the text with the correct options and then play the Action. To make the Action more versatile and time efficient, the Action can be edited by adding an open text command at the start of the Action and stop it so that the text window opens. The text can then be typed, a font and color selected as well as other text options before pressing okay to continue the Action.

The Actions panel is located in Photoshop Window pull down window (Window > Actions). The panel can also be opened with Option + F9 keystrokes on the Macintosh or Alt + F9 keystrokes on the PC computer.

Actions can be created for many purposes. Below is a list of just a few ideas.
• change the size of the image and place it in another folder so that it can be used on tearsheets for manufacturers
• change the resolution and file format of images for use on websites and blogs
• place borders and drop shadows around images for advertisements and tearsheets
• create effects on text to be used in art
• resize and crop images for product mock-ups such as plates
• apply patterns, textures, and other effects to images and backgrounds

Recording a series of Photoshop commands in Actions is very easy to do. Below are numerous videos illustrating how to use the Actions panel, edit Actions, find the Actions that come with Photoshop, and how to record your own Actions. Many of the videos show the same process in creating Actions but some show more details on using the Action panel, some give additional hints on the steps in recording Actions such as how to stop the script to edit a command, and some show how to use Actions with batch processing of multiple files. I recommend that you watch all of them to understand the process in creating your own Actions and see examples on how others have used Actions to optimize their workflow.

Using Actions
• "Learn Adobe Photoshop - Actions Panel"

• "Loading and Using Actions in Photoshop"

• "Learn How to Use the Actions in Photoshop CS3 Tutorial"

• "Recording Actions in Photoshop -" and also shows how to easily access Actions using a Wacom Tablet

• "White Poster Style Mount With a Stroke using actions in Photoshop"

Using Actions with Batch Processing
• "Photoshop Tutorial: Using Actions and Batch Processing"

• "Photoshop Question: Watermarking"

On the internet you can find simple Actions, complicated Actions, and also very artistic and innovative actions already generated. A selection of over 5000 Photoshop Actions by many individuals are listed on the Adobe website and can be downloaded. Some cost a nominal fee but many are free. Caution: The results of some of these Actions are unique and distinctive. Check out the license for the approved usage (for private use only or professional use) to make sure that you are not infringing on the owners copyright before using the Action on your art.

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