Monday, August 23, 2010

Photoshop Tip - Actions

Some of you probably know this Photoshop feature very well but if you don't... well, just keep reading. In online photo printing post I helped you save some money, now I'll save your precious time!

Actions may be use in many different ways but I'll use an example to illustrate how you can automate your work in Photoshop. So let's say you took 1000 photos on holidays and really don't have time to work on each photo. Moreover your girlfriend/boyfriend wants to upload them on Facebook (today!) and your parents are coming over on the Sundays dinner. You just want to make jpgs smaller in size (for web), turn up contrast a little bit and let's say do a default sharpening. It would take ages right? Not necessary.

Here's what you have to do:

1. Run Photoshop. It doesn't matter which version you use.
2. Open first photo from your holiday collection.
3. Go to Windows from top menu in Photoshop and click Actions to open Actions panel
4. On the bottom of the panel you'll see a small icon looking like a document. If you roll over it should say "Create new action". Just click it, name it and click "record".
5. Now all operations you do on your opened image will be recorded. So as an example you can do the following:
Image -> Image Size -> Resolution to 72dpi (if it's a hi-res jpg) -> set width to 900px (horizontal photo) -> Ok
Image -> Adjustments -> Brightness/Contrast -> set Contrast to let's say +30 -> Ok
Filter -> Sharpen -> Unsharp Mask -> set Amount to 50% (should work fine with most of the images) -> Ok
6. Now go to your Actions panel and click stop icon on the bottom left and that's it. You have your action recorded.

And now it's the best part:

1. Go to Bridge and open folder with your holidays pictures.
2. Select all images inside it (CTRL + A)
3. From top menu go to: Tools -> Photoshop -> Image Processor... and a new window in Photoshop will be opened.
4. Now you have few options. You can select location on a hard drive to save your images, set quality of jpgs etc. The most important is step number four. Just tick "Run Action" box and choose an action you've recorded just a couple minutes ago.
5. Hit "Run" on the top right and Voila!

It's going to take a while but Photoshop will do all the work for you. You can go and relax, or even call your parents that photos are ready for Sunday.

It's of course up to you how to use actions. You can record as many actions as you want - especially those you'll be using often. In this example I also used Bridge but you can use your recorded actions in Photoshop by clicking "Play" icon on your Actions panel. It's that simple.


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