Feb 7, 2007

16 Photoshop Tips for Action & Batch - By Trevor Morris


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1. To play just one step within an action, choose the step and Ctrl-click on the Play button ( Play current selection ), at the bottom of the Actions palette [F9] (Window » Show Actions).

Note: To change the parameters of a particular command step, double-click on the step to reveal the associated dialog box: any new values entered will automatically be recorded.

2. To begin playback from a specific step of an action, simply choose the desired step and press the Play button ( Play current selection ), at the bottom of the Actions palette [F9] (Window » Show Actions).

3. If you are recording an action that might be used on different canvas sizes, be sure to switch your ruler units to percentage. This will ensure that all commands and brush strokes are recorded relative to the canvas size – and not based specific pixel coordinates.

Tip: To quickly change the ruler units, right-click on the Rulers [Ctrl+R] (View » Show Rulers) and select the desired unit of measurement. You may also access the ruler settings by double-clicking on the rulers, or by choosing Edit » Preferences » Units & Rulers [Ctrl+K, Ctrl+5] from the menus.

4. While recording / editing an action, you may insert a menu command (which might otherwise be unavailable), by choosing Insert Menu Item from the Actions palette menu (Palette Menu).

Tip: This is also a great way to keep action steps generic (i.e. the menu commands will not be recorded with predefined parameters).

5. Press Ctrl+Alt and choose Save Actions from the Actions palette menu (Palette Menu) to save all actions to a text file. This is very useful for reviewing or printing the contents of an action.

Note: The text file cannot be reloaded into Photoshop.

6. One really powerful aspect of actions is the ability to have them play other actions (even from different action sets). This feature is ideal for actions that contain repetitive command segments that could be segregated into action "subroutines" (thereby making the action easier to edit and maintain). While recording an action, choose another action and press the play button ( Play Action ): the play command is recorded as an action step (Play action "Name" of Set "Name" ) in the current action.

7. Use the File » Automate » Create Droplet command to save an action as a droplet. A droplet is a small executable file that will automatically launch Photoshop and apply the designated action to any images that you drop onto it.

8. Organize your actions by creating subfolders within the default Photoshop Actions folder (C:\Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop 6.0\Presets\Photoshop Actions\ – assuming a default install on a PC). Photoshop will still find these actions and even make them available from the Action palette menu (Palette Menu).

Note: Prefix actions subfolders (or even individual actions) with a tilde (~) to disable them.

9. If you run an action but do not like the results, you have to undo all the steps that the action performed. Instead, create a snapshot (via the New Snapshot button ( New Snapshot ) in the History palette) before running an action; you may then click on the snapshot to revert the image back to state it was in before the action was executed.

Tip: ImageReady treats actions as single steps in its History palette so you can undo actions in one step.

10. Alt-drag an action step within the Actions palette [F9] (Window » Show Actions) to duplicate it.

11. New! To include the creation of a path within an action, first create the path (before recording the action): then, with the path selected, begin recording and choose Insert Path from the Actions palette menu (Palette Menu).

12. New! Select non-contiguous action steps using the Shift key. Use the Ctrl key to range select contiguous action steps. You may then move, copy, duplicate, delete, or even play the selected steps!

Note: You may only select multiple steps within a single action.

Batch Processing

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13. To improve the performance of batch processes (File » Automate » Batch), reduce the number of saved history states, in the General Preferences [Ctrl+K] (Edit » Preferences » General), and deselect the Automatically Create First Snapshot option in the History Options (History palette menu » History Options).

14. To batch-process multiple folders in a single batch, enable the Include All Subfolders option, and create shortcuts within the source folder to all folders you would like to have processed.

15. To batch-process multiple actions, create a new action and record the batch for each action that you would like to process. Then run a batch-process using the newly created action.

Tip: You may also use this technique in conjunction with tip 14, above.

16. To change the default Web Contact Sheets (File » Automate » Web Photo Gallery), edit the HTML files located in C:\Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop 6.0\Presets\WebContactSheet\. You may even create your own HTML files and place them in their own folders. Your template will then appear in the Web Photo Gallery dialog box (without having to restart Photoshop).

Note: It is always a good idea to make a backup of any files that you are going to change: however, you can always restore them from the Photoshop installation CD.


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Edward said...

These tips are very helpful. I'm just an amateur in Photoshop so I find this blog informative. I want to learn it because I'm so inspired to create design and edit photos because of my mom who's web designer.

My mom's business is sweets. At first, she's selling her products online (Facebook and Twitter). Thank God that her business succeeded. Since our hometown, Toronto, web design and development is known for good services, my mom hired a web designer (Toronto-based) so her business has its own website. We both love the designs! Her website was launched last January. We're glad that her clients love it too and it is easier now for them to order.

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