Archive for August 2009

Fun with Photoshop Actions

August 27, 2009

JP_090517_20313 copyJP_090517_20313-Edit_flat copy

I now use Adobe Lightroom for about 90% of my work, but I still use Adobe Photoshop for pictures that require layers,  compositing, and creative tools that Lightroom doesn’t have,  such as Actions.

Actions are awesome. An action is a programmed series of operations in Photoshop that is set in motion with a single mouse click, and can be designed to do just about anything, from simple to extremely complex. They’re one-step solutions that can really add to productivity and creativity.

Photoshop comes with a few actions, and you can write your own, although the process is not very intuitive. There are gobs of free actions on-line for a huge range of tasks, and I regularly surf for them,  looking for new ones to add something special to my pictures or automate  really boring and repetitive tasks, such as resizing pictures and saving them as jpgs.

One of my favorite actions converts an image into a high-contrast black and white duotone.  I often combine this action with layer masking and painting to create duotones that also have areas of color.  Above  is a before and after example of this technique.

To add an action to Photoshop, click on the menu box in the upper right corner of the Actions Palette, and select “Load Options”. Then, navigate to the folder on your computer where you have saved the action and select it.

actions paletteactions menu

To apply an action to an image, first open the image in Photoshop and click on the button for the action in the Actions Palette. In the picture on the left,  above, each of the horizontal bars with text is an action “button”.

Below are some of my favorite Actions websites;   Google “Photoshop Actions” to find many, many more.

Have fun!

Action Central

Deviant Art

Smashing Magazine

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