What is an Action?
An action is a programmed set of commands that you can use, create and apply
within Photoshop. Photoshop comes with some preprogrammed actions.
Go to the Actions Palette and you can view what actions are already there.
Simply open the folders and take a look.
You can run an action by selecting an action and pressing the right facing
arrow in the actions palette. This will "play" the programmed action.
If you select "wood frame" for example, the action will run and create the
commands necessary to end up with a wood frame.
The real power of actions is that you can create your own recordable actions.
For example you can create your own folder, new action and press record.
Then you would just go through whatever actions you are taking in Photoshop and
it will record all of the different settings and everything. When you are
done, you can apply this action to other layers or documents.
Examples of Actions that you could record are; image adjustments, color
balance, image size (an important one), creating frames or borders, the list
goes on! Think of an action as something that you can record that you
would apply to other documents to get rid of tedious tasks. You can open
another document and go to the Actions palette and run the action and it will
apply to the new document.
BasicPhotoshop.com has a tutorial on recording and running an action
If you notice that you are doing the same commands for your uploaded or
scanned in images (ie. levels, color balance..), just record an action and then
run it on each image or automate the task. Actions is an advanced tool of
Photoshop that can really help to streamline your workflow. You can find
some really good actions out there or create your own.
You can even use the File: Automate: Batch command and run an action across
an entire set of files (ie. open files or a certain folder). When running
pre-programmed actions, they will usually create a snapshot of your document
before it makes the changes so you can go back to the original state.
Consider making snapshots on your actions.
I recommend ActionFX by
Al Ward. He has some really cool actions that create some great special
effects and text. LumiQuest also has actions which
you can load and run for image improvement. They are the leader in soft
lighting for digital and film. Actions such as image enhancements for digital
cameras are quite common.
- Orion Williams copyright 2004