Photoshop tutorial: Working with the Actions panel |

Uploaded by lynda on 23.07.2012

As a designer, I'm always trying to streamline my workflow and make myself more productive.
The best way to do that inside of Photoshop is to start using some of the automation tools.
One of the best automation tools inside of Photoshop are actions, and in this movie we're
going to be exploring the Actions panel, and we'll also create our first basic action so
we can understand how they work and why they're so useful. First things first: let's open
up the Actions panel. I'll go up to the Window menu and choose Actions. Once I've the Actions
panel open, I'll expand it down so you can see it, and I'll also expand out the Default
Action set. There are several actions that ship with Photoshop, but most of these aren't
going to give you anything useful, in my experience. So I usually just collapse these up and work
from my own actions and my ownaction sets. Action sets refer to the folders, like you
see here, that contain various actions. I always look at it as, I group actions according
to the different types of tasks that I'm doing inside of Photoshop. So for instance, I might
have some resizing actions, some cropping actions, some web or usability-testing actions.
I might have some filter or creative actions. I group all of those into their own separate
sets, making it easier for me to access the actions I need at any given time. For this
particular demonstration, I'm going to create a new action set by coming down and clicking
right here on this Create new action set folder. Once I do that, I'm going to call this Mobile
Testing and hit OK. Once I've created my new action set, I'm ready to start creating actions
inside of it. In order to do that, you're going to come down and click this New Action
icon. Once you click that icon, the New Action dialog box comes up and you can type in the
name of your action. For this action I'm going to call it Retina Display Test. I'll save
it to the Mobile Testing set. Now the cool part about actions is the fact that you can
assign function keys to these. So if you really want to get quick, you can actually assign
a keyboard shortcut to this action. So something like Shift+F2 or Shift+Command+F3 or whatever
you might wanted to use. You can also assign a color, which comes in handy when using something
called Button mode. I'll go ahead and turn on the red color, and we'll see what that
means in just a moment. Now I'm going to hit record. Here is the part where a lot of people
get thrown off. They hear the word "record" and they automatically think of timing. They
think that they're being timed, so they rush through and they do things and they might
make mistakes. You're not being timed when you're creating actions inside of Photoshop.
Photoshop merely has flipped on a switch to say, okay, anything this guy does while this
is turned on, I need to remember, because he's going to want to do this again later
and I don't want him to have to go back to the menus and find all the stuff again. So
it's merely recording steps, not the amount of time it takes you to do them. In my experience,
it's always good practice to write down every step of the action that you're going to perform
before you actually record it. Maybe actually go through and practice that as well a few
times before you go through the recording phase. That way when you go through and record
it, you ensure that you get it right each and every time, and you don't have to re-record
the action. Basically, what I'm going to do here is I'm going to set up an action that
tests this for our Retina display. In order to do that, I need to scale the image up,
but I want to add something to that: a snapshot in the History panel. The snapshot in the
History panel allows me to go back and forth between the original image and the new Retina
graphic. So I'll first go over to the History panel, I'll go down to the bottom of the History
panel, and I'll select this small icon which looks like a camera to create a snapshot.
Then I'm going back over to the Actions panel. In the Actions panel, you'll see a new step
has been added that says Make snapshot. So it actually recorded what I did. Now I'll
go up to the Image menu, choose Image Size, change Pixels to Percent, and change this
to 200, so 200%. Hit OK. Now you see Image Size is right there. If you toggle the little
triangle next to any one of these steps, it actually shows you what you did in the step.
I'll toggle that back up to close it. When you're ready to complete the action, come
down to the bottom of the Actions panel and click stop. Now any time I want to run this
action on anything else, all I have to do is open the file and click the play button.
So let's revert this file by going to File > Revert, and I'll go over to the History
panel, and I'll also remove the snapshot that I created. There we go. And I'm going to go
ahead and go back over to the Actions panel. I'll select Retina Display Test and I'll come
down to the bottom and I'll hit play. When I hit play, all the steps that I just did
play back on the image, and if I go over to the History panel, I have my new snapshot
right there. And check this out. I can go from 1x to 2x just by clicking. So I get to
test the clarity and alignment of all my objects for both the Retina display and the regular
display on the iPhone, just by toggling back and forth between these. If I go back to the
Actions panel, I can also switch to something called Button mode, by clicking on the Actions
panel menu and choosing Button mode. Remember earlier when I assigned the red color to my
action? There it is, at the bottom, Retina Display Test. So if I do File > Revert again,
I can click Retina Display Test. It plays everything back. There it is, at 2x. If I
go to the History panel, I now have another snapshot, which I can go back and forth anytime
I want to. Pretty neat! So it will probably take some time for you to develop all of your
actions, and you may not even know what things you do repetitively that would require an
action inside of Photoshop. But as you continue to evolve your own personal workflow, you'll
find things that become repetitive. Try doing those as actions and recording your steps
to save yourself some time down the road.