Al Ward's Photoshop Productivity Toolkit: Over 700 Time-Saving Actions | 2 | WebReference

Al Ward's Photoshop Productivity Toolkit: Over 700 Time-Saving Actions | 2

Al Ward's Photoshop Productivity Toolkit: Over 700 Time-Saving Actions

Saving Actions

After you create an action or a series of actions (learn about creating custom actions in the next chapter) or edit one to fit your needs, you'll want to save it to your hard drive and perhaps later place your actions on a CD. To save actions, follow these steps:

1. Select the action set where your action or actions reside (see Figure 2.5).

2. Open the Actions palette menu and choose Save Actions from the list (see Figure 2.6).

Figure 2.5 The action set must be selected for the Save Actions option to be available.

Figure 2.6 Choose Save Actions from the palette menu.

3. Find the folder in which you want to save the action or action set, and click OK.

Playing Actions

When an action is in the Actions palette, playing the action is a piece of cake. Once you get over the hurdle of distinguishing between action sets (which cannot be played) and actions, you'll never forget the process; it's sort of like learning to plug the toaster in to make toast.

Playing an action tells Photoshop to execute a series of prerecorded commands specific to the action. If the action has a modal control, you can specify the values for that when the action pauses and the dialog box for that control opens.

Actions play the same whether the palette is in List or Button mode, although the process for starting play is slightly different. Also, you have more control over the action (which commands are played) in List mode.

Playing Actions: Button Mode

To play an action while the Actions palette is in Button mode, you must first know whether the action needs an open file/photograph or whether the action creates its own document (as with many text and special effects actions). For this example I'm going to demonstrate running a text action that creates its own document. I'm using the action that I placed in the palette in the Loading Actions section, called AFX-OiledMetalCS-1, which is available on the CD in the Chapter 2 folder (see Figure 2.7).

Figure 2.7 The Actions palette in Button mode: the action AFX-OiledMetalCS-1 is at the bottom left of the palette.

To play the action, simply click the corresponding button in the Actions palette. For this particular action, a message in the form of a Stop appears immediately when you click the button, informing the user that this action creates its own document (see Figure 2.8).

Figure 2.8 Some Stop messages simply provide information about the action.

Both the Continue and the Stop button are available. The person recording an action can cause a hard stop or allow the user to continue with no action taken. Since this message is simply for information, no action is required. Click Continue to proceed with the playback process.

During the course of the action, you might be asked to change a setting or insert text, as with the Stop in Figure 2.9. In this instance, only a Stop button is available. When you click the Stop button, the action expects you to carry out the requested step as outlined in the message. When you meet those requirements, you can continue running the action by clicking the Play Selection button at the bottom of the palette again. If you follow the directions carefully as given by the action and continue running through to completion, you should receive results similar if not identical to those achieved when the action was recorded (see Figure 2.10).

Figure 2.9 Stops can be used to instruct the user to perform a specific function at a given point during playback.

Figure 2.10 When AFX-OiledMetalCS-1.atn is played back successfully, it gives you reflective metal text.

Note: .psd metalText.psd inIf you want to see what the file of this text action looks like, check out the Chapter 2 folder on the CD.

Button mode is great, providing you don't need to adjust the action itself. Button mode is quick, easy, and well organized, perfect if you like a little order to your desktop.

Created: March 27, 2003
Revised: September 3, 2004