Al Ward's Photoshop Productivity Toolkit: Over 700 Time-Saving Actions | 5 | WebReference

Al Ward's Photoshop Productivity Toolkit: Over 700 Time-Saving Actions | 5

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

Rerecording Commands

You have seen how to alter the results of an action by displaying the dialog boxes. Although this can be helpful, it's also tedious if you plan to use the action multiple times. Another option is to edit a command once, effectively recording that step again, and then saving the action with the new setting.

I'll demonstrate using the same action as before, AFX-PencilSketch. Let's say I want to permanently change the Gaussian Blur command so that each time this action is run, the result is the darker version of the pencil sketch. Here's one way to do it:

1. Turn off the modal controls for the action (as shown earlier in Figure 2.20).

2. Open the Actions palette menu and select Playback Options from the list.

3. In the Playback Options dialog box, check Pause For and enter a value of 2 or 3 seconds (see Figure 2.24).

4. Click OK.

Figure 2.23 By adjusting the Gaussian Blur settings, the image results in a darker, more detailed sketch.

Figure 2.24 You can pause the playback for the action so that you can edit the appropriate command during playback.

5. Open the original photo again, select the action, and click the Play button.

6. When the action reaches the Gaussian Blur step, click Stop at the bottom of the palette. Enter the new Gaussian Blur setting.

7. Click Play again, running the action to completion. You can stop at this point if you choose or finish the action as recorded.

8. Save the action set with a new name.

Saving the action set with a new name gives you another instance of the line art effect: now both versions are saved.

If you already know the new setting for the command you want to change, you can simply double-click that command in the action without running the action, change the settings in the corresponding dialog box, and click OK. The action records the change without your having to walk through every step. Keep in mind that this only works for those commands with dialog boxes.

Rearranging Commands

You can alter the order in which commands and steps execute. To do so, click the command you want to move (see Figure 2.25) and drag it to where you want the command to execute during playback.

Figure 2.25 Select the command you want to move, and drag it to the new position in the commands list.

You want to be certain the command you are moving does not affect the following steps in the action. For instance, applying a filter at a different time in an action may not stop the flow of commands during playback. A command that changes the name of a layer that later has commands applied to it may result in an error. Again, the Chapter 3 section on troubleshooting will discuss these pitfalls.

Adding Steps

You can add steps to an action anywhere within the action by simply recording them at the point where you want to inject a new step.

For example, load the action set AFX-RumpledSatin.atn (found in the Chapter 2 folder on the CD) and play the action through to completion, being careful to follow the Stop messages. Figure 2.26 shows the end result of this action as recorded.

Figure 2.26 The result of AFX-RumpledSatin.atn. You can see this image to its full effect in the the color section.

I like the action, but adding a few steps will vary the effect, often rendering completely different results. To add to this action, follow these steps:

1. Select the last command performed just prior to the final Stop message and click the Record button (see Figure 2.27).

Figure 2.27 Begin recording after the last command prior to the final Stop message.

2. Record additional commands by simply manipulating the current image. For instance, adjust the Brightness/Contrast or apply a filter.

3. Stop recording (see Figure 2.28).

Figure 2.28 When you finish adding effects, stop recording.

4. Save the new recording as a new action and/or action set (see Figure 2.29).

Figure 2.29 Rename and save the new action/action set.

Figure 2.30 shows the results of the new action created by adding additional steps to the action. The layered .psd file for this image is in the Chapter 2 folder of the CD (wildStripes.psd), as well as the new action set AFX-WildStripes.atn.

Figure 2.30 The resulting type effect from the new action. This example is also in the color section.

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Created: March 27 2003
Revised: September 3, 2004