Skip to main content

Photoshop Actions

Lesson 19 from: Adobe Photoshop CC: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

Photoshop Actions

Lesson 19 from: Adobe Photoshop CC: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

most popular photo & video

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

19. Photoshop Actions

Photoshop actions allow you to automate common tasks to make your workflow faster and more efficient.
Summary (Generated from Transcript)

The topic of the lesson is Adobe Photoshop CC: The Complete Guide: Photoshop Actions.


  • What are actions and automation in Photoshop?
  • When should you consider automating a task using actions?
  • How do you create a new action in Photoshop?
  • What are some common steps to include in an action?
  • How can you make sure an action is compatible with different images?
  • What should you do if a step in an action needs to be modified for different images?
  • How can you add instructions or pause a recorded action in Photoshop? Topic: Actions and Automation in Photoshop


  1. How can you adjust the settings for an action?

    Click "Continue" and make the necessary adjustments.

  2. What should you do if you don't want an action to prompt you every time you use it?

    Click on the word "Stop" and drag it to the trash, or uncheck the box to skip that step.

  3. How can you remove a step from an action?

    Click on the step and drag it to the trash.

  4. What should you do if you want to give an action to a friend but want to enable the skipped step?

    Turn on the checkbox for that step before saving and giving them the action.

  5. What happens if your action has more than 20 steps and you want to go back beyond that limit?

    You will need to use the "Revert" command in the File menu.

  6. How can you modify an action to include additional steps?

    Use the "Record" button to add new steps, or use the "Insert Menu Item" command to add specific menu actions.

  7. How can you change the view of the Actions panel to button mode?

    Go to the side menu of the Actions panel and choose "Button Mode".

  8. What is the purpose of a droplet in Photoshop?

    A droplet allows you to apply an action to multiple files by dragging and dropping them onto the droplet icon.

  9. How can you automate tasks in Photoshop from Lightroom?

    In Lightroom, use the export screen and choose an action to apply after the export process.

  10. What should you do if an action prompts you to save files when using a droplet?

    Check if the action includes a step to flatten the image before saving, or select a file format that supports layers.

Lesson Info

Photoshop Actions

And we are back with another episode with Photoshop CC, the complete guide. We're in week four. So we're really getting close to the end here. And today, well. Tomorrow's our last day. We're one day away from wrapping it up. I know, it's been. We've been together for almost a whole month. They're getting teary in the audience here. Today, we're gonna cover actions and automation. So if there's something we need to do all the time or something we don't want to have to remember the steps for or something similar to that. We're going to learn how to do it in Photoshop. So let's head over to Photoshop. Alright, there are certain things that I need to do a lot and some of them might be pretty simple techniques I need to do but if it's more than one step. If it's like three steps to get it done. I might want to automate it if I do it often enough. If it's something I do 10 times a day, it's probably worth automating. So that's what we're gonna start off with as far as an example goes. When I...

used this image. I believe we were talking about advanced retouching and what we had done is I came in here and selected these little white marks. And I think I might have used the magic wand tool to come in here and just click on a few of these little spots. I held shift and I clicked on them and I got them selected. And then to get rid of them I needed to go to the select menu and choose modify. And there was a choice called expand at some point. And do other things. Well, there was one thing I attempted to do that didn't work. I don't know if you recall it or not. Let me get to the point where I was with that. I had selected all these. I went to the Select menu. I chose similar to have it find similar areas within the image. It did, then I came over here and chose expand. And I expanded by about two pixels. And right here is when it started to become hard for me and here's what I wanted to do and it wouldn't let me. I created a brand new empty layer. I wanted to come over here and choose fill and tell it to use the content-aware setting. When I did, it almost always says this if I'm working on an empty layer. And I was like okay fine. You're gonna make me do more work. So I was like, I know I can get the end result I want but I have to do a couple steps right now to get there. Here's what I did. I duplicated the layer that contained the original I attempted to do what I was trying to do in the first place again by going to the edit menu and choosing fill. And when I was done I did something as simple as going to the select menu and choosing inverse and hitting delete. I don't know if you recall that or not but I want to automate that process. So here I'm just testing it first to make sure I remember the process. Then I'll hit delete. And once I've done that. Over here on my layers palette was the actual result that I was looking for in the first place. But I hate that every time I try to use that feature. When I go to the edit menu and I choose fill. I use the content aware setting and it doesn't want to work on an empty layer. And every time I have to duplicate the layer and go through this process, I curse. It's like. I just say Adobe, why don't you, you know, make this work? And so I make it work by using the features that are built into Photoshop, so let's see what I'm going to end up doing. We're going to record an action to make it easier. So the only steps that I don't mind or that I do mind doing here is creating a new layer. T.rying to use the feature and realizing it doesn't work So let's replace that with an action. I'm gonna go to the window menu. I'm gonna choose actions and this comes up. And in here we're just gonna have a folder called default actions. And there might be some fun ones to play with in there but we're gonna make out own. At the bottom of the actions panel is a folder icon I'm gonna create a brand-new folder. And I'm gonna call this CL PSD Bootcamp because PSD stands for Photoshop. It's the file extension for Photoshop file and those are all the actions we'll make during this bootcamp. We'll just store them in there. So usually I have a bunch of folders in here. I might have one called retouching actions. Other ones called color adjustment actions. And so on. So, let's record one. An action is simply gonna remember what I do to my picture. So it can do it over again. And at the bottom of the actions panel I'm gonna click on this little icon. Usually, there's two different icons we'll be working with. One is the record button and we'll be using that if we're already recording an action and we pause it. You want to start recording again. That's gonna be turned on here in just a moment. But to actually get it started we're gonna click this icon cause we need to give our action name. And I'm gonna call this Content Aware Fill on Empty Layer. And it asked me what folder I'd like to put it in. And of course it calls those folders a set but it looks like a folder. It's got the icon of a folder. But that just makes sure I'm gonna put it where I expect it to be. It's not gonna be in with the defaults. It's in that new one we created. The stuff down below we don't have to specify. If you want to put a color on it you're welcome to. Then within a list it can show up as a color. Some people like to organize their actions based on color. But when I click the record button now notice that that icon I was pointing at before, it's pushed in. And that means I happen to be very careful with what I do right now. Because everything I do that has the potential of changing my image is going to be recorded. Now there are some things that simply will not be recorded. And those are the things that don't have the potential of changing the look of my image. So right now if I were to zoom in or zoom out of my picture. Like this and that's not being recorded. Because it doesn't affect the actual end result you get when you save the image. And therefore it thinks it should be ignored. But anything that has potential of changing it will. So what I'm gonna do here is I'm gonna drag the background layer to the new layer icon. And when I do watch how the layers panel. Duplicate current layer. That's what it's gonna tell me. So it just recorded that step. Then I'm gonna go to the edit menu and choose fill. And I'm gonna make sure it's set to content aware and I'm gonna click okay. When I do watch the actions panel. Take a minute for it to finish. Once it's done. Oh and this is one thing just so you know if you're watching the video I wouldn't try to follow along. I would watch the video till the end and then go back and try to follow up. Because otherwise actions are easy to get off as far as mentally where you're at compared to what I'm doing. So I would in general try to just watch it through and on your second watch through practice anything. But you see here it says fill. But in here it's like relatively generic names. Fill, duplicate current layer. Do you see a little triangle next to some of those? You can click that triangle and expand it to see more details. So this is just telling you it's recording the fill command but this is the parts it is recording that we're using the setting called content aware. And these were the other settings set up in there. When I go to duplicate current layer. You click the triangle and there's nothing that shows up because there's no more detail needed. Other than duplicate current layer. Okay then after I was done filling I went to the select menu and I selected inverse to get the opposite. And so when I choose that we're gonna get a new step called inverse. And then finally I hit the delete key. Which I'll do and it does that. And to finish I deselect it. Then at the bottom of my actions panel I'm gonna hit the stop button. I could hit stop and now I'm done with the action. Now it's no longer paying attention to what I'm doing. And sometimes you stop the action when you're not actually done. Because there's something you need to do that you don't want to record it as part of the action. You need to go up in a different picture. And you don't want it to open that different picture every time you run the action. Or who know, maybe something happens in the middle and you mess up. Well then you stop recording the action. You could drag one of these steps to the trash can to say oops. I didn't mean to do that. I chose the wrong command and then after throwing away that last step you could hit the record button again. And now it's starting to pay attention again. It's gonna add to your action. So that's one problem with actions is let's say I did screw up. If I came in here and I painted on my picture and I went aw man. I didn't mean to do that. Well if I go to the edit menu and choose undo. Undo is not recorded in your action. An undo will not remove a step from your action. So that means you should practice whatever practice you plan to record in action. Just make sure you practice it once right before hand. That's why I did. So you remember the steps and you're not kind of experimenting while you're recording it. Because if you mess up, you'll have to hit the stop button. To say stop recording what I'm doing. You'll have to grab that last step that you messed up on and drag it to the trash so it's no longer part of that action. Then you'll hit the record button again to continue on. And I really wish and I've begging Adobe for over a decade. That when I choose undo just put a step in my action called undo. But for some reason they've chosen not to do that. And so it makes it so actions are more difficult to create than they should be. But I'm done with this action so I'm gonna hit stop button. So now the next thing that I would do is test my action. Now I'm gonna use multiple undo's to go back to whatever point I was at before I made my action. If you're not familiar with how to get multiple undo's. When you go to the edit menu you have the standard undo. It only allows you to go back one step. And if you type it again it simply reapplies what you've done. But if you use this one it lets you go back multiple steps. All it does is it's the equivalent to opening a panel called the history panel. And going back one step at a time. But it's the normal undo keyboard shortcut with the option key added. Alt to windows. So to go back multiple steps I'll do option command Z. Now I'm gonna go back before that was filled in. Now I'm gonna test my action to make sure it works because who knows. Maybe it messed up or on occasion there'll be some weird feature in Photoshop where action just ignores the feature. It could be that at the time they added a feature the person that's responsible for working on actions just didn't get in there. And so oh, we have this new feature I wasn't aware of. So he didn't incorporate its ability to be recorded or there could be a technical reason why it's too difficult for it to be recorded as an action. So you got to watch the actions panel as you create your action and just make sure that whatever you did that was important showed up in the action. And when you're done test it. So let's test it. I'm gonna click on the name of our action which is right here. And once you have your action you can collapse it down with the little triangle to the left that will collapse to not show the steps or expand to show them. And I just click on the name and at the bottom of my actions panel I have a play button. So I'm gonna click the play button and let's see if it works. This is a high res image and there's a whole bunch of those spots so it takes it a while to do it. But I'm gonna watch on my layers panel when I'm done. And notice that, yep it did work because that's what I wanted. I wanted only the areas where it did the retouching to be on this layer and I wanted to rest of the layer to be empty. As if I created a layer before I went to the edit menu it shows fill and it just worked without giving me that warning. And so now I have a replacement for that time when I have an area selected and I know I'm about to be annoyed when I try to create a new layer and fill it. Instead I simply click on the name of this action and I hit the play button. And it does the work for me to give me the end result I want. So let's make a bunch of more actions. And in the process of making actions we'll learn that my ideal end result is to make sure that my actions are compatible with almost image I might use them on. It's very easy to make an action that won't work on some images. And so let's see how that might be the case. For instance with this image. What I would like to do is make the image less colorful on the edges. Out on the edges of the image. So, let's first go through the steps cause you usually have practice first. I'm gonna use the marquee tool to make a selection. And I'm just gonna go a little bit inside from the corner of the image and I'm gonna drag down to about there. Then I want that selection to fade out to have a soft edge on it. So I'll go to the select menu and choose select and mask and that's where we had a slider called feather. And what's nice is I have a preview so that's the only reason I'm selecting mask. There are so many settings in here. I don't need all those settings. I only need that one. Now if you have an older version of Photoshop remember selecting mask is from the brand new version that was just announced. You would have a choice that's instead called refined edge. And you'd find the same slider called selection or called feather. And you might to get the same preview I'm getting where it fades out like this. Because you might have a different setting up here where we have previews. Most of the time I have it set to a red overlay. But the only thing that's important is I went in here and I moved those feathers sliding up. Slider up so that this fades out. And the only reason I used that command instead of the one called select modify feather cause there's a preview whereas the select modified feather is another way feathering the edge but there's no previous so it's hard to figure out what number to type in. Anyway, I got this selected. Now that has a middle part of the image selected and that's not the part I want to change. I want to change the outer edge. So next go to the select menu and choose inverse. Then I'm gonna create a adjustment layer. That adjustment layer is called hue and saturation. Or I could use the one called vibrance. They both have sliders for saturation. Might as well use vibrance. And I could either bring the saturation slider down or I could bring the vibrant slider down. Both of them will make the image less colorful. And those are the steps that I want to record as an action. Because I don't want to have to do that all the time. It's gonna make the edges of my image less colorful so that your attention will be drawn to the more colorful center of the image. So now let's go through that process and record it as an action and make sure that action is compatible with just about any image I might use. So I'll throw away the adjusted layer and we're gonna start all over again. I open my actions panel. If you don't have your actions panel open you can go to the window menu to find your actions. And I'm gonna click on the icon to create a new action and I'm gonna call this Desaturate Photo Edge. Record and now I've got to be very careful cause every thing I do is being recorded. That's why it's nice to be practiced. I'm gonna start with the selection tool. Again I'll click this far in. Make my selection. I'll go again to select and mask. Which is called refined edge if you're in the old version. Click okay. Then I'm going to select inverse. Then make my adjusted layer. Doing the exact same process and actually before I used. What was it vibrance? Here I happened, just out of habit, go to hue and saturation and this is where if I messed up that I might need to hit the stop button. The bottom of the action and throw that away. But in this case it doesn't really matter cause we do have a saturation slider and it works just fine for what I want. Bring it down and get em out. Then when I'm done that's all I want. Maybe I want to change the name of this layer because I might not know why it's there after being recorded. So I'm gonna double click on its name and I'll just call this Desaturate Edges. Now, let's go back to our actions and I'm gonna hit the stop button. And let's inspect our action and see if there's anything we see within it that might make it not compatible with other pictures. First step is called set selection which means make a selection. And if I expand it. Ohhh, I see something wrong in there. What if later on I open a document that is 30 inches wide and 30 inches tall. This is gonna make a selection where the bottom right edge is like almost about six inches down and nine inches to the right. So if I end up working with a larger picture later on this is not gonna make a selection that is centered on the middle of the picture. It's gonna make a selection of the same size in inches as we used before. And you see how that would be an issue? What if I have an image that's only four inches wide when I apply it. It can't make a selection that big. It will, it will make a selection. It just won't go all the way over to the edge of my picture. So I need to do something there and so what I'm gonna do is replace that first step. So what I'll do is I'll click up there on the first step and this is where I need to modify things. So what I'll do is this. I'm gonna make my rulers visible because my rulers is one place where if I move my mouse on top of my ruler. And I press the right mouse button which is control clicking if you have only one button on the Mac. I can change my measurement system that's currently being used. And let's see if there's anything in here that might make it more universally applicable. So if I sent that to percent then I could hide my rulers and now I'm gonna hit. Now I'm right at the top of the first step of my action and I'm going to hit the record button. So it might have problems with the video. No, cause we used this machine before. We already swapped that once. Ohhhh. Which way do you want to do it? What are you gonna swap it? No I'm gonna do a little streaming relief. Okay, so when I start back up. Yeah, you're gonna take a step back. I just got to remember what the heck I was doing. I'll do it from when I show my rulers. I'll show my rulers, change the measurement system and then turn them back off. And therefore they can find that. Did you guys do that? What was that, inches wasn't it? Sorry. Yeah, no problem. What's that? Okay rulers. Okay so now let's show our rulers because our rulers is one place where we could choose what measurement system Photoshop is using for images. And if you go to the ruler with your mouse and you press the right mouse button which is if you're on a Mac. The same as control clicking. You hold down the control key and click your mouse. If you only have one moues button. And if you look within this list. Do you see anything that might help us? All the choices in here would mess us up except for that one. Percentages. I'll set it to percent then I'll turn my rulers back off because I didn't really need to see them. I just needed to change that setting. You could also change it in your preferences if you were going there. And then I clicked on the step I want to replace. I'm gonna hit the record button to say record starting right here. Not at the end of my action. If the last step in my action was selected. It would start tight after that but since I've clicked right here. I hope when I hit record. That it's gonna start recording right there. Then I'm gonna use my marquee tool and it doesn't matter which corner of your screen you start at. I'll start in the lower right just because I can more easily see it. And then I'll drag it up like this. And let go then right afterwards I'll hit the stop button cause we only wanted to record one step. And now let's inspect how that step was recorded to see if it will help us. Yeah, that's gonna do it. Isn't it? Cause now even if I have a 30 inch wide image. It can still make a selection with the top is 10% of the weight down the image. And where the bottom edge is 90% of the way down and so on. So that's a much better thing. So now I'll take this top setting and I'll drag it down here to the trash can. To get rid of it. The other thing I could have done if I happened to not want to get rid of it is the check boxes over here. It means should that stuff be ignored or not. And if you turn off any of the check boxes. The checkbox next to the actions name turns red to indicate to warn you to say not all the steps are going to be applied. That's the only thing that means. But why keep that step in there because then a month later I'll come in here and go what's that for? Why is that turned off? I won't remember why. So it's set in a selection and now we got that to be compatible with other images. Let's look at their other steps just to see if there are any other clues. Select and mask. This is just writing down if you look everything is zero in general except for the feather setting. Now the problem there is if I have a really small document. One that's two inches wide. Feathering it 225 pixels. That might be an awful lot for a very small image. And if I have an image that's 60 inches wide. Feathering that much compared to the entire image might be a small amount. Does that make sense? So it might be that when this step comes up I can't set this to percent. It's stuck at pixels. There's no other choice. But I do have an option. And that is when this comes up I could click right here in this little empty spot. And what that means is when I get to this spot. Actually show me the screen that was used at that stage. So instead of just using the setting that was there. Sure it will type in that setting. But I'll be in this selected mask screen so I could move it and change it. So it would be appropriate for my image before I click okay and it continues on with my action. Make sense? That's what that means and if you ever turn that on then the name of your action will be up here and to the left of it. It would show you this and that means at least one step within your action is gonna ask you for settings. It's gonna bring up a screen. And I don't know for certain but I think that a dash in the middle means that not all of the steps. If the dash wasn't there it would mean every step would ask you. Yeah, I think that's the case. So we'll do that. Inverse should work fine cause the means select the opposite. Make adjustment layer. That's fine. This is where if I really wanted to use vibrance instead of hue and saturation. I could click on this step. Hit record right now. Do a vibrance adjustment layer. Hit stop and then throw this away. Just like we did with that other step above. But I'm gonna leave that cause it's equivalent. Set current adjustment layer. This is just saying what was in the adjustment layer. So this made the adjustment layer. Then this made the adjustment within it. And that should be fine. You don't usually have to read everything. If they're set to zero or normal if you're fine. Then here it says select RGB channel without make visible. I'm actually not certain what that was. What did I do right after I did my adjustment layer. I think what I might have done is click on the layer or something. I actually don't recall. And down here it says current. Oh, what I did was I double clicked on the layer and when I double clicked on the layers when I changed its name. And it says current layer name Desaturate. So we changed the name of the layer. So I think this was my very first click. When I clicked over here it just happened to record that as a step. So I think we're okay. Now it's best to test it. If you weren't sure then what I would do is first revert this image back to its original. If you go to the file and choose revert you're gonna get the version of the picture that's saved on the hard drive like the original. And let's just apply our action. I'm gonna come over here. Click on the name of action. Hit play. See how it brought up. Ask me for the settings. So if I had a 30 inch wide image this would probably look like a small amount of feathering compared to the entirety of the image. And I could come over here and change it. It's actually just nice being able to choose another time that you're doing it cause each image might need something slightly different. Click okay and it just continues on with the action and finishes it. If it ever says it scratch disk is almost full. Just so you know there's two different wording you'll find. One is your operating system telling you your hard disk is almost full. The other one is Photoshop complaining saying your scratch disk is full. Similar messages, similar meaning. Photoshop, when it needs extra memory. More memory than what is installed in your computer. Which will usually happen when you have a really complex document with lots of layers. It's gonna use part of your hard drive as a substitute for real memory that it wishes was installed in your computer. And when it does that it calls your hard drive the scratch disk. And when you quit Photoshop that area of you hard drive it was using as a substitute for real kind of memory gets freed up again when you quit Photoshop. But if your hard drive completely fills Photoshop can't write to that file anymore and that's when it says your scratch disk is full. So now can you tell at the edge of my photograph is less colorful than the center. I can see up here where the sky is it looks a little bit more grayish. So it did work. If I turn off this adjustment layer before and after. So we have another successful action. So we're starting to learn a little bit that you can make an action that doesn't work for every picture. Because if you don't think through it in depth and kind of look at each step and make sure it works. It can mess things up. So let's see how else we can mess things up. I don't know if you recall it or not but I had this image open a while ago in our series of lessons. And when I had it open I ended up using a technique where we separated the detail from the color. And it was a technique where I really don't want to remember the steps to it. Because I don't enjoy the steps at all. And so I would much rather record it as an action. So let's do it. Create a brand new action the same way we did before. Remember this icon right here. This time I'm gonna call it. Details from color, whatever. Click record, now it's paying attention to what I do. Now you notice I didn't practice ahead of time. I should have practiced. Every time before I record an action I practice because if you mess up in the middle of the action the undo command is not recorded so you got to stop. Delete things and it's harder to think about. But we'll see if I can remember how to do it. What I ended up doing is I duplicated the layer and if I want to keep? Sometimes I like keeping the original underneath so I have the part that separates the detail from the color and then I have the original. Just some times I like that. So if that's the case when I duplicate this layer I actually want two duplicates. For a total of three showing up there. So I'm gonna type command J twice. Then I'm going to double click on the top layer and I'm gonna call it Detail. I'm gonna then double click in the middle layer and call it Color. I'm then going to unlock the background just so I can change its name. And double click. I could have just double clicked cause you don't need to do both. And I'm just gonna call this Original Image. In the act of double clicking would have unlocked it so it was an extra step. Then I'm gonna click on the layer called color. And that's the one I'm gonna blur. So blur her. Gaussian blur. Now I'm already anticipating because I know that the amount of blurring would most likely need to be different depending on the picture. Right, a low resolution tiny picture versus a huge high res picture. And so I'm already anticipating that I'm going to be turning on the little icon. The little square area that says ask me for settings. Click okay. Then I need to click on the top layer and I'm going to choose image. Apply image and here I needed to set this to tell it to compare the color layer. I needed to do it in subtract mode. I needed a offset of 128. End up with 100 to end up with gray and to make it so it's the right amount. I needed two. I actually remembered that junk. I don't want to store that in my head. I really don't want that stored in my head. I'd rather have it stored in the actions panel. Then I change this and I think it was linear light I hope. To be honest, I don't go through this process manually. I use an action. So there we have it. I finally might want to just turn off the eye ball on the original just so I don't think it's needed for the end result. I'm gonna hit stop. Now let's see if there's anything that might mess this up or anything I'd want to modify. Well, I already think of one thing I want to modify which is the amount of blurring would need to vary depending on the picture. So I look within my action and I'm looking for the blurring. You see right there? Gaussian blur. And I can turn on that little icon. Just click in this little rectangular little square area to put it in there. And that means asking for the settings when you get here. Now it will start with the setting. That will always be in there every time I run the action. And if I find that that number was always. Like the first time I ever recorded the action the number was way too high. I was working on somebody else's file that it was a mega resolution picture made with the camera that I can't afford. You know it's an absurd camera. And I used the setting for theirs because it's. The detail was so refined that I needed a high number. And now when I put it on my images I have a much lower resolution camera and that number is always too high. Well, you can do this. If I come in here and double click on that step within my actions panel. I'm gonna double click on Gaussian blur. It will bring up that command and I can change the setting that I have in there and click okay. And you'll see the action is updated. But that's only true for steps that actually had windows that came up asking you for settings. If on the other hand whatever it is you did, didn't have a window come up. Then you can't double click on it to change it. Like when I made a selection. I can't double click on that and tell it to be 10% over, 90% on the other side. I'd have to redraw the selection to get it to record. So anyway, I didn't really need 50 in there. So let me double click and get that back down. And when you double click on a step it's just gonna apply that to your picture. So know that now you're just gonna have a blurry picture sitting there. Meaning that you'll have to choose undo if you didn't really want that on this picture. But you want it to change in your action. Alright, let's look through the rest. Layer via copy, layer via copy. That should work because that's just a straight up thing. Set current layer. Okay, I'm naming the current layer to a choice called Detail. That's when the top layer is active. That's the layer that was active at the moment I was done duplicating them. That should work fine. Here, set select layer. That's when I clicked on the middle layer and made it active instead of the top one. But look at the way it's recording. It says select layer and it has the name of the layer setting there, Layer One. Well that layer is only gonna be called Layer One if I don't already have a layer called Layer One in my document. If I type command J and I've already done that in the past. This might be called Layer Six or something else. So that could make it so this particular action is not compatible with every image. Cause if there's already a layer called Layer One and I'm typing command J on something else. Command J is gonna create a new layer with a different name on it. Does that make any sense? So I have to think about is there a way I could replace that step with something else that is more universal. So I think back to what was I doing at the time? Well, I had just duplicated these layers. I was on the top layer. I had already double clicked and changed its name to the word Detail. That's the last step that's in here. See Detail and the next thing that I've done is I click there and switch the layer. This layer used to be called Layer One. I double clicked on it and changed its name. Well somehow I need to figure out how to change layers without clicking. Like I am right now with my keyboard. I'm gonna replace this step. Here's what I'll do. I'll hit record. First I'm gonna practice. Gonna hit record then I'm gonna hold down the option key which is alt in windows. And I'm gonna press the left bracket key. You know the square bracket. The left one there and then I'm gonna hit the stop button to stop recording. And let's see if that's any different. Select backward layer. I don't like the wording. It just means, it should say select underlying layer. You know but backwards sounds weird. You think of it as forward or backward going up or down. So let's see is there a choice about a backward layer. Let me find out. No step back or arrange back, no. You can go to the help menu to search for commands in your menu commands. So if you're not sure let's see if there's one called select. I don't see it. But I just know that if there's a keyboard shortcut there's a chance it only works as a keyboard shortcut. It's the same keyboard shortcut I used earlier when. In a different session when I showed you how to do a slideshow within Photoshop. And we ended up needing a stack of layers and we had one layer active and only that layer visible. And I used those same keyboard shortcuts to cycle the layers and have a slideshow. Well, if you make a lot of actions. It's a keyboard shortcut. You might want to have written down somewhere. And that is to hold down the option key and use the brackets to go select layer above or below. And so now I'm gonna drag that one called Layer One to the trash. So now that should make it more universally compatible. Because if I type command J twice. I have two new duplicates and it says select backward layer. That means the one underneath. It doesn't matter what it's called. So it will work regardless. Alright, then set current layer. We changed the name to Color. Then here it says set background. Set background. Well what if I'm not working on a layer called background. What if when I clicked. Cause what I was doing next is I came down here to the layer below which used to be called Background. I changed its name to Original Image and I turned off its eye ball. Well here it says select the background layer. What if I'm working in a file that simply has no background and decide to apply this action. Well it's gonna complain when it hits this. It'll say can't do that. Can't find the background layer. So all I was trying to do is right before that I was on the middle layer. I call that Detail and I just wanted to grab the layer directly below. So don't I just need to have the exact same thing as what we had right here where it says select background layer. Or backward. So what I can do here is just if I want to I could record that separately or I could grab this step and drag it. If you drag it like this you could move it down there and change the order of the steps. And if you hold down the option key you'll drag and copy. So we might as well do that. And then I'll just throw away the other step. Now it says it's gonna set the current layer to the name called Original Image. And as long as it says current layer and not background image or the previous name of the layer. That will work. And then here now we're saying in select the layer called Color. That's fine because the layer called Color was created during this action. And was named that specifically by this action. So that I know there's gonna be a layer called Color every time this action is applied because that's one of the steps. Got to be careful with what you name some of them though if they're common names for layers. Because if you're working on a complex document when you decide to apply this action there might be another layer with that name already. So just be careful with what you name them. Think through it a tiny bit. Okay then we got Gaussian Blur. We already got it so it's gonna ask us for the settings. Down here it says select the layer called detail. That layer was created during this action and named during this action so we know it's gonna exist. So that's okay. Apply image and here it says that we're gonna use the layer called Color which we named within this actions. So we know it's gonna exist. It's not like it's saying background or something else that might not exist. Using subtract that should all work. Set that current layer to linear light. That's gonna set the top layer to linear light. Then this says hide a layer that's called Original Image. And as long as that layer was named as part of this action we know it will be called that when the action is being applied. So I think we got this to be compatible with other images. But you see how it's useful. We'll think through it and it makes it so actions aren't for everybody because you need to be the kind of person that's dedicated enough to invest this time in order to automate that. And that's why I include a bunch of actions with this class if you purchase it. If you are not the kind of person that feels like going through all this technical stuff and thinking through every little instance of how this might mess something up. I'll do it for you and you get the actions with the class. So this is one of the actions that you get with the class. So let's just test it. I'm gonna revert this image back to the original. I'm gonna click on the name of our action and I'm gonna hit play. It's bringing up the blur dialog. Remember we had to blur to get the detail. A quick okay, it continues. And yeah, looks like it worked. We have our detail layer. You can see that it's just the detail. It's in linear light. Got the color there. Original image turned off, great. But, if I give this action to a friend then I can do that. I can save my actions by going to the side menu over here and there's a choice called save actions. The only thing is you can't save an individual action. You have to save an entire folder. So jut click on the name of the folder then this won't be grayed out. But if I had sent that to a friend they might not know what to do when it asks you to blur. So wouldn't it be nice if we could put some instructions in. Let's do that. Let's think about where would I want the instructions to show up. I want them to show up right before the step called Gaussian Blur. So right after that. Well, let's go to the side menu of the actions panel and we got a bunch of things in there. One of which is called insert stop. If I choose insert stop. I don't know why it's not called insert message. You know cause that's what you do. I can say. And then down here there's a choice called allow continue. Most of the time you'll have that turned on so the moment they click okay in the blurred dialog box the action just keeps going. But if what you needed them to do was a multi step process. Then you end up having that turned off. Let's say what you needed to do is have them open a picture of a texture and resize it to a certain size. And then you can continue those actions. So then you'd have allow continue turned off. And in the message you would say open the texture you wan to apply. When you're done. And then scale it down to this size, whatever. Then what they would do is hit the play button at the bottom of the action panel when they're done doing that multi step process. But allow continue if it's just one step will allow it to automatically continue afterwards. Alright, so let's test our action again. Let's go here and revert. Click the name of the action and just so you know. When I did that insert stop I made sure I had already clicked on whatever step is the last step that should happen before the message shows up. I made sure I was at the right point in my action. I'm gonna hit play. See how it's telling me exactly what's going on. And if this was a multi step process I could hit stop. Go do that multi step process and then hit play again to continue the action. But I'm just gonna hit continue. This comes up so I can adjust my setting to whatever I'd like. I click okay and the action just continues. That's really convenient isn't it? And that's why when you purchase the class and you get some actions and you hit play. On occasion it pops up and asks you to do certain things. But now what if somebody else gave you this action. And you ended up using it 20 times a day. Would you really want it to tell you what to do all 20 times? You'd be like no. I know what to do. I use this thing all the time. So that's one instance when you would either click on the word stop and drag it to the trash to get rid of that step. Or just in case you want to give this action to friend in the future. Why not just turn off the check box? Or let me see if I can just do this. I might be able to just turn that off. That might make it skip it. Cause if I turn off the check box. If this turns red up here. Not that it matters but it would warn me that one of the steps is being skipped. But anyway, that would say skip this step. So I could do that and if I know I'm gonna give this action to a friend in the future. I just come in here and turn that back on right before I save it and give it them. Alright, so we got three actions so far. Takes a bit of time to work through actions doesn't it? Now we need to think about other ways that things can get messed up and also other ways to automate things beyond actions. One thing that could be useful is with default settings I think Photoshop remembers 20 steps that you do. What if your action is really complicated and it does more than 20 steps? I have many of them that do more than 20 steps. Sometimes it's just applying a filter over and over in different ways. Like there's a filter for instance. I'll make an action. I'm gonna call this tone. Contour, I don't know if I'll spell anything right. Whenever I'm in front of a group my spelling and math skills go to zero. Just so you know and it's really kind of weird. Cause they're not usually that bad. I'm recording an action right here. What I'm gonna do and in fact. I forgot to set this image up. You see we still have our old layers. I wanted to act as if we started from the beginning. So this is one of those instances where I'd hit stop and say oops. I forgot to do this before I got started. Then I'd hit record. Say okay start paying attention again. I'm just doing that. With this action what I want to do is type command J and then I'm gonna run a filter that is called. If I can find it. It's called trace contour. And I use it so. I don't use it very often so it's one of those things you'd have to search for to find. That's on a Mac. I don't know that this works on Windows cause I think it's built into the Mac. Under the help menu there's a choice called search. And I'm gonna type in trace and say where is it? Oh there it is, it'll tell me. That's really convenient especially the filters. But I think that's a Mac specific thing for that. But I'm gonna do filter, stylize, trace contour. What trace contour does is traces the edge of a particular brightness level. Where let's say it's gonna trace around the edge of everything that's 20% gray. Or 30% gray or something else. But anyway, I'm gonna do this. Click okay. Then I'm gonna go back to the original image but I'm going to do it by getting the layer underneath. Not by clicking on the name. And then I'm gonna duplicate it again and I'm gonna apply the filter. And I'm just gonna do this a few times. But often times I will do this more like 40 times. And what I can end up with is. Do you know what a topo map looks like? A map that describes 3D quality of land. I can get something that looks similar to that. But for brightness levels. Where it's like putting circles around all the various brightness levels across my picture. What I do need to do in the end though is change the blending mode of each one of these to multiply and I should have done the first one. But I'll fix that later. And I'm just gonna do this process over again. I'll grab the layer of that's underneath. Type command J and apply that filter again. This is not something that I would ever want to do like I am right now. Where it's a manual process. And then I'll set the blending mode to multiply. Select the layer that's underneath again using my keyboard. Type command J and I will do it one more time. And then I'll set it to multiply. Now when I created this action I went through a bunch of steps. And I actually messed up at one point and that is the top most layer should be in multiply mode and it's not. So I'm going to first stop my action and look at here and see how I can fix my mistake. Well here is a step called set current layer to multiply. So that's the step I wish I would have done when the first layer was done. The very first time. So I look through at the beginning. We copied it. We ran trace contour and right there I wish I would have set it to multiply mode. So what do I do? I take this step. I hold option to make a copy. Drag it right up there, alright. And so if that were to actually happen while I was recording this. This would have been set to multiply and here would be my en result. It looks kind of weird doesn't it? Now do you notice that when it traced around the contours of the various brightness levels within this image. It's found all the detail that was in there. So you see how detailed that is and do you know how with a topo map of land. Isn't it pretty darn smooth. But if it was real. Really accurate, it would be complicated. They smooth it out so it's really smooth to begin with. So what I think I want to do is modify this action cause here I went through it but I'm thinking I want a better looking result. So let's see if I can figure out how. I'm gonna click on the bottom layer and I'm gonna put a new step at the beginning of my action. That new step is going to be applying a filter that smooths things out. I'll choose filter. Let's see, I want to find one called median right there. I could just use Gaussian Bur as well. But median will smooth things out. I'll do that. That's what I'm thinking of using. Now I'm gonna choose undo cause I wasn't recording. I'll hit the record button. I'll choose filter, noise, median. Click okay. I'll hit the stop button and I want that to be happening near the beginning of my actions. So I drag it to the top. Now the only problem with that is it's going to give me a smoother end result. Let's find out. I'll choose revert and we'll play this action back. Hopefully I'm right. And do you see how the contours are smoother? They're not all detailed. But the problem I my picture is all blurry. I wish I would have done that to a duplicate and when I was all done it would turn off the duplicate. I didn't so I'm like how can I modify my action. So you see why you want to practice ahead of time. Because this is not the time to experiment. The time to experiment is when you're practicing. And you make it so if every single time you practiced it seems like you're always going in slightly different direction. Keep practicing until you have a consistent flow and you've made sure that that's the way to get your end result. Because now for me to get what I want it's really a pain. So I'm gonna revert and I'm gonna try to fix this. Let's see what would I do? Well, I'm gonna come in here and hit record. What I would have done if I wanted a sharp image is I would have typed in command J to duplicate the layer. And that's the one I would have had applied the median to. Therefore the original would still be there. For now I'm gonna switch to the layer that's below and change its name. To say The Original Unblurred Image. Some unique name that won't be otherwise in a document. Then I'm gonna use my keyboard to switch back the the layer above. I just had to do all that junk to fix this and I still need to move the median so it happens right after that. You see how this is a pain in the butt and I doubt anybody is following exactly what I'm doing because your mind is not completely where mine was. So this is why you really need to practice before you ever record an action. Get it down where you got every step down. Where every time you could do it consistently. Then go for making an action. And when you make the action I usually have the action panel open and I would just glance over anytime I did something important to make sure the step I was expecting shows up. Now let's see if that works. The one step I didn't do is at the very, very end turning off the blurred layer. But let's find out, hit play. So we got it and you noticed that we have our blurry picture but I have the original unblurred image over here. So all I need to do is throw that layer away and we'd be good. So at the very end of my action I'll hit record. I'll choose a layer below and I will delete it. One last test. Hit play. Now I just have the original image underneath not the blurred one cause it's part of my action. And now I have all those lines. And the only thing I might do is make it so that the lines are black and white instead of color but they're kind of fun color. And if I had more steps in my action meaning I applied the filter more times. I would also have lines in here and in here. But that's a process where I would never enjoy doing the process manually. There's a lot of steps to do it where you have to duplicate the layer. You have to run it, the filter and do that over and over again. This is the kind of process I go through when I need to participate in something that doesn't give me my full engagement. I'm listening to an audio book. I don't know if an audio book is quite the right example. Cause there you do have some what pay attention. I'm watching television with family and they decide to put on that show. That I'm like, whatever. I'll sit and watch but I'm not really engaged in. I'm messing with this and watching the TV a little bit and messing with this and watching the TV. And it makes it much easier to deal with this because I have a mental distraction to make it so it doesn't overwhelm me at any point. But when I'm done I have an action that makes this process. So now I can apply it without thinking. Which is real nice. But the reason why I chose to make this action is I chose to do something that had a good number of steps. To give you an example. And the problem with making an action like this is Photoshop remembers a total of. I think the default is 20 steps that it does. So if you use the keyboard shortcut that I used earlier to get multiple undo's. You can go back 20 steps. What if this action has 25 steps? That means that if you accidentally become the wrong action and hit play. And hit has more than 20 steps. You can't get back beyond that. Without going to the file menu and choosing revert. What that means is if I hadn't saved my document yet and I'd been doing stuff to it. And I'm like oh. I just need to apply an action, no big deal. I click on that action. I hit play and suddenly it does 25 steps and suddenly I can't get to what it looked like right before the action. I wish I would have just saved my document before that but I hadn't. I have other steps and I can not undo that action. That would not be a nice thing would it? So what I can do in my actions is when I get one that has a lot of steps like this one does. Is at the very beginning of that action. What I would do and we can add it right now is I would go to the window menu and I would choose history. History usually lists all the steps down to your image. And I believe by default, I remember 20 steps. You can change how many steps it remembers in your preferences. I think it might be in the category called performance. At least it used to be. They might have moved it by now and it's called History States. You want to look for it in your preferences. History States means how many undo's do you get. So what I might want to do here is at the very beginning of my action. I'm gonna hit the record button to add something. And at the bottom of my history panel is a little picture of a camera. And clicking that creates what's called a snap shot. A snap shot means remember what my picture looks like right now. So I can get back to it. Including all the layers. Just like what we have right now. And then I'm gonna hit the stop button to stop recording. And just make sure that I have that at the very beginning. So that now if I apply an action. Let's revert this. That has that many steps I hit play. The first step. Went in there and made a snap shot. So that I know that I need to get back. Clicking right here on this word in the history panel. That gets me to what it looked like before the action. You know, I would do that or any action that has more then 20 steps for sure. And why not do it for other actions that have more than about five steps. Because that's when you might stop remembering how many steps. I didn't know how many steps I needed to go back. You don't know if an action has twenty steps or only two when you apply it. So it can be nice to create that snap shot at the beginning of a complex action. There is some cool stuff we can do that are mainly for advanced folks. I want to briefly mention it but not get too deep. Cause I don't want your head to explode. But actions usually just record what you do so you can play it back. You can now in the newer versions of Photoshop. More recent ones, have it make some decisions. Like investigate your picture and do something if a certain condition is in there. So let's take a look at that. I'm just gonna add to the end of this action to do it. So I'll hit the record button. Actually I don't think I need the record button. I just do it from the side menu. I'll go to the side menu through the actions panel and there's a choice called insert conditional. And that means like insert a question where the answer sends it in different directions. So if I insert conditional. Here is the conditions I can hae it look at. Let's see if I can get the whole list on your screen. Here we go. So I can have it do something different if the document is a square compared to a rectangle. I can go over here and say if it's in a certain mode. Like grayscale mode. Let's say the action makes your picture look orange. Well, if your image is in grayscale mode it's not gonna work. Because in grayscale mode you can only have shades of gray. So I might come in here and say if the mode is set to grayscale then do this. And otherwise continue on with my actions. Make sense? Other things. If the document has layers. I could have the first step say flatten image. Or say turn into a smart object. Or say something else. If the layer is called background. Do something, you know. Do something different that if it's not. That kind of stuff. But if you were to choose one of these. Let's say I'm gonna do an action that adds color to an image. Why don't we do that. I'm gonna act as if this is a black and white picture. And I'll do that by doing an adjustment called Black and White. Look okay. And I want this to look like a wildly vivid sunset image of some sort. I don't know if it's the best image for it but I just opened it. I'm gonna make an action for this. I'm gonna call it Fake Sunset. Hit record. And all this action is gonna do is an adjustment layer. The adjustment layer is called Radiant Map. Radiant Map means replace the brightness levels that are in my picture with colors. So that what ever used to be black becomes the shade that's on the left. Whatever used to be white becomes the color on the right. Whatever used to be 50% gray becomes this. And you can click here to go through all these presets. The main problem with it is it can change the brightness of your picture in undesirable ways. So I'm gonna change the blending mode over here on my layers panel to a choice called color. So it can't change the brightness of my picture. You can only change the color and so now I can come in here and try all sorts of things. And the brightness of the image is not changing. If at all possible. That makes sense? It's in color mode it can only change the color. And let's just say that's the one I like. You can customize the colors by clicking on this bar and you could put whatever colors you want in there. So anyway that's all my action is. Now first, let's see. Did did record every single change I made in there? Or did it just record the end result? Gook, it only recorded three steps which is make the adjustment layer. Change the blending mode of it and then change the settings for that adjustment layer. That's cool. But now let's see if I can break it. I'll hit the stop button. I'm gonna revert my image and let's say that I opened a picture that really needed it because it was already black and white. And I tried to apply it. It says hey, it's not available. Stop and what's the set command? Well, you see which step it stopped at. It's highlighted. It says, oh I can't change a mode to a mode called color when I'm in gray scale mode. Cause that's what this picture is in. So near the beginning of this what I could do is go to the side menu and say insert a conditional. There's also some other command. I actually have to look for it because it's been so long since I used it. Take me just a moment. Think it might be under scripts. There is a command somewhere which is mainly used for creating actions. Right here conditional mode change is a thing that you would never use manually by choosing the menu like this. But you would use it in a action. And what conditional mode change does? It says if the source mode is gray scale. Where one of these other modes that this action might to work in. Which would be all those modes it might not work in. Then what should it do about it? Well, bring it to our GB mode. That's what this is. This is mainly here for when you're making actions. I could put that at the beginning of my action. And the way I got to it. Note, file, automate. There it is, conditional mode change. So sometimes you're gonna need to slip little things like that in there. Otherwise, the other way I could do it is I come over here and say. Insert a conditional and for the conditional is say if this image is in gray scale. Cause I know it's not gonna work and I'm probably gonna want to apply this to a lot of gray scale images. Then here though, it needs me to tell it to play another action. These are the names of the actions that are in the same folder as the one that I'm currently working on. And I don't currently have one set up to handle this. I'd have to make one. The only thing that action would contain is me changing the mode of the picture to RGB mode. That's it. And so I would have this set to an action. That is converting image to RGB mode. It says else meaning if it doesn't meet this criteria. Do nothing which means continue on your action. But it doesn't make sense to put that in as a step in this particular case because of the other menu command I showed you a minute ago. I'd use it instead. So Ben, if we have this version of Photoshop and we're using recording action if we find edge. And then we upgrade later. Is it gonna be compatible with the select mess? That's an excellent question because that happens very frequently. Is people create actions using one versions of Photoshop. They upgrade and suddenly Adobe for some reason has changed a feature and so it would be difficult or impossible to record that action again. Because those features aren't in there. And that's why a lot of the features in Photoshop. Like for instance, if you choose image adjustments. Brightness and contrast. Have a little check box like this one called Use Legacy. And the legacy was not as good as a version of this particular feature. But it might be used in actions and I believe it would automatically use that feature if it noticed an action that tried to use the old version. And so I'm not absolutely certain with this exact feature. The one called select and mass. You were asking about refined edge. Which is the old version of this. But usually Adobe tries to think through that and often times they make it so your actions don't break when you upgrade. They'll make it so behind the scenes it might still have the refined edge feature hidden in Photoshop but they hid the menu command. But if an action calls for it it can still use it. Does that make sense? And so I'm not certain with that particular feature. I'd have to test it but for a lot of features. There is some code built into Photoshop that no longer needs to be there. Because you can't get to the feature anymore manually. But just in case you had an action it would still work. Because they thought through it. But they don't always think through it. Some times their in a hurry to get the features out or the person who works on actions never showed up at the meeting. That would go hey, wait a minute. You just took out that feature. You know what that's gonna do? And that's why we have so many features in Photoshop that they rarely ever remove. Even though they're really outdated. Old and crusty features that just don't make sense anymore because so many people have actions that might need to access them. And so a lot of people will say please remove this feature. It clutters my menu and a lot of other people would say please keep that feature. I have 15 actions that rely on it. And it's been a year and a half since I've played with action so I have to get comfortable with them again. To figure out how to change the actions to make it compatible with something new. So you'll have to test it. I don't know specifically for a refined edge versus the newer selected mask. But in general they try to think through that so there's a lot of actions that you might think would get broken that don't. That's all I can say about that. I wish I had a more definitive answer. So now let's stop making actions and let's just start using actions. And see how we can change the way we use them to. Got into the actions panel here and right now we see it as a list. We see the little folders and we can expand to look at the steps. Collapse, well that's real useful when we are creating actions. So we can see what were the steps and we can modify them and do all that stuff. But once we're completely done making the actions. We don't need to see the steps anymore. So if I go to the side menu of the actions panel there is a choice called button mode. And that can change the way your actions look. So that now their just buttons. And so if I wanted to do the same thing here where I separated detail from color. I didn't have to click on the name of that action and then hit play. It was a single click on the button of that name and now it went through that action. Or if I revert. If I wanted to do that contour kind of effect I just click on the word tone contour. It's not a multi step process anymore. It's just one click. And this is where you see the colors that can be assigned to your actions when you create them. And if I go back or I get out of button mode. It's just on the side menu, top choice. If you double click on one of your actions you can change the name and you can rename your actions because some of them you'll find the name is too long to fit on the button. So double click to change the name and when you double click. If you double click not on the name cause that's to change the name. But to the right of the name where it's empty. You get the options for the name and right there you can assign a color. And that's the color that will show up when you're in button mode. So you might have all the actions related to creative effects in red. All the actions related to retouching in yellow. All the actions related to painting in blue. And therefore it would be easier to quickly look at the actions panel and see how it's kind of sorted. You can also assign a function key. The F keys at the top of your keyboard. So if you apply a action all the time. You know 30 times a day. Assign it to one of your F keys. And also there are certain things I mentioned that are not recorded in an action. Like remember when I zoomed in and zoomed out on the picture. That's not recorded. Well, certain actions if they resize your pictures. If that's one of the steps in your action. When your done it might look like this when it's done. Because it resized your picture to something smaller than the original. And that's the end result. Well, what if I want to include in that action. A step that all it does is zoom up. Well, what I would have to to do is at the end of my action I'd go to the side menu and there's a choice called insert menu item. Insert menu item means I'm going to forcibly choose this menu item even though I wouldn't usually record it. So I'm gonna just say fit on screen. And then I click okay and now it just recorded a step that wouldn't usually be recorded. I don't need that step in this action so I throw it away. But we have button mode. Let's look at some other choices that we have. I have my actions made now and now I have somewhere. Right here. A folder of a bunch of images I want to apply them to. This could be a 1,000 pictures. I'm not gonna do it to that many but here I'm gonna select four images. I want to apply an action to them. So I'm gonna go to the tools menu. Choose Photoshop and choose batch. If I choose batch this comes up and up here in the upper left is where you choose which folder your action is in. Remember we only have two folders. And which action you would like. It wants to know where's you source. If you choose folder you point it to a folder. Where you go choose the folder. But if you choose bridge it means the images you currently have selected in bridge. Should include all the subfolders if you have them. Any other little changes. What should it do if it has an errror? Like where it says hey. You're in gray scale mode and you're trying to do something that doesn't work. Should it save it to a text file? Because what happens is the second file was in gray scale mode and it messed up an action. You were trying to apply 10,000 files and you left for the weekend hoping it was running all weekend long. In the second image is when it got an error and you come back and you're like. Ohhh, it didn't do everything. I was gonna charge the client for that whole week and it did not work. But you want to log that to a file. Then you'll create a text file. It would tell you the name of the file and an error with and what the error was. So, but we'll stop for errors. Over here, destination. Where do you want it to put the files or what do you want it to do? If it's set to none all the files would be open in Photoshop when it's done. If I choose save and close. It would save and close right over the original. If I choose folder though then I can hit the choose button and choose a folder on my hard drive. And I'll have a separate folder for the after images. And the before images will stay where they were. For me I'll choose none because it's fine and just have these open in Photoshop. I'm only doing four images. And if you tell it to put it in a folder. You can have it rename them. Like just automatically rename them. Similar to numbering the files or things if you'd like to. But I'm gonna just tell it to do nothing when you're done. And I click okay. Now it's gonna open those four images and look. It's already done it. Isn't that cool? And the way I got to that is I was in bridge. I selected the images that I wanted. I chose tools, chose Photoshop and I chose batch. And that's what I was in. You'll also find a choice for actions. If you use something called the image processor. The image processor is designed for scaling you image to a particular size and saving it to a particular file format. So if you had a bunch of files and your client says I need all those pictures. All 200 of them as Jpeg files and I want them to fit an HD TV. I choose image processor and this comes up. And up here it says where do you want to save it? Down here, what file format? Resize to fit and HD TV is 1920 by 1080. That's the resolution of a TV. So I can do that and then down here look at what's in the bottom. What should it do afterwards? Let's run an action. And let's after it scales them all down. Let's have it make it so they're all Fake Sunset. Now it's gonna open every image. It's gonna scale them all down to that particular size. It's gonna run that action on them and it's gonna save it as Jpeg. So it's somewhat similar to the batch command. The only difference is in the batch command you have to have an image resizing built into your action. Where as here I can tell it to do ridiculous things. I can save as a Jpeg at that size and save it as a TIFF at full size. Don't resize at the same time, both. Therefore I could take the high res ones and upload them to Dropbox for the client and then take the low res Jpegs and email them. And say here's what I just uploaded in the Dropbox. And in their email they have all the low res things. In a Dropbox they have high res TIFFs. That kind of thing. But down here the main thing I wanted to mention is you can run an action. If you own Lightroom. When you go to the export screen where you can set up an export preset. You have all the settings for what file format and everything else. At the very, very, very bottom is what action do you want to apply? That means when you tell something from Lightroom that you want to export. Part of your export preset can be when you're done exporting this. Open it in Photoshop, run an action on it. That's pretty cool. Other ways of doing automation are mainly presets. A tool can have a preset just so you know. You go to the window menu. There is a choice called tool presets and you can save the current settings for the tool you're currently using. The move tool doesn't have any settings. And you can save it as a preset in here. You could call that automation. I don't completely call it automation but it's convenient. There are a couple of other areas where you can somewhat speed things up. But the main one is actions. File, automate, create droplet. It's not often I need to use a droplet but let's see if they work cause they broke it one time. We'll see if it still works. Create droplet and I will say this is the batch command. You know the same one we were in a minute ago. But it's gonna be saved as a little file in my hard drive. It does require Photoshop to run but I'm gonna save save droplet in. And I'll say on my desktop and I'll call this Fake Sunset. Or if you're more sophisticated Faux Sunset. I'll hit save and then I just need to tell it which action and should it do to sub folders. If I drag an entire folder that has folders within it. Sure do sub folders and should do anything else? Should it stop for errors? I'm gonna say no, log in now. You'd have to tell it where to save the file. The destination, what should it do when it's done? Careful if you choose save and close. That means literally save and close over the original. That's tough. I'm gonna choose this. I'll hit the choose button. The only thing is if this folder is not there at the time you run the action. I have to test to see will it create the folder from scratch. I'm not certain. I'll just say put them on my desktop. Okay and we could have it rename them if we wanted to. I'm going to hit okay and before I do that I might in here and just have it rename this so that. Is there a choice called text? Where I could just type over here. Dash sunset. Meaning that it'll have the documents name adding dash sunset. Do you see this right here? Fake sunset. I'm gonna go to bridge and I'm going to just look at the contents of this in the finder. Meaning I'm not using Photoshop. I'm not using bridge. They don't need to be running at this exact moment in time. And I'm just going to select these images and I'm gonna drag them to this. And let's see if it works. If it works, Photoshop will be launched and it will read the action that is stored within there. And then it will apply it. It looks like it's asking me to save them though. So there's something I've messed up. I'd have to look in that dialog to see why it's asking for me to save them. The most common reason why is because they were Jpeg files and this just added layers to them. And layers can't be saved back into a Jpeg so it's asking me what file format to use. What I should have done in my action is the last step should have been flattened. Then it would still be compatible with Jpeg and when it saves and closes they'd be there. So now on my desktop you can see here are those files. So what if you set up a bunch of droplets and you just have them sitting over here on the left side of your screen. And whenever the client says I want a black and white with that certain tinting you always do. You know that orange look or something. You just got a droplet sitting there. You grab all the files and say okay. Sure I'll finish them the next hour and a half. See ya, they leave the room. You drag it on top of the droplet and go on break. As it sits there and applies all the actions to it. So, you can automate a bunch of stuff in really cool ways. So this has been actions in automation. Actions in automation gets some people excited. I see some people here. She's going like yessss! (laughing) And I'm guessing it's going to be about a quarter of the people watching are just gonna be like. Oh my God, I have a new Photoshop. I can now do so much more. It's ridiculous, you saved me so much time. And then there's gonna be at least half that are just like no way. Because I got to think through all that stuff and it can easily not work if I get the layers name in there and all that stuff. And that's when you might do a Google search for free Photoshop action and see what's out there. Just know that when they're free usually they haven't been tested as well so they might not have tested them. All different kinds of documents. So a little break more often and that kind of stuff. So you might need to troubleshoot the actions. That kind of stuff or if you purchase the class. You get some actions with it. You get an action sampler pack from me where I put in some useful stuff. Like the ones we just created.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Color Palettes
Edges and Textures
Hand-drawn Frames
Hand-drawn Graphics
Layout Templates
Practice Images - Lesson 18: Tips and Tricks
Practice Images - Lesson 19: Actions and Automation
Practice Images - Lesson 17: Advanced Layers
Practice Images - Lesson 12: Advanced Masking
Practice Images - Lesson 15: Advanced Retouching
Practice Images - Lesson 10: Blending Modes
Practice Images - Lesson 2: Camera Raw
Practice Images - Lesson 8: Color Adjustments
Practice Images - Lesson 5: Layer Masks
Practice Images - Lesson 4: Layers
Practice Images - Lesson 9: Retouching Essentials
Practice Images - Lesson 3: Selection Essentials
Practice Images - Lesson 14: Shooting for Photoshop
Practice Images - Lesson 13: Smart Objects
Practice Images - Lesson 1: Starting from Zero
Practice Images - Lesson 7: Tonal Adjustments
Practice Images - Lesson 6: Tools and Panels
Practice Images - Lesson 20: Troubleshooting and Advice
Practice Images - Lesson 16: Warp Bend Liquify
Practice Images - Lesson 11: Filters
Script Elements
Week 1 - Day 1 Homework
Week 1 - Day 2 Homework
Week 1 - Day 3 Homework
Week 1 - Day 4 Homework
Week 1 - Day 5 Homework
Week 1 - Photoshop CC Workbook
Bit Depth
Color Modes
Color Spaces
Logic of Keyboard Shortcuts
Pen Tool
Week 2 - Day 6 Homework
Week 2 - Day 7 Homework
Week 2 - Day 8 Homework
Week 2 - Day 9 Homework
Week 2 - Day 10 Homework
Week 2 - Photoshop CC Workbook
Homework - Shooting for Photoshop in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Smart Objects in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Filters in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Advanced Masking in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Advanced Retouching in Adobe Photoshop CC
Week 3 - Photoshop CC Workbook
Homework - Warp, Bend, Liquify, in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Tips & Tricks in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Actions & Automation in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Troubleshooting & Advice in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Advanced Layers in Adobe Photoshop CC
Week 4 - Photoshop CC Workbook
Bens Actions Sampler ReadMe
Bens Actions Sampler
Bens Styles Sampler ReadMe
Bens Styles Sampler
Texture Sampler
Save for Web
Facebook Q&A #1
Facebook Q&A #2
Q&A #3
PSD Preferences
File Formats
Customizing PSD

Ratings and Reviews


Ben Willmore is exceptionally and intimately knowledgeable about Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, including Bridge and Camera Raw, and how they work together. He's also a wonderful photographer. That's great, but what's even better for us is that he's an incredible and generous teacher. He shares his knowledge and experience in an organized, thorough, thoughtful and relatable way. I envy his efficiency with words and ideas! He isolates hard-to-understand concepts - things we'd be unlikely to figure out on our own - and explains them in simple terms and with on point and memorable examples. I completely enjoy Ben's teaching methods and his personality. His admiration and appreciation of his wife, Karen, are telling of what a good guy he must be, and he's got just an overall pleasant personality. I love his amusement when something "ridiculous" happens during an edit! This bootcamp is fantastic and just what I need. It's only one of Ben's many CL classes that I've watched and learned from - they are all excellent. Thank you, Ben Willmore. (And Karen!)

Lynn Buente

I purchased this course ---SMART MOVE!--because, at 74, I learn more slowly and need more practice. While I've had some "novice" experience with PS, this course is moving me along in a totally different way. Most tutorials just tell you what to do. Ben tells you not only WHAT to do, but WHY (--or why not) and HOW. Understanding better can lead to using the practices in PS more fluently AND to greater freedom to be creative. I find Ben's approach to be kind of a "come as you are" session. No matter where you are on the learning spectrum, there is something to review, something new, or a brand new challenge. The relaxed manner of presentation is great, but doesn't minimize the content of the class. I appreciate the additional explanations and theory. These help to make total sense of the tools and practices of good editing. I would really recommend that, if possible, you purchase the course. The practice images, the homework, and the evolving workbook are great review and reference points. Personally, I have downloaded the classes by week so I can view, re-view, and stop, start, and repeat segments as often as I need to --which is often! Also, sometimes I like to view and work on one segment of the class at a time. My study of this course will be a LOT LONGER than four weeks, and I know I'll be referring to it as long as I'm a Photoshop user. Thanks, Ben! (And thanks to your wife for her contribution as well.)

Carol Senske

I've used PS for about five years in many of it's various versions. Learning on your won is a tough proposition, and I've struggled the whole time. Seeing work I admired and that inspired me to strive for great er things then not being ablr to figure out how to do them was a major frustration. The jargon was sometimes foreign, the complexity of the program overwhelming but I soldiered on and learned bits and pieces. A friend recommended Ben's course and I immediately came to CL to see what she was so thrilled about - I was amazed! Ben is down-to-earth, explains each step, gives shortcuts, defines terms, and shows how to accomplish what he's teaching. After two weeks I bought the class. I not only bought the Photoshop course but I added the Lightroom course as well. I'll do that, on my own, when things slow down a bit, and I have no doubt that course will help me even more than the PS course. I'm totally at sea with LR. I like Ben's teaching style, appreciate all the homework and extras included, and greatly appreciate the magnificent, easy to use, workbook by Ben's wife. I give my wholehearted endorsement for this course!

Student Work