Create advanced actions to automate your workflow
Before you begin
Today I will show you how to create advanced actions, droplets and automations.
Hope you are already familiar with short and easy actions, because very soon we will create a “long” action with a lot of steps in it.
Action we are going to create will contain 3 main parts. Every part will be independent, and we could turn them on or off.
Here are the parts:
- Resize image for social media posts
- Color correction & color toning
All the parts from above will be included in one single Photoshop action.
Part 1 – Resize image for web
To achieve best results when you publish your images online (websites, social media, etc) you need to resize them.
In 99% of cases it is a downscale process.
Most common sizes of images for web are (long edge):
- 2880px (Retina display)
When we choose final resolution we can start recording.
You need to create new action set and give it a name. For instance “Advanced action”.
After this you need to create a new action and also name it by your target resolution.
I will give it a name “2048px”.
Press “Begin recording”.
Now we have a few options to resize our image:
We can go to “Image-Image Size”.
But I don’t recommend to use this option.
Because there are landscape and portrait oriented images, so we want to use our action with both of these types.
So let’s go to File-Automate-Fit Image.
Here we can downscale our image by the long or short side. And this command is compatible with landscape images and portraits as well.
I choose 2048×2048 px and check “Don’t enlarge”. Click “Ok”.
Now, when image is resized to 2048×2048 px I click “Stop” command for recording my action.
Part 2 – Sharpening
Everytime we resize images to a smaller size we lose some details and sharpness.
So we need to bring it back to our picture.
Let’s record next part and create a new action.
I’ll give it a name “Sharpening”.
Then I press “Ctrl + J” to create a duplicate layer.
Go to “Filter-Sharpen-Sharpen more”.
To reduce amount of sharpening you’ll need to go to “FX”-Blending options”, and reduce the opacity to about 20%.
To summarize what we did till now:
- We resized our picture to 2048 px on long edge
- After that we add sharpening to bring back the details
Now image is ready for publishing let’s say to facebook, but before do that we need to add some color correction to it.
Part 3 – Color correction
Now let’s move to the final part and add some color on top of our image.
I create a new action and name it “Color”.
Then we need to add a color curve and change it a bit in green and blue channels like this:
It will add extra warmth to our image.
Here you can see how Image looked before:
And after color correction with curves:
Now we can stop recording.
Final part – combining 3 actions together.
You need to choose the first action “2048” and it’s step “Fit image”.
After we go to the dropdown menu and select “Insert conditional”.
This command can “play” other actions under chosen conditions.
Here we need to select If current “Document is open”, then play action “Sharpening”.
Click “Ok” and then “Stop”.
Then we go to the next action “Sharpening” and do the exact same process after last step in that action.
Select “Insert conditional”, if current “Document is open”, then play action “Color”.
Before we stop recording let’s add one more step.
This time I choose the last step under “Color” action, select any layer press “Begin recording” and then press “Flatten image”.
Click “Ok” and then “Stop”.
Important! After you stop recording, be sure to uncheck the “Select Background layer” step in “Color” action. Sometimes it could cause error during automation. Sometimes it doesn’t 🙂
This is how it shoul look like in the end:
To summarize what we did:
From now if we will play our “2048” action, it will automatically trigger two next actions and “play” them simultaneously.
To check if everything worked well let’s go to history panel and see if all the states we need in this action are in place.
Now we can “skip” some parts of our 3-step action by disabling checkbox on “If” command.
Remember the last step from previous action?
It was “Flatten image”.
We need to do it, because Photoshop will ask us to “Save as…” everytime without that step.
And automations will not work properly.
So be sure to flatten image always is the last step in your actions before doing automations.
Now we need to go to “File-Automate-Batch”
With this command we can choose any folder with images and “play” any action on this folder.
How to do it:
- Choose “Advanced action” set
- Choose the first action “2048”
- Then choose the folder from which you will use images
- Click “Choose” (also you can include subfolders)
- Choose a folder to save edited images to
- Click “Ok”
Now Adobe Photoshop batch processed all that images from our folder and saved them to a new folder.
You can check the result by comparing photographs in two folders.
Using this technique you can add actions on any folders with images in future, but there is even easier way to do it.
Creating Droplets in Photoshop
This function gives us an opportunity to create a single file, on which we will drag entire folders, and it will automatically process them with actions.
Here’s how to create it:
Go to File-Automate-Create droplet.
Settings are almost similar to creation automation as above.
Select a folder where to save droplet and press “Save”.
Then choose preferred action set and action inside it.
And finally create a folder where to save edited images.
Now the droplet file is saved to hard disk.
Now test it by dragging the entire folder of images to that file.
Bingo! You’re done 😉
Now you will save lot of time with this!
For complete step-by-step guide on actions take a look at my course “Adobe Photoshop: Save Time With Actions (+91 Actions Inside)”
You will learn not only actions, but also all the retouching and color correction techniques I use in my workflow.
Try, experiment, create and have fun Photoshopin’ 😉
Recommended software, programs & services:
Training resources & downloads
New to Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom? Take a look at the following high quality resources:
Adobe Photoshop: Save Time With Actions (+91 Actions Inside)
Photography Marketing Masterclass: Book Yourself Solid
Lightroom CC: Create Professional Color Correction Easy&Fast
Lightroom CC for Professional Photographers
Lightroom CC: Professional Portrait Retouching
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