You already realize how great Photoshop is, you like it a lot, and you are satisfied with all things you could do with it. You already have a skills to resize the image, to sharpen and brighten them, to crop a part and save the image in a safe for web and devices way. Photoshop could do a miracle on images. You’ve realized that all this is not a problem to make with a single image but if you have a folder with hundreds of photos you are in trouble. There are too many actions that should be repeated, the question is how to make this easier. It would be great to record and to repeat them automatically. Photoshop could do this for you, with tool Actions. It allows us to record any action, one or more of them, and then use them for an unlimited number of times, to an unlimited number of photos. This is very easy to do and we can save a bunch of time.
Our task is as follows. We want all photos in one folder to changes on certain way, eg to resize and crop photo, then sharpen and brighten a bit, put a watermark on it, and finally store them on safe for devices manner. This is my intended action, you can take any other action, the procedure remains the same.
Open in Photoshop a photo that you want to edit. First copy the background layer and make sure the copied layer is active. If you have not already copy the layer, you can do this by right-clicking the background layer > Duplicate Layer or Ctrl + J.
Now create a new Action Set. This step you may skip, but it will be easier to manage future work if you organize your actions in action-sets. I’m pretty bad organized also, but I know from personal experience that good organization always pay off in the future. Lets get back to work. Now create a new action, I called it “My first action,” you can call your as ever you prefer. When you’re done, click Record.
If you’ve noticed, once you have create your action a red recording icon is lighting in Actions palette(red circle on the bottom of the palette). This means that your action are now being recorded. Every move you make until you stop the action will be recorded. We will do the following moves: we will crop the photo at size 640px width and 480px height, we will sharpen and brighten it a little bit, we will add a watermark to the photo and finally save it on a safe for web and devices manner. We will not describe these actions now any further, just remember you can use any actions you want. But keep in mind that if you make a mistake and you want to delete some action, you must first stop the recording by clicking on the stop icon. When you delete unnecessary actions start recording again.
Another useful feature in Photoshop Action tool is Toggle. If you want to pause the editing at a particular action on each photo that will be processed later, just mark Toggle dialog on the “on”. In this example we will use the crop action for this procedure. We will achieve the following: when we run action on specified folder it will pause the process when it come to crop action on each photo. Hereby, we have a chance to move and adjust to crop on each photo. Action crop will start and then pause, if we are satisfied with the proposed crop we will click OK, otherwise we can customize crop and then continue. Toggle function is the most useful for moves we can predict that will be different for most of photos. Crop is perhaps the best example of that.
Now it’s necessary to save the action if you want to keep it permanently on the hard disk of your computer. This is important if we want to be able to use it later or share it with others.
Now we are almost ready for the action usage. Open the Batch tool in Photoshop (more about Batch tool you can find here ). If you do not know where is it you can find this in File > Automate > Batch.
Select Action set, in our case this will be “My actions”. Select the action, in our case “My first action”. Select the folder with the photos you want to process. Click OK.
Photoshop will automatically open each image in the selected folder, then it will stop at the crop action, modify the position of the crop if you want or confirm offered. After that Photoshop will go through the following actions and save the processed image to a location that you selected when you record the action. Original photo will remain unchanged on it’s place.
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