As an artist, one of the most useful tools in my digital arsenal is the Actions Palette in PhotoShop. An Action is a way to record a sequence of frequently used operations that you can save and play back on other images, or on an entire folder of images at once.
This one tool has saved me countless hours of time that I used to spend doing repetitive tasks to the digital images of my art — such as resizing them, making image adjustments, and creating thumbnails.
The following is a step by step example of recording an action on one typical image to resize it, add a watermark, and save it as both a PhotoShop file and for the web; then I’ll explain how, with a few clicks, you can use that action on entire folders of images.
Make sure that you have prepared all your source images: that they have been neatly cropped, color-corrected and saved with meaningful filenames. I find this whole process works best when I name my images by their title, and save them in folders named for the image size, type and purpose.
To be sure you do not write over your original high resolution images, before proceeding further, create destination folders for your various desired image sizes and types, such as “Website PSDs,” “Website JPGs,” and “Website Thumbs.”
You now have your first custom action.
As long as you included your destination folder(s) for your new smaller files when you recorded your action, you can just let the action run until it has processed your whole folder of images. And that’s it!
PhotoShop Actions are very powerful time-savers. Play with them a bit to discover the best sequence of useful steps for your images. It may not be long before you have created a whole library of your own actions.
There are also many preset actions that you may find very useful (or just fun to fool around with). Should you run into any problems using Actions, you can find out more detailed information in the PhotoShop Help files.
If you haven’t been using Actions for preparing your digital image files, I think you will find them to be really quite invaluable.
Did you find this tip useful?