Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Another look at Photoshop actions

Hello and Happy Wednesday! Today I wanted to talk a few minutes about Photoshop actions. If you have used photoshop actions then you already know how great they are. Actions are sets of pre-recorded steps in photoshop that produces a non-destructive effect for your images. They can also do things like batch process, resize, etc. that are great time savers for your workflow. A great book to read on the subject (among other subjects) is Kevin Kubuta's Digital Photography Boot Camp. This book really helped me start to understand how actions can help make your workflow more efficient and it sets you up with how to make some basic actions of your own.

So, now that you are at least a little acquainted with actions I wanted to talk about a major road block a lot of photographers have when starting to use actions. Many people feel like they need to apply an action and use it as is. This is so not the case! Actions are made to be endlessly adjustable to your taste because of all the layers and masks they use. Let's look at an example.

Here is one of my images from a recent wedding after basic correction. It is a nice image but I feel like it could use a little something extra. Next, I apply the Vintage action from the Pioneer Woman's action sets (which you can download for FREE here and they are absolutely AMAZING, especially since she puts them out there for everyone to use.)

Hmm...that was really not what I had in mind for this photo. I guess that I will just go back in History and take it off and try something else, right? Not so fast! Watch what happens when I take the opacity down to 50%.

Oh, wow. That's very pretty. Let's take it a step further and start layering actions. Yep, I just went there and it is not nearly as scary as it seems. For the next image I added "slight lighten" from Pioneer Woman (which I use ALL the time) and then layered on Totally Rad Actions "Technicolor Dream World" at 50%, and TRA "Cross-Processed #1" at 10%.

This is the final product. Go ahead and try out some mix-and-match of your own and let me see how it comes out!

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