Friday, April 12, 2013

Time, time for some, time for some Actions

The title gave me a fit of giggles. It's a song by Redman that my husband used to sing all the time and he used to do this crazy dance that went along with it, but I digress. The purpose of today's post is Actions. In my case photoshop actions. In lightroom they are called presets. There are places aplenty to find them all over the web. Some are great, some not so much, the most important thing is to experiment. They are easy to use which to me, is the most important thing. There are so many complicated things about photography, it's nice once and a while to take editing your photos off that list. I find them most useful when I'm doing portraits and want to make sure that all the photos are the same, keeping a central mood or theme throughout the whole session. Great if you're selling packages, photo albums, that type of thing. Actions are easier than trying to remember what you did for each photo.

 I want to first show you how to go about finding and adding them to your computer. Forgive me if any steps are left out. I'm so used to doing it now, that I may skip something. So, as I said, you can find actions around the world wide web by simple Googling photoshop actions. Here are some of the places I found. Deviant Art   is a great website for all things art related. You can find a lot of Photoshop goodies, as well as some great artists. I mean some of the things these people can do with Photoshop remind me that I am still in the infantile stages of the program. Another great website for actions or rather the links to some great actions is PhotoTuts. They have wonderful Photoshop tutorials! I go to this website a lot. The link I gave you send you straight to an article they have on actions, including how to make them yourself. The best part about the above actions is that they are mostly free. MCP Actions  also has free actions that they offer as well as some great ones that you can pay for. I also found some beautiful actions from photographer KMiller as well as tutorials on her blog. :)

Alright, so you've found some cool actions that you love and can't wait to start using them. Once you download them, here is how you add them to your photoshop. Move your downloaded actions to the actions folder. The file path is below.

 Now, to load them in your actions tab.

 You can find the actions tab by going to window and clicking on it. I keep mine in the same section as my layers. It's easier to reach for me there.

 Click on the circled icon, go to load actions:

The window below should pop up. Choose the action/s you want to load. Rinse and repeat for every action you want to add to your tab. :)

Now on to using actions. Here is a picture I took of fellow photographer Brandi Anderson and her family a couple of years ago with no retouches done to the image.

Choose the action that you want to use and then press the play button circled at the bottom. Photoshop will carry out the action. Some actions will merge the layers automatically, and there are some actions that will show you all the layers used like in the picture on the right. This will allow you to adjust and tweak the layers to fit each picture if needed.
 Once you merge the layers together, this is the result of the action. A simple one minute edit to your photo.

 Side by side:

See, easy peesy. Takes you longer to load the actions than it does to use them. Below are some other examples of how I used actions.

 Now actions don't necessarily mean you have to change the color. Actions are really just short cuts for the things you do in photoshop often. For example, I have actions for brightening teeth, one for dodging and burning, one for skin smoothing etc. They cut time out of your editing and who doesn't need that.

 Feel free to email me or message me on my facebook with any questions or suggestions for blog posts you'd like to see in the future. 

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