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(adapted from Drew MacCallum's Photoshop Tips on his Ask Dr. Digital website (http://www.askdrdigital.com. Reproduced with permission. © Drew MacCallum)

How To Create Photoshop Actions

by Drew MacCallum ("Dr. Digital")

Do you find yourself repeating one thing over and over? Do you need to perform a task on a group of images? Have you tried running an Action in Photoshop? Actions are great time savers and can simplify your life! As an example, let's follow an actual image-editing sequence (using one of Harald's photos). Some of the images were horizontal, some were vertical. Instead of having to do the manual Image > Rotate Canvas > Rotate 90º CCW procedure for each image, I set an action and a function key to press any time I needed a rotation. Here is how it works:

1. With a file open in Photoshop -- it does not matter if the image has to be rotated or not; you just need to be in the Photoshop application -- open your Actions window (Window > Actions).




2. At the top right of the Actions box or palette, there is an arrow. Click here to open more options and select New Action.




3. Name your Action and assign a Function Key (I named mine "rotate 90ccw" and assigned the F11 key; you will see why in a minute). If you like, create a new "Set" folder in advance to store related actions.




4. Now you are ready to record each step you make. Either select Record on the window that is still open or simply click on the round record button at the bottom of the palette (it will turn red when you are in Record mode). Go to Image > Rotate Canvas > Rotate 90º CCW. Your image should rotate 90 degrees counter-clockwise (see image below). Next, go back to your Actions options and select Stop Recording or simply click on the square button at the bottom of the palette.




5. You have just recorded your Action. To test it, press your F11 key, and the image will rotate again. The same action can now be applied to any image you open in Photoshop. (You can also record more than just one simple step in an Action.)

At this point, I would also record an Action to rotate the image Rotate 90º CW (clockwise) and assign F12 (I can always remember F11 and F12 because they are the last two keys on my keyboard, and F11 is CCW to F12).


Drew MacCallum, aka Dr. Digital, is a photographer who helps studios make the transition from conventional film to digital capture and output. He can be reached at drew@askdrdigital.com.

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