Automating your workflow in Photoshop while creating enhancements and actions are my absolute favorite things to talk about when it comes to Photoshop so forgive me if I get a bit over enthusiastic!
In this post I will be going over how to apply a few enhancements in Photoshop and how to record those enhancements into an action so that the next time you want to apply the same enhancements to your image you can just select your action, hit play and watch Photoshop do the work for you! Now that is automation at it’s best!!
As a photographer, enhancing my images is a must because it really brings my photographs to the next level and can even take a blah image to something absolutely swoonworthy. Enhancing your images is really a personal art and while every photographer has different styles or tastes, we all have the same goal, a beautiful finished image.
I am going to go over two enhancements I used in Photoshop on the image below and then I will go over how to turn those two enhancements, which may take about 2 minutes to apply normally, into an action which will literally take all of one second to apply! Sounds good right!?
After brightening this image, the first thing I did was add some warmth. One of my fave ways to do this is by adding a color overlay and switching the blending mode. You can do this by going to Layer>New Fill Layer>Solid Color.
Your color picker box will appear and you can now pick a warm color that suites your photo, I chose a light peach tone for this image. Now you will notice your entire image is covered in the color you have picked (no worries!!), next change the blending mode to Multiply.
You will be left with a deep, saturated hue on your image and you may want to turn down the opacity of that layer a bit. Done!
The next enhancement I had applied to this image was a color pop. To do this I went to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Hue Saturation. I brought the saturation slider up to 15 and changed the blending mode (yes you can do this to ALL adjustment layers!!) to soft light, and adjusted the opacity as needed. Voila!
Pretty simple right!? Well actually it could be a whole lot simpler for you next time if you create an action, keep reading to see how I record my actions below.
Let’s go over what a Photoshop action is again. An action is a series of steps in Photoshop that have been recorded. Once recorded you will have that action available for use, just click play and Photoshop will do all of the steps for you and each action takes about a second to play, yes it’s my absolute favorite feature in Photoshop!
Before you create an action you will need to create and name a set or collection you would like your action to go in, Photoshop does not have a feature to create an action without doing this first.
To create your set you will need to open your actions panel Window>Actions and click on the the folder at the bottom of the panel, go ahead and name your set.
Now you can start recording your new action, click on the folded square button at the bottom of your actions panel to name your new action and start recording. (to view your actions panel go to Window>Actions)
Keep in mind Photoshop will be recording the steps you take, not the time it takes you to complete them.
Now that Photoshop is recording the adjustments you make, you can start creating your desired effect you would like to make into an action.
Try the enhancements I listed in the above paragraph if you are not sure what action or effect you would like to create. When you are done with the steps you are recording just hit the ‘stop’ button at the bottom of the actions panel.
Now you have your brand new action that you just created populated in your actions panel and all you have to do to apply it next time is hit the ‘play’ button at the bottom of your actions panel! Make sure the action is selected before hitting play.
I know you guys are going to have a lot of fun automating your workflow in Photoshop and playing around with creating your own enhancements and actions and feel free to ask me any questions that may come up along the way!
Stay tuned next time for the last installment of the Automation in Photoshop series and learn about batch processing and how to apply enhancements & actions to multiple images at once!
Thank you Amanda Glisson for contributing this article.