General Tips for Better Actions

The Actions palette provides a video-friendly graphic user interface (GUI) for computer programming. Here's some general advice to get results quickly.

• Brush strokes, cloning, and most manual tools from the toolbox do not work. There are several alternatives, such as using a Gradient Fill layer instead of the Gradient tool.

• To play a single step of an action, double-click on it.

• Button mode lets you launch actions quickly; it's in the Actions palette's submenu. You'll need to disable it to get recording and editing features.

• Set the Playback Options from the Actions palette submenu to play back an action accelerated. Photoshop can process faster than it can redraw the screen.

• You can choose File>Automate>Batch to run an action on an entire folder of images.

• You can batch multiple folders at once. Create aliases or shortcuts within one folder that point to the desired folders. Be sure to click the Include All Subfolders option.

• Back up your custom actions to two folders, the default location and a secondary backup. This way, a reinstall or upgrade won't blow your custom actions away.

• To create an action that will work on all files, you must record some commands with the rulers set to percentage.

• Use File>Automate>Fit Image to resize images for a specific height or width.

• Photoshop will record the names of layers as you select them. This may cause playback issues, because the action will look for specific names.

• Use keyboard shortcuts to select layers and such so that the action won't look for a specific name for that step.

• Choose bottom layer (^®+a+0) You can also arrange layers with shortcuts:

— Move the current layer up the layer stack iX +q

— Move the current layer down the layer stack iX +0

More Options with Actions

^ Turning on Dialog Boxes allows you to interact more with an action. In fact, it can open up hundreds of new possibilities.

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