Use Actions to apply special effects instantly

Record a series of edits as an Action that can be quickly applied to other images, or to a whole batch of shots Photoshop Actions might not be the most glamorous aspect of creative post-processing, but integrate them into your workflow and yousave bags of time by applying your favourite special effects in seconds. An Action is essentially a recording of a Photoshop process (you can only record Actions in CS; newer versions of Elements enable you to play Actions, but the options are limited), and in this tutorial we ll create a cool retro effect by editing the red, green and blue colour channels on a Curves adjustment layer. The result works a treat, but ittime-consuming if you want to apply it to lots of images. Record it as an Action, however, and it can be applied to other shots with a single click. And as if this wasnclever enough, you can apply an Action to an entire batch of images. special effects instantlyYou can share your Actions online, or download Actions created by others. The Action created in this tutorial, along with 50 other creative portrait Actions, are free with this issue! Record and play back an Action Get set up Go to Window > Actions to open the Actions panel. Start by creating a new Action set, by clicking on the Create New Set button at the bottom of the panel. Name the new set Retro Actions’, then click the Create Action icon and enter a name for your Action —wecalling this one Cool’. Record it Click the Record button, then create the effect. Add a Curves adjustment layer, choose Blue from the channel menu above the curve window, and create an S-curve. Next select Red, and drag a point down in the shadows section of the curve, then select Green, and create a more gentle S-curve in this channel.

special effects instantlyPause the Action

Add another Curves layer, leave the channel set to RGB and pull a point down to darken the image. If you want to use different settings for other images, you can configure the Action to enable this. Choose Insert Stop from the Action panelfly-out menu and type a prompt in the dialog —in this case Tweak Tones’. This prompt will appear each time you run the Action. Play it again... When youfinished your series of edits, press the Stop button (you donhave to rush —only actual edits you make are recorded, without pauses). Your new Action will be displayed in the Actions panel; click the Play button to check it works properly.

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