How to Automate a Series of Steps in Photoshop CS6 - dummies

How to Automate a Series of Steps in Photoshop CS6

By Barbara Obermeier

When you create an action in Adobe Photoshop Creative Suite 6, you automate a series of steps. The hardest part about creating a new action is figuring out what functions you want to automate. Think about steps that you carry out over and over, and whether you could be more productive if you had an action that could do them for you.

You can also even record your custom print settings as part of your action. This can save loads of time.

After you decide what you want to automate, examine the actual steps so that you can record them. After you record the steps, creating a new action involves little more than starting Photoshop’s macro recorder and carrying out the steps that you want to include in the action.

While you’re working out the kinks in your action, you should do so on a copy of your original file. That way, if things go awry, your original file is safe from harm.

Here are the steps to follow to create a new action:

  1. Open an image.

  2. Display the Actions panel in List mode by unchecking Button Mode in the panel pop-up menu.

    Photoshop CS6 has added the capability to record brush strokes. Select Allow Tool Recording in the Actions panel pop-up menu. This feature can come in handy when using brushes to retouch a series of similar images. You can also create a painting, record it, and have Photoshop repaint it for you brush stroke by stroke later on.

  3. Click the Create New Action button at the bottom of the Actions panel.

    You can also select New Action from the panel pop-up menu.

    The New Action dialog box opens.


  4. In the Name text box, enter a name for the action.

  5. In the Set pop-up menu, select the actions set in which you want to save the new action.

    An actions set is merely a folder that contains individual actions for organizational purposes. Feel free to use an existing set or create your own.

  6. (Optional) To associate the action with a function-key shortcut, select the name of the function key from the Function Key drop-down menu.

    This step associates the action with a button on the keyboard. Associating an action with a function key, such as F2, F3, and so on, can cut down the time it takes you to perform common actions. Try to use keyboard shortcuts that aren’t already associated with other Photoshop tasks.

    Select the Shift or Ctrl (Shift or Command on the Mac) check box to use either one of these keys with the function key.

    Any keyboard shortcut that you assign to an action overrides the default function already assigned to the keyboard shortcut. A few exceptions exist in which the operating system wins in the case of a conflict. You can revert to the original shortcut by choosing Edit→Keyboard Shortcuts.

    To avoid conflicts, Mac users can check for system keyboard shortcuts. To do so, look under the Keyboard Shortcuts tab in the Keyboard & Mouse section of the Systems Preferences under the Apple menu.

  7. In the Color drop-down list, select a color to mark your action in Button mode.

    This option enables you to group related actions by color.

  8. Click the Record button in the New Action dialog box to begin recording.

  9. Carry out all the steps that you want to record.

  10. Click the Stop Playing/Recording button at the bottom of the Actions panel to finish the action.

    Your new action appears in the Actions panel, in both List and Button modes.