Photoshop Actions: Building Blocks

Note: At the conclusion of this article are links you can use to download the Photoshop Actions being discussed. While the concepts behind them are applicable to any version of PS, the provided actions were recorded for CS2 and may not work with older (or newer) versions.

If you’ve discovered how useful Photoshop Actions are and if you’ve been using Photoshop for more than a few months then chances are you’ve also built up quite a collection of them. Over time, though, you may have noticed that most of them were never used more than a few times. It’s too easy to end up with something like a junk-drawer collection of them, jammed with things that always seem to do something other than what you happen to be looking for at the moment. I’d like to introduce you to another way of approaching all this, one that adds a little method to the usual madness.

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The Art of The Matter

Growing Up

“Growing Up”
True story: On the day the above photo was taken, the girl in it was 11 years old and her dad was just minutes away from getting remarried. If you’d asked her at the time why she wanted to wear that particular style of shoe I wouldn’t be surprised to hear she had no better answer than, “I don’t know, I just like them.”
But I suspect there was more to it than that and I’m positive that wearing them was really very important to her. How do I know? Because she did wear them—
all day—even though her ankles got sore and she ended up with blisters on both feet. It wasn’t until late into the reception that I saw she’d finally taken them off. Actually what I saw was this: both her and her new step mom, shoes off, laughing like school girls and dancing with one of the happiest men in the world.

I didn’t take the above photograph. Not exactly, at least. Rather, it’s what I found hiding in what what I did take: a spur-of-the-moment snapshot. I was in the middle of photographing the bride who was just arriving and was lucky enough to Read More »

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Looking Sharp!

Often when creating a “web ready” version of a photograph—converting it, for example, from an 8×10 image at 300 dpi to a 4×5 image at 72 dpi—the resulting image loses its edge, so to speak. It’s no longer as crisp looking as the larger, printable version. For most people, the loss of clarity may not be a big deal but if you want your online images to look their best then you need to add a sharpening step to your conversion process.

Illustrates the difference between a normal and sharpened image. Compare the eye and eyebrow in the two images.

Illustrates the difference between a normal and sharpened image

If you’re using Photoshop, there are a number of ways to sharpen images. After quite a bit of experimenting what I find works consistently well is Read More »

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