Actions & Automation in Photoshop® for Beginners

Lesson 9/11 - Creating Reflection Actions


Actions & Automation in Photoshop® for Beginners


Lesson Info

Creating Reflection Actions

I do reflection actions. I think it's kinda fun when you take certain images, if I take this image, I duplicate it, I flip it like a mirror, and then I move it over here. Then this shape will have an identical version of itself going down this way, and it can create these really interesting things, but I never enjoy doing it manually. But why not make an action? I can make an action called reflect right, another one called reflect left. The only difference will be a couple steps, and then I can make one reflect both where it goes both ways, I could say reflect up, reflect down, reflect all ways and it would go left, down, you know, all that kinda stuff. I'm just gonna make a simple one. So here I'll go to my actions panel. I'm gonna click on the folder that I want to record it in. I hit the new action button, and I'm gonna call this reflect right. I'll hide my actions panel just so it's not covering up my picture, and let's figure out how it's done. Well, the first thing I would do in ...

this case is I would duplicate the layer. I usually use a keyboard shortcut, anybody remember it? Command J, control J in Windows. The next thing I'm gonna do is flip this layer like a mirror would flip it. You can do that by going to the edit menu, choosing transform, and choosing flip horizontal. Edit, transform, flip horizontal. Just so you know, there's another command that sounds very similar to that. Let me first apply this one. The other one is found under image in image rotation. Do you see that version? There's a difference. Anything under the image menu, most of those things, affects your entire image, and all the layers that are contained within it. And if so, both of the layers would have gotten flipped. Does that make sense? The one under the edit menu only affects the layer that's currently active, and therefore, the one below does not get flipped. So I wanted to just mention that 'cause you might be thinking wait a minute, I usually go to that other menu. All right, next I'm gonna use my move tool and I'm gonna move this layer to the right. I'm gonna move my mouse just outside the document, actually, right out here, and I'm gonna drag this way. If I hold shift it means move it only in one direction, like I can't move it diagonally. And watch those little pink lines. Those are called smart guides. When I get to the edge, watch what happens right where the edge of the document is. Do you see that vertical line that appeared? That means the left edge of what I'm dragging just lined up with the edge of the document, so I know it's just right, I'm gonna let go. Now what's cool about that is I believe it used the settings in my rulers to figure out how far I moved it and what's it gonna record? 100% horizontal is how far I moved it. Therefore it doesn't matter what size the document is. Does that make sense? Okay, then the next thing I'm going to do is I'm gonna go to the image menu, and there's a choice called reveal all, and what that choice does is it makes your document bigger, however much larger it needs to reveal all of the stuff that extends beyond the edge. All right, so if I choose reveal all, now we can see that. Now if you see a white line down the middle, most of the time that doesn't truly exist. If you zoom up to 100% view, that will not be there, unless you are inaccurate with how you dragged, so I'm not certain, but let's zoom up, and all that means is if I flatten the image to combine the layers, that there is no separation. That is simply, it trying to quickly draw my screen. That's a small size and it's not as accurate at doing that. We get multiple layers, so sometimes you see it. It's the same thing when you stitch a panorama with the old-school way you did it in Photoshop. And you used to find these things, I called 'em worms. They looked like these little meandering kinda cracks. They weren't actually in the document if you zoomed up or if you flattened your image. But everybody freaked out about 'em. It's just inaccurate drawing of the screen. So that's pretty cool, flip horizontal, right? Now what I could do if I want to go further with this, is why not combine the layer that we just moved over there with the one below it? I usually type command E, but not everybody likes keyboard shortcuts, so right here under the layer menu, merge down, so watch my layers panel. Okay? That's just, it's on one layer. Now I want to reflect down, so let's repeat the process. What was it, command J to duplicate the layer, right? Edit, transform, and then flip vertical in this case. Then I grab my move tool, and I might need to zoom out on my document 'cause I can't really see the whole height, well, I can. I like to start just outside, and that's just so when I get down here I don't run out of space when I'm dragging. But I click here, I hold shift when I drag to make sure I don't move it a little bit horizontally. Instead it's just perfectly one direction and I wait for the pink guide, there it is, to tell you I'm right lined up with that edge, and I let go. Then I go to the image menu, choose reveal all, and then I might as well merge these two layers together, so I can go to the layer menu, choose merge down. The keyboard shortcut's command E, control E in Windows, and there I actually still see the seam after merging down, which means my dragging might not have been perfect. If so, right now, let's first zoom up, see if it's there. Oh, it's actually not there. Usually when you merge the layers together, any inaccuracies in your screen redraw go away, but in that case it was still there. Well now it's gone. It's like it might not have refreshed the screen. So that's kinda cool. Let's stop our action. Stop. So, let's see what we got, we got new layer via copy. That means duplicate, we got flip it. We got move it, we got reveal it. That's what made the first one visible. We merged them together, then we did a copy. We flipped it, we moved it, we revealed it, we merged it. I don't want to think of those steps again. I just want it to happen almost instantaneously, so let's test it with another picture. So I'll close this one, and well, we can use it on a normal picture. I don't think it'll be that exciting. Let's see. I called it reflect right, even though we ended up going beyond that, but-- not that exciting with that one, but if you use more of a organic shape like this one, then I'll go in here, grab that, hit play. That's pretty cool. And it's so quick, you see how, it's almost instant, isn't it? So the next thing we could do is make variations of this. Why not make one that's reflect right, reflect down, you know, all that kinda stuff. In this case I'll make it so we just have two. We have reflect right and reflect all, meaning all directions. Let's rename this one. I'll double click on its name, and that lets me rename it, and I'll just put all. Then I'm gonna duplicate it, so I'm not sure if you can right click to duplicate. I would assume, but if you drag it to the new layer icon that should duplicate it. And all I'm gonna do is open it up, and inside, remember when we, after we merged our layers we made another copy, we flipped it again, and so on. I'm just gonna select all those steps that created the second reflection. I'll hit delete, so now we have just down to the first reflection. I'll double click on the name and I'll call it reflect right. All right, finally let's do one other thing to refine that. I'm gonna play that action, I have that, it's selected, we'll do reflect all. But if I'm looking at my image like this, and I do reflect all, let's see what the end result looks like. Can you tell that you can't see the whole thing? It didn't automatically zoom to show me all. I can always type a keyboard shortcut, it's command zero, which means fit in window. That is a shortcut for going up here. I don't even know where the choice is 'cause I always use my keyboard. There it is, fit on screen. Well, if I would have chosen that choice while recording this action, it would have been ignored. Why? Actions try to be efficient. They only record steps that have the potential of changing the contents of your document. So things like selections, they have that potential to you know, change where you're working on your document, and that kind of stuff, but zooming, that doesn't change what's in your picture at all, right? So let's figure out how to get it to zoom out at the end of our action. Well, let's go to our action, I'll go to the one called reflect all, I'll click on the last step, 'cause that's where I'd like it to happen is right after the last step, and I'm gonna go to the side menu that's here. We got a bunch of choices that are there. It'll take me just a moment to find. Right here, insert menu item. What that means is I can choose any choice, any menu item, and it will apply that regardless if it would change the look of your picture or not. And so when I choose insert menu item, right now it's waiting for me to choose something from the menu. And when I choose something from the menu, I'm just gonna choose fit on screen, it writes down the name of that particular command and when I click okay it adds it to my action, even though that command would usually be ignored. So that's kinda cool. There are certain things that would totally be ignored by your action, and now this action, let's test it. Revert, and I'll just zoom up on it so you, 'cause it's gonna leave it at this view most of the time, I'll choose reflect all, I hit play. And do you see it zoomed out on it? And we're done, okay? So that was insert menu item, it's found in the side menu, and I think that's pretty cool.

Class Description

Not only does Photoshop® allow you to create stunning images, it helps you work faster and more efficiently. Ben Willmore will show you how to automate many of the common tasks you do regularly and then apply those automations to large numbers of images in batch operations. In addition to teaching you well-known, simple automations, Ben will also cover more advanced concepts, like using subroutines, adding conditionals and prompting actions from within Adobe® Lightroom®.