Using Percentages for Recording
It's a big thing to make an action that uses selections be universally applicable to just about any image because of the way it records selections. So let me show you how a selection is recorded if you use the marque tool, that's the one that gives you the rectangular selection. I'll just create a new action. And I'm just gonna call it select me. We need to put it into our folder. This is gonna remember whatever folder was highlighted at the time you create an action. And the last one was when I showed you that copyright notice trick I use. So that, you gotta keep an eye on that. Sometimes you record an action, you know you did it, but then you can't find it in here. And that's just 'cause it went into a folder that, you weren't paying attention when you made your action. All right, now let's make a selection. I'm just gonna drag like this. I'm guessing where the other corner is 'cause it's, the actions panel's up. And then let's expand that. Take a look at how it's recorded. It tells ...
you where the top left corner was and where the bottom right corner was. But it's measured in inches. What if I attempt to apply this action to an image that is one inch by one inch in size? Isn't that gonna mess it up? That's gonna cause it to go huh. And it'll still make a selection. It'll make a selection most likely starting this far from the top left. But when it tries to do the bottom right it'll just end at the edge of the document. But that's gonna mess it up isn't it? So let's see how could we change that. Well if we go to the view menu. And we turn on our rulers. The measurement system used when you record an action is based on whatever your rulers are set to. And my rulers happen to be set to inches right now. There are a couple different ways of changing what your rulers are set to, but if you go to the view menu so you can show them, then you can right click on it. You know right mouse button. Or if you're on a Mac with one button you hold down control and click. That's the equivalent to right mouse button. And in here if I used pixels that would mess it up too. 'Cause what if I have a document that's 10 pixels wide and then I try to apply that to an image that's a thousand pixels wide? You know, it's, it wouldn't give me the same selection necessarily. But there's one special choice in here. You see it? Percent. Yeah. Percent would do it. So let's use percent. I'm gonna get rid of this selection. And I'll make a brand new one. I'm gonna click here. I'm gonna drag to where I think the other corner would be but my action's covering it so I'm not certain. And I'll let go. We'll expand that. And let's look at how it's recorded. Now that can be applied to any image regardless of size and it'll still give me the same general selection, sized based on the total size of the document you know, compared to the, proportional to that document. Does that make sense? So if you ever want to add a border effect to your image, and you want it applicable to any image, it doesn't matter if it's square or horizontal or vertical or whatever, set your rulers to percentages first. Now let's stop this recording, and let's look at the middle step that's in this action. The top step was when we did it in inches. The bottom step was when we did it in percentages. But the middle step is when we got rid of the selection. So here, it doesn't need to have all that stuff in it. We only need one step. So let's just start over. All right, so what I'd like to do to this particular image is I want to make only the edges of the picture desaturated. So it gets less colorful as you get towards the edges. That's what I want. So I'm gonna call this, I'll make a brand new action, call it desaturate edge. I'll click record. And now I'm gonna hide the actions panel just so it's not covering up my image. Then, I'm gonna make sure that my rulers are in percentages before. Usually I set it before I even start the action because in my head I would be like what if that's recorded as a step in the action. Then every single time I apply this action my rulers will end up in percentages. Well the thing is, an action won't usually record something that doesn't have the potential of changing the look of your picture. So things like changing your ruler wouldn't actually be recorded. So anyway, this is in percentages already. I'm gonna come up here and make my selection like this. I'm going to then make the edge of my selection soft. And there are many different ways of doing that. But if I go to this screen called select mask, there is a choice down here called feather. And if I bring that up, I can see it. And I get a preview. Which is nice. And I'm gonna get that up so I got a nice soft edge. And I'll click okay. So now that selection has a soft edge on it. You could have instead gone to the select menu and just chose feather. But I don't believe there's a preview in there. That's the only reason I went to select mask, and used that feather slider. So there's my selection. Right now I have the middle of the photograph selected. I don't wanna change that part. I wanna change the outer part. So I'll go to the select menu and choose inverse. To get the opposite. And then I'm gonna create an adjustment layer, which is that half black and half white circle at the bottom of my layers panel. And I'm gonna choose hue and saturation. And I'm going to bring the saturation down. I could have chosen vibrance as well. In fact, that probably would have been better 'cause I could bring the vibrance down. It would be less obvious that I'm doing it. Okay, that's the adjustment I wanna make. And now, I'm gonna go back to my actions panel and stop recording. So does that make sense, the steps that I used and why I used percentages for my rulers? Now in here I might want to make this so it's more universally applicable. And that would be when I feathered the selection if this was a tiny picture, then that might be too much feathering. And if this is a massive billboard size picture that might not be enough, right? So in here I can look at the steps. I made a selection. Here I went to select and mask. And I could turn on its little icon. And I got that done. Now we can test it. So revert. Desaturate edge. Hit play. Make sure it works. It'd be nice if I had instructions to tell people what to do here 'cause they might be going, is that the end result? And they don't even know they're in the middle of the action. But, it's up to you who's gonna use your action. The more you want somebody else to be able to use it the more you put stops in it. And the more it's just for you and you use it frequently, the more you avoid stops 'cause you want it to be fast. And then it desaturated the edge. If I look in my layers panel, there's the end result layer. The only thing I might want to do is maybe rename that layer so that if I ever open this document in the future I have an idea of why it's there. But I could have put that in my action. Now I'm already done recording this action. How can I add a step to it later? You know, I wanna change the name of that layer. Well I just expand the action. I click on whatever step I would like to start adding new steps after. And I just hit the record button. This guy right here. Remember that one that turned red before. I just turn that on. And now it's paying attention again. As if I never stopped. And I can double click on the name of the layer, and call it desat edge. And then I hit stop. So you can add steps to your action afterwards. You just have to be, really think about it. You could also drag these steps up and down to change their order because sometimes you wanna add something to an action, like a stop, and you just don't think about it. You're doing it at the end. And you just happen to have that last step selected at the time you choose insert stop. You type in your text and all of that. And it's sitting there at the bottom. When it really needs to be up here. So if that's the case, all you're gonna do is click this and drag it up here. See how I just moved it? Or drag it down there. So you can change the order. You can add steps. When you add steps all you're doing is you're not hitting the new action button. You're hitting the record button. The circle.