Working with Settings
And let's go back to our Emboss Me action. That's the first one we made. I'm gonna hit the Play button, and it just embosses the picture. When it embossed the picture, wasn't there a setting involved? Wasn't there a slider that we used? Do you remember that? I could choose the amount. Wouldn't it be nice if it asked me which setting to use? And, therefore if I happen to be working on a massively large picture, where there's really fine detail, I might need to use a higher setting, so you can really see it. And, if I'm working with a tiny picture off the internet, I might need a mellow it out, because the pixels are so big, that it's like, it would be too prominent. Let's look at the steps in the Emboss Me action, and see if there's any way where we can get it to ask for settings. When you expand an action and you see the steps that it's made out of, do you notice that to the left of each step, first there's a checkbox. That means, should we actually apply that step. If I would turn off...
the checkbox, it would simply skip that step. When you turn off one of the checkboxes, the one next to the name of the action turns red just to indicate that not everything would apply, if you apply that action. It assumes you probably have the action collapsed down, so you only can see the name. So, if you ever see a red checkbox, it means, hey, something's disabled in that action. It might still work, but you might wanna check out what's disabled. To the right of that area with the checkbox is this little square. If the step that is next to the square actually involves settings, clicking there means ask for the settings, actually bring up whatever screen it was that was there. That's only gonna be available though, for steps that included settings. If I go down here to my Black Edges, here's Find Edges. That's a filter. Click it over here, I'm clicking right now. It's not turning on, because there were no settings related to Find Edges. Even though the thing is there, if you ever click it and it won't let you, it simply means the step that you're attempting to do that for did never ask you for settings. It never brought up a screen, so it would be inappropriate. All right, so there we have it. It should now ask us for settings. Let's close this down, revert our picture to get back to the original, and let's play it. See how now it brought it up. Sometimes you think differently when creating actions, because there are certain techniques that if you went through more steps, you could do it more elegantly. Let's think about what might be able to be more elegant about this particular one. There's all sorts of thing that can be more elegant. I just want to take it one step further than this, and that is right now we're seeing that gray version, but in the end, we're not gonna see that. Wouldn't it be nice if we could preview the end result here, instead of this gray version? I might think through my head, is there any way I could do that? And so, let's cancel this, which will stop the action mid flow. I'm gonna revert my picture just to make sure. If it's grayed out here, it means you're already at the original. Let's make a new version of that Emboss Me action, do a better job of it, a more useful job. Here I'll create a new action, and I'll call this Emboss Me plus, as if it's better. I'm gonna hit Record. Here's what I could've done. Do you remember we applied that directly to the image itself, the first time I made it? Why not instead work on a duplicate layer? I'm gonna type command J to jump that to a new layer. That's control J in Windows. Then, since that layer is where I'm gonna apply the filter, I might name the layer. So, it's not just called layer one. I'll double click on the name, and I'm gonna call it Emboss. Therefore, when I'm done, if I ever open this file a year later, I know that layer must be embossing the picture. By having it on its own layer, after we're done we could always mask it or use the eraser tool to remove some of the effects. Therefore, that would be better. Then, I'm gonna change the blending mode of the layer to what I would usually end up using. I usually only change the blending mode after applying the filter, though. But here we're gonna apply it ahead of time. That's gonna make the image not look right. It's gonna make this image have extreme contrast, because it is applying a copy of itself. When I choose Hard Light, the picture looks different. That's what I'd wanna end up with, when I was done. That's what's gonna make it so now if I apply the emboss filter, it's already in Hard Light mode, that layer is. The preview that I get over here won't show the gray stuff. It will instead show the end result. Therefore, I think It'll be better. So, we choose Emboss. Over here in the filter itself it shows me the gray version, but over here I actually see the end result. I can move this slider around to see what would it do at different settings, get it just to where I'd like. Click OK. I think we're done making are actions. Let's hit the Stop button, but we're not actually done. We're just done getting it so it's adding more and more steps to our action. There's one additional thing we probably wanna do, and that is if we look at our action in here. Let's see, we're doing a new Layer Via Copy. We're setting our layer's name. We're setting the blending mode. I know that if I expanded, it'll tell me that. Down here, where it's Emboss, why don't we click right there to say, ask for settings? Now we can collapse that down, 'cause I'm pretty certain it's going to work just fine. I'll go over here to the File menu. I'll choose Revert, and let's test it. Here's Emboss Me plus. I hit Play, and we get to the embossed window. Right here I've got my preview. I can see the end result. That's because it's already in Hard Light mode ahead of time. That's not something that I'd usually do if I was not using actions. Then, I can adjust it. Cool, click OK. You see how you can refine things. I might not wanna keep that other one, 'cause I don't wanna accidentally apply the dumber version. So, I'm just gonna click on that, and then down here you see a trash can, and if I click on that it says, hey, do you wanna delete what's selected? That could either be a step within your action, like you did something by accident in the middle of recording your action. You messed up. Well, you could grab whatever steps it is that you messed up with, select them, and then hit the trash can. In this case I have the name of the action selected, so when I click OK, we delete the whole thing. All right. It's best to think through a little bit ahead of time, so that you say, what would be the best version of this action? Not just, what's the normal way I do something? Because oftentimes it has to do with deviating a little bit from that to make it a little bit more idealized. That action, called Emboss Me, I could even make more intelligent, but we just don't wanna get too fancy at the beginning here.