Skip to main content

Creating an Action

Lesson 7 from: How to Work Faster in Adobe Photoshop CC

Chris Knight

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

7. Creating an Action

Lesson Info

Creating an Action

Let's say you've gone through and you've made your image exactly what you want it to be, and you're ready to export it for the Web, Okay? And so I'm going to show you how to make a Web export action. Okay, now you can create an action for a lot of different things. Actions are basically a way for you to create redundancy and repeatability quickly within your process. The difficult part of creating an action is moving around between layers or, if you ever have to brush anything in that creates different kinds of problems. And so when we create action, it's very important that we avoid making mistakes, and we avoid selecting any auto name layers like if you have a curve seven or curves. Eight. You generally don't want to move around in between layers unless you're using very specific keyboard commands. Generally speaking, for us, it's probably going to be a little bit easier to name the layer first before we actually move around between layers. And so that way it allows your actions to s...

elect actual named layers without running into risks of that particular layer, not existing in the image you're working in And so what this is going to do is this is going to run. And when we're finished, it's gonna create Ah, few different adjustments. It's gonna basically sharpen the image. It's gonna add a little bit of noise, and it's gonna create a little bit of a Web output contrast setting. It's going to all of this rather quickly, and it's going to do it in such a way that it gives us extra flexibility for whenever we want to run it on action of a different size on. So here's what we are going to do to create a new action. We're gonna open up the actions tab and it's the little play. But you can also get there by going toe window and actions. But we're gonna create a new action altogether. And so we're going to select this little button right here, which looks like the new layer button that's gonna say What do you want to call this? Okay, I'm gonna call this like a safer Web or ah, Web output Action will call it safer Web, and you can decide if you want, actually program where you want to put it. If you put in the default or you have a specific folder, you can actually program a command to it. I've seen people do things like I have the really fancy mouses, mice, mouses, whatever. You can program keyboard shortcuts into certain buttons. So if you want to create an action for a specific keyboard shortcut the mouse I've seen that work, which is which Israel Handy. So we're gonna do is we're critics say, for Web on, we're gonna hit record and you'll notice this little red button pops up down here in the bottom corner. And that means it's going. It's basically a record. Everything that I do. OK, so and you sharpen the image, gonna add a little bit of noise. And I'm gonna do a Web output in The reason I do these in this order is because, generally speaking, I needed sharp. I personally don't like to sharpen noise, but I do like to add noise to my images. And then I also like to make a little bit of a contrast adjustment so that my dark tone high contrast images look a little bit better on a lot of uncalculated monitors. But I don't use this when I print. So it's generally the last thing that I want to use. So I just turn it off when I'm ready to print the image. So the first thing I'm gonna do is create a sharpen layer. And so I'm going to hit command option shift E. And what this does is this, uh, creates a duplicate of my entire image on its own layer. Okay. And so what I'm gonna do here is I'm gonna go ahead and just create a sharp in. I'm gonna run sharpened. I like to use smart sharpen. You may liken short mask. It's It is. It is whatever it is, um, kind of sharpens it, artifacts it a little bit. I'm gonna dial it back to around 100 or so. I just want a little bit more, Chris. I generally could be I when I'm sharpening, but you'll see that I'm not delving too heavily into this stuff here. I can always lower the opacity if I go too much or vice versa. There we go. OK, and you can kind of see that it popped up right here. This is all purely a matter of personal taste. Okay, Now I'm gonna go ahead and label this sharpen and you'll see that it's setting current layer to sharpen, right? And now I'm gonna create my noise. And I like to do this non destructively, and I like to do this as a way that allows me to make adjustments later on some credit new blank layer, and I'm gonna fill it with 50% great. And I'm gonna convert it to a smart object. And the reason I converted to a smart object is because I'm going to run a filter on this that I may want to change later. That's gonna be the noise. And the reason I do This is a smart object. So if I want to add more noise or less, I can very easily change it for myself. And so now what I'm going to do is go to filter noise, add noise, and remember, it's not affecting the gray. It's only gonna show what's above or below the gray. So you pick your amount. Gaussian monochromatic is generally what I use. The amount is totally a a matter of personal taste. I'm gonna hit, okay, and I'm gonna change the blend mode to overlay and you can actually see that noise in there a little bit now, I'm not gonna toggle it on and off because me toggle ing it on and off will show up in my actions. So I'm gonna call this noise, and then I'm going to create a new I just like to do a levels and I like to shave a few points off the end, usually about five, and then all usually change the overall brightness a little bit again. This is just a personal adjustment that I found works very well in my workflow. And then I'll change this to final Web settings. And then all I have to do is go back into my actions tab and hit. Stop, and it's recorded everything I've done and it's now right here under safer weapon. I'm gonna delete all of this just to show you exactly what it does in real time. I could go through even if I did that at full speed and be a couple of minutes, give or take. But if I just run this action by hitting play, it's gonna do it much quicker now, as far as an interface, if you're not creating a lot of actions. I really like button mode. I think it's fun. Eso I basically just click it and you don't think play. It's just I click safer Web and it will basically run through everything I just did without me having to, um, set up everything again. And there we go. It's all done. It's a labeled, and if I want to change my noise, all I have to do is double click on noise. It brings it up and I can add more or I can remove it. And that's the benefit of using it as a smart object. And so that's my final output settings ready to go on depending upon your computer, it may be a little bit quicker, and so that kind of takes us through some of my favorite tips for speeding up your photography workflow. Ah, working on destructively, using shortcuts, clipping mask blend modes and creating actions

Ratings and Reviews


Amazing, thanks for share so many easy steps, that really can improve a photo. Thanks for share your knwoledge, and thanks for make a very productive 1 hour. Hope to see more of you.

Melville McLean

CreativeLive is wise to offer us a variety of approaches using teachers from several different backgrounds that can better cover the range of interests and background of its students. Chris Knight brings a lot to the table that distinguishes him. First of all he is exceptionally bright and has both a deep knowledge and appreciation of Art History that both informs his own fine art but also enriches his teaching for us. He is an exceptional teacher, very well organized and concise. He breaks his classes down into a logical succession of parts and appears to have a solid background in teaching as well as being IMO, a talented artist. They do not necessarily come together in the same individual but the combination produces an approach that I enjoy very much. I will continue to follow his class offerings and his career. Highly recommended.


Chris is in the league of most confident & accomplished instructors who is sharing his work flow in bits and pieces. He is brilliant. I wish he had longer and more classes.

Student Work