Challenge 1: Action Hero Challenge
So, who would like to start?
Okay so Lisa, you're going to introduce yourself and your action. We're calling this one Action Hero because all of us know of actions in Photoshop and they've been around for a very long time and they've done a lot of work for us all and I've asked each contestant to create an action or use an action that does so much stuff or something so amazing we have no idea how they did it and we would never wanna do it ourselves. If you didn't create that action, I'm sorry that I introduced it that way.
Yeah, I just realized I need to do one thing. Just stall, stall for a minute.
Oh, I'm gonna stall.
Yeah, just for one second.
So, Lisa, I--
You know, if you hold down Option (laughing)
Lisa has been on Photoshop this for what three years now?
Yeah, I think three, I think it's going on three.
And every single year, she delights and amazes. How was that?
Oh, that was so kind.
Awesome, are you ready?
I'm ready n...
ow, thank you very, very much.
Okay so, Lisa, go ahead and take us away.
And regale us with an action beyond belief.
So hi, my name's Lisa Carney, and I've had kind of a year this year. So my action is reflecting that. I know that just went really quickly, it's going, you know when the sun is shining and all is well with the world and all of a sudden the sun is no longer shining and you're up to your eyeballs in it, well, that is what's happening now. It happened very quickly. One other thing is about to happen here.
Did you remember the shot?
I'm really, yes, I remember the shot and it didn't look anything like this.
No, so now--
I don't think they're seeing it on the screen.
All right, well here, I can give them a before and after 'cause that was pretty quick,
That would be great, that was, there it is.
So, that was pretty quick. You said quick, didn't you?
Yeah, that was amazing.
All right, so my year has kinda been like this everything's lovely and grand and wonderful and, yeah. (audience laughing)
Oh my gosh, there's even water in there isn't there?
Oh yeah, it's a flood, it's a flood. (audience laughing) It's been.
You know what? That's actually a better image than the original.
Yeah, so there you go.
I'm hoping that maybe I could send that to the client.
Yeah, you know maybe she or he is having a bad year also.
That's the divorce image.
Yes, yes it is!
Yeah, so you get married, take that picture and then just have, this is the divorce or the end of the marriage.
So, hi everyone. (audience laughing)
Do I seem bitter?
Lisa Carney, everyone!
Do I seem bitter? (applause and laughing)
That was incredible. How did you end up getting the, well I guess the water is just like a--
The bottom edge, but could you decide how much water?
Yeah, you can and actually, one of the things that I am a firm believer, being a working professional, is sometimes it is not about me doing the work, it's about me finding out where the resources are to do the work. So there happens to be an amazing plug-in by Flaming Pear and it's called Flood. And it's amazing, it is. I've been using it, let me show you something real quick if I'm not hogging up anybody's time here.
No, it's all about you, Lisa.
If you took 50%--
I love you too, baby. I am single now, I'm just throwing it out there. (all laughing) So if you take a flat, gray image, you can use, oh my, this is, you can invite--
I've got three of 'em.
Oh my gosh, the flood's rising.
I'm just nearsighted.
Yeah. (audience laughing) Anyway, you can change the water to be whatever you want.
Oh, that's pretty cool. And it'll produce it on, quite literally, nothing. That was a layer of 50% gray.
The color 50% gray.
That is fantastic.
It doesn't mask it out for you, that's all right.
I don't really know where I would use it. But, it's pretty cool.
I use this all the time, actually.
Well, I would imagine you would.
I have a bunch of work that I use this on.
You did water?
Yeah, and I mean the thing is you could do this by hand. You could get stock and you could actually create this.
You can pay $33 and have this plug-in and go grab a cup of coffee.
I mean, it does take time a minute because--
It's all about time and extra coffee in your life.
Right, and I like coffee, so that's good.
So there you go.
Whoa, that's great, too.
That's pretty neat.
All right, well, let's give it up for Lisa. (audience applauding)
RC, you ready, you want to go next?
Sure. Hi, my name is RC Concepcion. I am a Photoshop author, teacher. I'm also a professor at Syracuse University. So, I was gonna show--
I grew up in Rome.
Did you really?
Where's that? Sorry! (audience laughing) I have no idea, I just moved there, I just moved there. But I've just been there for the past year.
45 minutes away.
Okay, I gotta keep that in mind. So let me show you my action. So I have an action here.
Bring you two together.
I know, this is awesome. But anyway, this is a quick action. So, there's a before.
There it goes, there it goes, what's it gonna do?
I'm a big fan of trying to use actions from a time standpoint. Like a lot of the times, yes, you can go out and kind of find different sources and do different types of things. But, a lot of the times, I don't want to sit there and do heavy lifting every single time of everything that I need to be able to do. So, if I can automate most of that stuff or if I can leverage some of the tech that Photoshop has, I think it's a good idea. So for my thing, I wanted to be able to create something that had all sorts of different contrasts. So what I wanted to do is just, these are constant things that you would do as you start working with something in Photoshop. Like a lot of the times, what happens is, you start creating duplicate layers but you wanna be able to use camera RAW filters. But that you can't go back and edit them, so you have turn them into smart objects. But then you have to turn around and mask portions of that. But you can't have duplicate smart objects because duplicate smart objects are duplicates of one another, not necessarily copies of one another. So then you have to copy smart objects and then you have to be able to move masks within that. So you have to create a whole bunch of unlinked masks to do that. So there's like a whole bunch of different type of post-processing work that you need to do that you have to get all that groundwork done and then you have to come back in and start just moving little pieces around. So the more that I can use the actions to do that, the better.
So, this basically builds your pre-work?
And then you're gonna go in and paint in and out the things you want.
Yep, so like a lot of the time--
Or go in and adjust one of these RAW images here--
As a smart filter.
Like at any point in time, like right now, there's a big thing we were talking about inside of camera RAW they started using texture.
So, texture, I think, is a really cool effect for you to be able to do, like if you look right around here right, awesome, Instagram. (audience laughing) Awesome, Instagram, right? So you wanna be able to add that texture but you wanna be able to pull all of that stuff out later, right? I'm a big fan of, Adobe spent a ton of time developing all this tech. Let's just use it, right? Let's just be as fast as we can.
Plus, who's really a fan of doing repetitive work?
Not me. So, all right, excellent. Give it up for RC. (audience applauding) All right, Jason.
What you got?
Nothing, I've got nothing. But, you know what? I'm Jason Hoppe and here we are. And this particular action that I'm gonna show you here is insanely long, 'kay?
How many steps?
I think it's about 137 steps.
We're not paying you by the steps. Just so you know.
I signed a contract. So this particular one, I'm gonna run it here and this particular one is pretty awesome because this creates an Intaglio effect on an image. Where it goes in and it makes it look, when you see on the back of the money that really beautiful carved stuff that you see, the actual--
Like it's a wood carving?
Yeah, the cut lines, the carving there. And by the way, did you know that, actually, there's like multiple artists that actually do all of the bills because there is no one particular person that does the entire bill because of all their unique artistic values? So I'm gonna run this particular one. This is gonna take some time. And what's interesting about this particular action is, there's things that happen along the way so you don't have to just run the action. There are things that you can put in here that will actually go in and give you user input. So here, you can go ahead and you can talk to the person about what it is that you wanna do. And you don't have to just run the action and just have it run. You can have user input that you can describe what's going on. So there's stops along the way. This is a very intense action. And so it's gonna go through and it's going, it actually renders everything in 3D, and then it maps the 3D surface. And then it goes in and then it renders and renders and renders and renders like crazy, okay?
That's a lot of rendering.
It is an insane amount of rendering. And, you know what? I can talk forever about anything whatsoever. So you can see here in the layers panel what's happening is, we're going through, and it's creating different depths here for the rendering. And there's certain things that you can do if, when these little dialogue boxes come up, you can go ahead.
It's like a Choose Your Own Adventure.
It is. Did you ever read those as a kid? I always did like, knights' tales where you would like be a knight, King Arthur's Round Table.
And I always ended up dying.
Always. Like if there was an option to die in a Choose Your Own Adventure, I would take that option. Whatever that option was. Do you have an option to die that leads you down a path?
Well, you can kill this as you go, but my life was always a pop-up book. It was always an adventure, but it was always an additional dimension to it, you know? Because it wasn't just the story, it wasn't just everything else. It was also how it all worked and everything. So as you go through here, this is the one thing that does require user input. Where you can go in and you can hold down the option key and you control how much you're going to go ahead and blow out the highlights in here. And then we're gonna continue to run the action. Now, this can go on forever because it has to render. The 3D takes a lot of power to do this. You can see there's the 3D mapping there. The one thing that this really fails at spectacularly is anybody with glasses, okay? So you have to keep going on here and you can kind of see what's going on with this if I move everything out of the way. It's gonna take some time. But you will get this absolutely sensational Intaglio effect here. And it is beyond belief, 'kay?
So is it creating volume and curves in the carvings based on the three dimensionality of the photograph itself?
Yes, the three dimensional mapping is what's actually going in and doing the carving. So this Intaglio effect where you're going in and you're actually carving and creating those valleys and rivers here with the width and the shape. This is exactly what's happening with this here.
But like that's the part I think a lot of the times people don't necessarily get from an action thing. They're just, can I back for you a little bit? But it's one of those things where, it's like a lot of the times you can use actions to be able to create something that's creative. You can use actions to able to do, like a little bit of automation, but you can also do a lot of stuff for heavy lifting. Like, there was job I did a couple years ago for a supermarket company where we doing product photography and we were shooting these things and we had to shoot, I think it was like 35,000 products. And we had to shoot four angles of 35,000 products on a white background and three quarters of the way through the project, I went to one of the guys and I was just like, "Hey listen, "you're shooting these things on a white background." And he's like, "Well white-ish." And I'm like, "No, dude, like not white-ish, "like it needs to be white."
We'll find out.
But it's that kind of heavy lifting that you can use and a lot of people don't talk about it and I think it's cool that you guys do.
So many people repeat the same process over and over and over again when you can create actions, you can create styles, you can create all these things, for the same thing that you do every single day. And I see people going in, starting up a new document, and changing the attributes. It's like, no, if you've done the same thing twice, figure out a way that it does it for you.
Right, the third time is a waste.
Right, the third time is a waste and if you've done it for 20 years, clearly you need to figure out a totally different way to do this. And this thing takes forever to render. (all laughing)
Also, I know you guys are talking about automated techniques, but I think also, actions can be really helpful for creative process. So in the entertainment industry, we have to come up with, criminy, 30 comps a week for a show and sometimes you run out of ideas. So I will actually go on Adobe Exchange and get actions and run 'em. And come up with different comp ideas. Now I have to make sure I can reproduce that high-res at a later date. I can't ever present something I can't reproduce. But it's just a way to get your mind expanded and try new things 'cause we all freeze up sometimes. All of us do. So while you're talking technical stuff, it's also, I think, a good use for creative work as well.
You're doing something right here, Lisa.
What are you doing?
So I ran, I have an action that I purchased because I'm not--
Turn to Lisa's computer.
So I wanna be a, full disclosure, I am not an action gal. I struggle making actions, but I know where to buy actions. And that's part of me being a pro, here.
And I think this is a great action for sketch technique. And I could figure out how to do this in Photoshop. I can reproduce this for a poster, if need be. But while you were talking, that was what, two minutes? That action ran. And there's comp number one. And now I can move on and do comp number two. And in addition to this, I can also change the opacity of that. So I can make it more or less. And it's just a valuable resource. And one of the things I like about Creative Live is we talk about how we don't have to be the master of everything. We absolutely don't. You can find other avenues. So I know where to find this stuff. I know, I've got your number.
I can call you for this action.
And when you need this, because funny enough, I didn't write this action.
I'm not surprised.
Well no, because this is the crazy kind of thing. So, one of the things--
Dude, I'm the only person who wrote my action?
I wrote that first action.
Oh, okay, okay, cool.
Congratulations, you won this round because you actually wrote your own action. Lisa bought hers.
No, I wrote the first one. The divorce setting.
The divorce setting. (chuckling)
The dark, the rain, the flood.
Yes, but you also used the plug-in.
I don't know, that's kind of a combination.
Jason loses the challenge because his is actually going to crash his computer and it's going to light on fire.
No, I want you to come over to my computer now. And, you know, I can go ahead and lose. But you know what? I've been a loser my entire life and I'm fine with it. I'm good. But this is the Intaglio effect right here, 'kay? And this is, yeah, this is pretty amazing.
Oh, that's pretty cool.
She could be on a dollar bill now.
So this was written by Steve Laskowitz of Luminous Works, which is the Adobe Authorized Training Center here in Seattle, which I've been teaching at for many years. And this is right up his alleyway and this is what he did. And so, when I needed an action, I'm like, okay, I'm going to do it, and I'm like, no. He had sent me this and it's like, test it out and I'm like, this is absolutely amazing. Because when you look at this, I mean, what it's done is it just, it's not like one of those things where you apply like a halftone screen and whatever.
Right, it actually has a three dimensionality to it.
Exactly, the 3D mapping of this is really what makes this sensational. And I had a picture of Leonard Nimoy, but I mean, look at that hat. I mean, the way it articulates around the shapes and the highlights and the shadows of the hat. This is what makes it absolutely awesome. And so you know what? If I lose because it's too long, cool.
Congratulations, that's good.