Creating Actions or Macros in Photoshop
Actions are basically the same thing as macros in Windows or Microsoft office, just for Photoshop. This tutorial has two parts, one for actually making the action, and the other for using it on other images.
1. First, think of a task that you do frequently in Photoshop. If you're a web designer it could be saving files as lesser-quality jpegs or making a certain size thumbnail of a picture. In this tutorial, we will be doing the latter.
2. Open Photoshop with a relatively square image that you want to make a thumbnail of. I will be using the cover of Muse's Absolution album:
3. If your image is already a gif then you can skip this step. Otherwise, pay close attention. In this tutorial we're going to be converting the album cover to a 50x50 gif, so it can be used for a buddy icon on AIM. The first thing we want to do before we start recording our action is to convert the image to Indexed Color Mode, so when we are recording the action and change it back to RGB Color mode, it will record the change. If the image, in this case a jpeg, is already in RGB Color mode when we begin recording the macro, it won't record any change when we convert it to RGB Color mode since it is already in that mode. It is necessary to make sure the image is on RGB Color mode before we resize it because if try to resize a gif, which are all in Indexed Color mode, it won't resize correctly, so to fix this problem we want to make sure every image that this action will be used on is converted to RGB Color mode before it is resized. To change the image to Indexed Color mode, go to Image, Mode, Indexed Color, and click ok.
4. Now, open the actions palette. If that tab isn't there, you can go to Window, Actions to open it.
5. If you're reading this tutorial, you probably have never experimented with actions before, so you'll probably want to create a new folder in Photoshop to store all your custom actions. It's actually called a 'set,' but it's basically a folder. So, click the folder icon at the bottom of the actions palette, and type in the name for your new set. I called mine "Alex's Actions."
6. I named my new action "50x50 gif," very suitable I think.
7. As soon as you click "Record," it will begin recording your action. the first step we're going to record is to convert the image to RGB Color mode, mentioned above, so it will resize properly. To do this, go to Image, Mode, RGB Color.
8. Notice that the conversion gets recorded in the actions palette:
9. Now that we can be sure that the image will resize correctly, we can actually resize it. To do this, go to Image, Image Size. Make sure the "Constrain Proportions" checkbox is UNchecked, because if your image is not close enough to a square, it won't resize to be exactly 50x50. After you uncheck the "Constrain Proportions" box, enter 50 and 50 into the height and width boxes, respectively. Also make sure the dimensions are in pixels, not percent. Now click ok.
10. You should now have something similar to this:
11. Now we need to save the image, so this action can be used on multiple images at the same time, using Adobe Bridge. So, go to File, Save As, and for the "Format:," select "CompuServe GIF (*.GIF)." Delete the "copy" out of the "File Name:" Box, and then click "Save." In the Indexed Color dialog box that appears, click OK, and then click OK in the GIF Options dialog box which also appears.
12. The last step we are going to record is to close the image. Simply click the "X" in the top-right of the open image window. It will ask you if you want to save your changes, click "No."
13. Now we need to tell Photoshop to stop recording the action. To do this click on the "Stop" button in the actions palette.
14. Now your actions palette should look like this:
15. That's it! Now you can read the tutorial below to learn how to make efficient use of your newly-created action.
Using the Action on Other Images
1. Open another image you want to resize in Photoshop, simply select the action we created in Photoshop, and press the Play button in the actions palette.
2. An alternate way to do this, useful if you have a large number of files you wish to run through the same action, is to go to File, Automate, Batch. It's pretty simple. All you do is put all the files you want to run through the action in one folder, select that folder by clicking "Choose," and hit OK.
3. It will go through all the steps in the macro, including saving and closing the files.