Saturday, February 16, 2013

Automate with Actions

Photoshop actions are a routine part of my photo processing. They can save a ridiculous amount of time if you seem to be doing the same steps over and over in photoshop, why not automate it. Then make it even easier and faster by assigning your favorites to your F-keys (you can set up to 3 actions per F-key).

There are endless amounts of actions available out there but many of them are just ok at best. One of the best sources for really good actions is MCP Actions. Their Fusion actions are the ones I use most frequently and rely on the most. Kevin Kabota has some descent ones too. 


One issue I have had is finding an action that works well on fixing skin. A lot of them would take away too much detail or leave halos around the edges. That is why I just ended up creating my own. Now it is one of my most used actions and I want to share it with you.


Photo from Improve Photography • www.improvephotography.com
 
Download the free DC Skin Fix action here.

The first time you run it messages will pop up to tell you how to use it and the best settings to use. Please let me know if you have any questions about it.


Thanks!
D

30 comments:

  1. Thanks! Can I use this with Photoshop Elements 11?

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  2. Layne– Here's a link to what I have found: http://www.mcpactions.com/blog/2012/09/27/photoshop-actions-for-elements-11/

    I have never used Elements but hopefully this will clarify... and it looks like v11 has made it easier than previous versions to install actions. Hope this helps!

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  3. Thank you for generously sharing your skin action. Congrats on winning the editing contest. Can't wait to try out this action! You and I are much alike. I am a graphic designer, photographer, fellow crafter and mom, only I have 2 college age girls!

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    1. That is awesome! I have an 8 year old and 1 year old twins (all boys!) and I imagine once they are in college I will have much more mommy creative time on my hands =)

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  4. Thank you for sharing your skin fixing action, I can't wait to try it out! Congratulations on winning the contest. It is so nice of you to share how you did your awesome edit.

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  5. Congrats on winning and thanks for sharing!!

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  6. Thank you so much for sharing your great action! Congratulations to you for the win! You did a wonderful job!

    Would you mind letting me know the details on how to find it on CS5 once I have downloaded it? I have a Mac. I am really looking forward to trying it out! Thank you!

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    1. Marlene – To open your Actions Panel: top menu bar > Windows > Actions

      In case you want to go more in depth about it, MCP has videos that explain everything you'll ever need to know about actions here: http://www.mcpactions.com/ps-actions-video-tutorials

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    2. Thank you so much!

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  7. Hi, downloaded your Skin Fix, and it says it's not compatible with CS6. Would love to try it, I also have Elements 10.

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    1. I created it CS4 but it should work in CS6 and Elements. I read that there were issues with this until Adobe released an update in late August 2012.

      http://blogs.adobe.com/photoshopdotcom/2012/08/photoshop-cs6-13-0-1-update-now-available.html

      Here are MCP's help videos for Elements and Photoshop:
      • http://www.mcpactions.com/pse-actions-video-tutorials
      • http://www.mcpactions.com/ps-actions-video-tutorials

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  8. Thanks for sharing the action, hope to try it out tomorrow !!!
    Cheers,
    Bob

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  9. It's not compatible with Elements 10, just tried it :-(

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    1. What I have read says that CS4 actions are compatible with Elements although I have never used Elements so I wouldn't know where to start troubleshooting. I will give the steps that the actions go through so if anyone can't get it to work they can create their own...

      1. Flatten image
      2. Duplicate layer (Command+J)(PC: Control+J)
      3. Filter > Noise > Median (settings: Radius 11px)
      4. Duplicate layer (Command+J)(PC: Control+J)
      5. Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur (settings: Radius 13px)
      6. Create layer group/folder and move both new layers into that folder
      7. Select group/folder, create layer mask, invert mask (Command+I)(PC: Control+I)
      8. Change group/folder opacity to 70%
      9. Paint with white on layer mask where needed
      10. Change group/folder opacity if needed

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  10. Maybe I'm missing something here but I can't create a layer group/folder in Elements....I can link the duplicate layers together but can't edit them once linked. Anyone with Elements know how & if this can be done?

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  11. Beautiful edit! You are very talented! Thank you for sharing the skin fix. Do you have any idea how long you spent, start to finish? I get frustrated with the hours I spend behind the computer processing and was curious if it gets faster with more experience.

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    1. It took me about an hour and a half for everything. I totally agree that the amount of time it takes to edit can be very frustrating and over time I have gotten much quicker and now have a process that I've put into a checklist that will get me through a full session fairly quickly. Although out of every session I do have a small handful of favorites that I spend the most time on, anywhere from 10min to 1hr) but other than those the other images have maybe a minute at most spent on them. I would say one of the biggest time savers has been learning to very quickly cull the images and then rate them in Lightroom. Although rating images is one place where I was going terribly wrong spending so much time deciding what I should rate something... now i select a group of similar images and choose one or two of the best out of that group and rate them 1 star... and never go back.

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  12. Hi! Thank you for your wonderful gift! I have used it successfully for the last several weeks. This is my first time ever using an action in Photoshop CS6. After learning first how to get it into photoshop.. I learned how to use it. It has been amazing! I was doing everything the hard way, and have taught myself what I have needed to know about Photoshop to "get by". I have a question in dealing with this action. Not too take up too much of your time.. I just have no idea where else to get the answer I need. I have used this fine for the last several weeks.. no issues. Today I am retouching a series of photos from a session and using it, and all of a sudden I go thru all the motions... get to where you use the brush tool over their skin, and absolutely nothing is happening. I have everything set on what is supposed to be set at. I have absolutely no idea what I could have done... Do YOU? LOL I click on the action... all the right prompts come up... the brush is set at 40/60... it lets me move it all over... but nothing happens.. even after I flatten / merge the levels. Praying you or anyone reading this can help....

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    1. Usually when I come across this problem I have accidentally changed the opacity on my brush or it is not set on the right color (either black or white). When you have your brush selected press 0 (zero) and that will take your brush to 100%. Also just closing the file out, reopening and rerunning the action will sometimes get it to work. Try those and if you're still running into the problem let me know and I will do my best to help you figure it out.

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    2. Thanks for getting back to me. I tried these things, and still nothing. I have reopened , rebooted, deleted the file all together, and reloaded it. I am sorry to take up your time like this, and grateful for you trying to help.

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    3. Will you run the action and email a screenshot? (donnis@digitalcouture.org) I might possibly be able to tell by looking, maybe (fingers crossed).

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    4. Nothing on mine either however I ended up using the Eraser at 75% and it worked just fine! Just as the Brush did earlier!

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    5. If that is the case you should just have to switch your brush from black to white or visa versa. Either way I am so glad that it is working!

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  13. Heather Renee I have the exact same thing happen! I too use photoshop CS6 and loved this action I just used it this week and now today nothing I even tried to redownload it and still nothing for the brush tool!

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    1. Usually when I come across this problem I have accidentally changed the opacity on my brush or it is not set on the right color (either black or white). When you have your brush selected press 0 (zero) and that will take your brush to 100%. Also just closing the file out, reopening and rerunning the action will sometimes get it to work. Try those and if you're still running into the problem let me know and I will do my best to help you figure it out.

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    2. Nothing on mine either however I ended up using the Eraser at 75% and it worked just fine! Just as the Brush did earlier!

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    3. If that is the case you should just have to switch your brush from black to white or visa versa. Either way I am so glad that it is working!

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