The Actions palette provides a video-friendly graphic user interface (GUI) for computer programming. Here’s some general advice to get results quickly.
- Brush strokes, cloning, and most manual tools from the toolbox do not work. There are several alternatives, such as using a Gradient Fill layer instead of the Gradient tool.
- To play a single step of an action, double-click on it.
- Change Your Mode. Button mode lets you launch actions quickly; it’s in the Actions palette’s submenu. You’ll need to disable it to get recording and editing features.
- Get Accelerated. Set the Playback Options from the Actions palette submenu to play back an action accelerated. Photoshop can process faster than it can redraw the screen.
- Be Batchful. You can choose File>Automate>Batch to run an action on an entire folder of images. You can batch multiple folders at once. Create aliases or shortcuts within one folder that point to the desired folders. Be sure to click the Include All Subfolders option.
- Be Safe. Back up your custom actions to two folders, the default location and a secondary backup. This way, a reinstall or upgrade won’t blow your custom actions away.
- Change Your Rulers. To create an action that will work on all files, you must record some commands with the rulers set to percentage.
- Size Specific. Use File>Automate>Fit Image to resize images for a specific height or width.
- Be Careful Where you click. Photoshop will record the names of layers as you select them. This may cause playback issues, because the action will look for specific names.
Use keyboard shortcuts to select layers and such so that the action won’t look for a specific name for that step.
- Choose layer above Option+] (Shift+Alt+])
- Choose layer below Option+[ (Alt+[)
- Choose top layer Shift+Option+] (Shift+Alt+])
- Choose bottom layer Shift+Option+[ (Shift+Alt+[)
You can also arrange layers with shortcuts.
- Move the current layer up the layer stack Cmd+] (Ctrl +])
- Move the current layer down the layer stack Cmd+[ (Ctrl +[)
- Move the current layer to the top Shift+Cmd+] (Shift+Ctrl+])
- Move the current layer to the bottom Shift+Cmd+[ (Shift+Ctrl+[)
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