Illustrations/Digital Models: Chaos Incarnate's Building Actions/Macros with Adobe Photoshop

Discussion in 'Tutorials and How Tos' started by Chaos Incarnate, Jul 19, 2008.

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  1. Chaos Incarnate

    Chaos Incarnate Not just a name.

    Nov 24, 2003
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    Building Actions/Macros

    This is an EXTREMELY useful trick, one which will save you so much time it's not even funny.

    Now, all of us deal with repetitive actions when we build comics. Probably the most common one for all of us is speech bubbles, but there are other things, such as resizing, applying sets of filters, or automating effects, that we do them, but we just want to, I dunno, build a robot or something to do it for us. Well, it just so happens that the folks at Adobe built such a robot right into Photoshop!

    To start off, we need to open our picture. Today, I just pulled a recent picture off my HDD, Saber, from my Figma Saber review. Open the Actions Palette, which can be found under the Windows menu.


    This will bring up the Actions Palette, which was probably right under your nose, shared with the History Palette.


    It's important to realize that not everything can be automated. Some things that can be automated (if you try) won't turn out the way you [would] expect. Also, it's very helpful to be very familiar with the action you want to automate. Today, I'm am going to show you how to build an Action to automate speech bubbles. I can't automate the text, and since the text isn't always the same size and in the same place, I need to make the selection as well. Once I have that selection made, I'm going to select the layer below the text layer, so that my speech bubble doesn't cover the text.

    Now, I'm ready to start recording an Action. I'm going to select a Hotkey for this action as well. The Hotkey I select from a list. I'm using F10, without using Ctrl or Shift.


    Now, sadly, I couldn't take screen-shots while recording the Action, because then when I played it later, it would be doing screen-shots and new files and all the jazz. So after I made the Action, I expanded it to show you what steps I took.


    An Action should be made to work at any point, so my first step was to make a new layer. New layers always go on top of the current layer, which is why I selected the layer beneath the text layer, so now my speech bubble is right under the text. Next, I hit 'D' to revert the colors to default. I know they were at default already, but if I were working with some other color, like pink, and I didn't add this step, then when I made bubbles they'd all be pink.

    Next, I exchanged swatches, so that white was my foreground color. I selected my Paint Bucket tool, and clicked to fill the selection. It doesn't matter where you click the Paint bucket tool, because as long as you have a selection, it will only fill that selection. Next, I went to the Layer Styles and added my outline and hit okay. Then I deselected and restored the swatches to default.

    Now, with this set up the way it is, any time you have a selection, you can hit F10 and automatically turn that selection into a speech bubble.

    You can also use the Actions to automate filters and effects. For anyone familiar with my comic, for one dream sequence, I wanted a dark, gritty, horror film look. I applied a clouds filter, fiber filter, grain filter, changed the blending modes, and applied an adjustment layer to darken and desaturate the picture. A lot of work, but when I made my Action, I could do it in one click.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2010
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