Lights, camera + actions
How to use Adobe Photoshop actions is something that they don’t teach you much in school; it mainly falls under one of those “tool/tricks that you will pick up along the way.” This is especially true when you have trained in a “liberal arts” program where instead of learning the software, you get the privilege of spending half your credits fulfilling school requirements that keep accreditation rolling… But I digress.
I recently graduated college and got my first “real-world” graphic design job as a production artist for a company that makes arts and crafts supplies for major retail stores. In my case, the fancy “production artist” title translated to “guy that does the stuff others don’t have time (or desire) to do.” I received the task of color-correcting thousands of product photographs for the company website; they were shot poorly (more than likely) by another anonymous “production artist” who didn’t believe in the power of flash. I was given a sample of the products so I could see what they were supposed to look like, and I started to work in precision color corrections – I took my time, making sure I got each file just right. After a few hours worth of work I realized that I was working inefficiently and not even putting a dent on my growing pile of work. Because many of these pictures were taken the same day and under the same lighting conditions, I developed an action – a set of commands that you record and then play back on a single file or a batch; it is the best way to handle repetitive actions. Actions allow you to edit faster, to achieve stunning results, to share with others, and to share in the effects that others have figured out.
The attached link – 100 Free Photoshop Actions (And How to Make Your Own) is a valuable resource to learn how to use this valuable tool and to download some nifty techniques that others have created.