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Creating Your Own Action

Once you’re familiar with the process of loading and playing actions, you’re ready to create an action of your own. To do this, open an image to work with and step slowly through the process that you want to record, making sure that you understand exactly what you want to do and the order in which you’ll do it. It might help to make notes of the steps if there are more than a few.

Let’s consider the situation where you want to apply a filter to an image and then sharpen the image to get a more interesting effect. The next few sections show the steps to record such an action.

Step 1: Create Your Own Action Set

Make sure that you have the image open and selected in front of you and that the Actions palette is visible. From the Actions palette menu, choose New Set to create your own action set—this makes it easier to manage your own actions. Give the action set a name such as My Personal Actions (see Figure 7). Click OK to create this action set.

Figure 7

Figure 7 For easier management, create an action set in which to store your actions.

Step 2: Create a New Action

From the Actions palette menu, choose New Action and type the name for this action. For this example, call the new action Artistic Effect. Make sure that the new action is being stored in your new action set and then click the Record button (see Figure 8). From this point on, any steps that you perform will be recorded.

Figure 8

Figure 8 To create a new action, you must give it a name and indicate an action set in which to store it.

Step 3: Step Through the Commands To Record

As the commands for our example, start by choosing Filter > Artistic > Rough Pastels. Set the stroke length and detail to the maximum amount, set the texture to canvas, and select a scaling and relief that look attractive to you. Click OK to apply this filter to your image. Now, to over-sharpen the image, choose Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask. Set the Radius to a mid-high value, such as 30; set the Amount to a similar high value, such as 150; and set the Threshold very low, such as 1 or 2. This technique will give you an interesting high-color artistic effect on your image, as shown in Figure 9. Click OK.

Figure 9

Figure 9 This simple action applies a filter and then over-sharpens the image to create a painterly result.

Step 4: Stop Recording and Test the Action

Now that the steps are complete, click the Stop Playing/Recording button at the foot of the Actions palette. You can now try the action on another image. To do this, open another image, click the Artistic Effect action in the Actions palette, and click the Play Selection button. Watch as the action plays on your image—the values for the filter and Unsharp Mask are stored in the action, so these values will be applied even if the values in either of the dialog boxes has since changed.

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