Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Photoshop tips & tricks, for production (part 1)

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Importing render elements

Nowadays, using render elements have become part of the production process. As such, companies often find themselves having to come up with quick ways to help speed up the transition between 3ds max and Photoshop

The one technique that’s widely implemented by most companies to import render elements, is the “Load Files into Stack” script”.

The script essentially “does exactly what it says on the tin”, by simply collecting and stacking multiple files in one PSD document, whilst preserving each stacked file with its original name.

To use this script, simply go to the main Photoshop toolbar and click on the “File” button.
Choose the “Scripts” option from the dropdown list, followed by selecting the “Load Files into Stack” function. Its dialog should pop up. 

By default, its “Use” is set to “Files”. However, when all the relevant files are in one folder, it’s preferable to use the “Folder” option. 

To choose the “Folder”, simply click on the “Browse” button, followed by locating and selecting the relevant folder. 

If perchance the “Files” option is chosen, simply repeat the above mentioned steps, in addition to selecting all the relevant files inside its respective folder.

Creating PhotoShop Actions

During production, there are instances when users are required to apply identical image effects and/or edit transforms to multiple files. This operation can at times be tedious and time consuming.

Numerous companies tend to create Photoshop actions to help fast-track this process. For the purpose of this simple exercise, we’re emulating a basic string of actions.

To do so, simply do the following:

1- Open the relevant files in Photoshop. For this exercise, it’s also worth creating a brand new folder to save your new files into, as a precautionary measure.

Select the first file/document in Photoshop and Open the “Actions” dialog by pressing “Alt+F9” on your keyboard; or by simply clicking on the “Window” main toolbar and choosing the “Actions” function from the drop down list. 

2- Its dialog should pop up. To create a new action folder, simply click on its toggle on the top far right corner, and choose the “New Action” option from its drop down list. 

3-In the “New Action” dialog, rename it according to the actions you’re planning to execute.  The dialog also allows users to create a “Function Key” for the action/s.
The “Function Key” is an alternative shortcut to the “play selection” button.  Click “Record” to begin capturing your actions. 

4- As mentioned earlier, for this exercise we've simply recorded basic actions such as re-sizing the image/document, blurring, saving the file in a new folder, and closing it thereafter. However, feel free to record more/different actions.

Note how each action is being added orderly in the newly created “Resize, Filter & save as”” action folder. In addition, the record button is turned on/red.  

5-Once finished, simply click on the “Stop playing/recording” button to stop. 

6-To apply the previous actions to a new file/document, simply pick the relevant document, followed selecting the action folder in its dialog, and pressing the “Play selection” button.

Please note that, once a file/document is closed, Photoshop selects the next existing file/document automatically. Hence the “Close” action was also recorded in action folder. 

Photoshop actions can also be used for a variety of different purposes such as setting up PSD files/layers/adjustment layers, etc.   

I hope you've found the above tips useful.

Finally, the next article will focus in other commonly used techniques to help speed up your production workflow!