I will get back to talking about painting soon, but first I am going to take a detour through the world of pre-press. Eventually I will tie the two together as I continue to describe my workflow. I have been super busy with several projects, and am looking forward to sharing.
Scripting a workflow
Actions are flexible in their simplicity and ease of use. The downside is that an action is a very linear process, as they only operate through the recorded steps in Photoshop.
To create an Action, open the actions window from the Windows menu. Along the bottom of the Actions window you can see the usual icons for creating a new item and an item folder. Additionally there are icons for recording, starting and stopping an action. By clicking the New Action icon, (looks like the new layer icon) and clicking record (the round icon) Photoshop will start recording the steps made. Clicking the Square icon will stop the recording, while clicking the play Icon will replay the sequence.
Actions are very handy if you have a lot of images to process in the same fashion, or if you have a complex process that is used often. I will also use actions as a rapid test bed to develop concepts and theories for my prepress work. I can also store ideas about processes I dream up. If you use Photoshop to get work done take a look at Actions. They are simple and fun, and quite powerful. Actions can be saved as action sets, or exported as Droplets. A droplet is a mini app that contains the actions and supports drag and drop for image files.
Using an existing script file in your workflow can be a major time saver. Photoshop comes with several useful scripts already installed.
To everyone who has provided feedback, comments and encouragement on the new scripts I want to say THANK YOU! You are making it happen! New tutorials are on their way.