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Actions problems

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  #1  
Old 05-31-2012, 02:15 PM
CKAJCA CKAJCA is offline
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Actions problems

I understand how to create basic actions and have done so successfully. My problems start when I run my actions on anything other than the Background layer. I know my problem is because my actions are referring to the name Background and if I run them against any other layer with a different name the action fails. How do I overcome this problem. An idiots guide with a simple example would be much appreciated.
Colin
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Old 05-31-2012, 03:11 PM
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0lBaldy 0lBaldy is offline
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Re: Actions problems

Zip file... Danny Raphael's Mother of All Tutorials on Photoshop® Actions. found at atncentral
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Old 05-31-2012, 04:29 PM
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Re: Actions problems

I have often been frustrated by exactly the problem CKAJCA has outlined and I suspect others have too. I can't even look at "The Mother of All Tutorials" when a simple sentence explanation is all that is required. I don't want to learn actions, I want to use 'em. Isn't that the whole point.
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Old 05-31-2012, 10:23 PM
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ratpat13 ratpat13 is offline
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Re: Actions problems

Trouble shoot action problems can be difficult and if your new to it involves a lot of trial and error. Not sure what you mean by "referring to background" in relationship to your problem (it can mean a lot of things).

If you can tell us what your trying to do that may make it clear.

Off the top of my head one issue you might be having is selecting the background layer while recording. You can select the background layer before you start recording and then perform whatever steps you want. If the action requires a specific layer then that layer needs to be present for the action to work, so it is often easier to just have the action create the layer you need to refer to for the rest of the action to work.

Also setting options through menus can help avoid recording steps in you action that refer to layers that might not be there later.

I use dozens of actions in my workflow (with a custom panel to hold them) so if you want to try and describe your steps maybe we can help.
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Old 06-01-2012, 02:27 AM
CKAJCA CKAJCA is offline
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Re: Actions problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by ratpat13 View Post
Trouble shoot action problems can be difficult and if your new to it involves a lot of trial and error. Not sure what you mean by "referring to background" in relationship to your problem (it can mean a lot of things).

If you can tell us what your trying to do that may make it clear.

Off the top of my head one issue you might be having is selecting the background layer while recording. You can select the background layer before you start recording and then perform whatever steps you want. If the action requires a specific layer then that layer needs to be present for the action to work, so it is often easier to just have the action create the layer you need to refer to for the rest of the action to work.

Also setting options through menus can help avoid recording steps in you action that refer to layers that might not be there later.

I use dozens of actions in my workflow (with a custom panel to hold them) so if you want to try and describe your steps maybe we can help.
The main action I use often is Frequency Separation. It runs perfectly if I use it on the Background but fails everytime I use it when there are layers above the Background layer. I think this happens because in the action the first step I am doing is duplicating the Background layer twice and then renaming the two new layers to Low and High Frequency
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Old 06-01-2012, 03:11 AM
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Re: Actions problems

Oh Ok, That should be an easy fix. I'll respond in one moment.
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  #7  
Old 06-01-2012, 03:28 AM
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Re: Actions problems

so if your needing to run a fs action to a document with existing layers in your layer stack then instead of starting the action by creating two copies of the background we need a layer with a merged copy of all the layers bellow (a merge visible on a new layer) this can be accomplished by the keyboard commend (all at the same time Shift>Option/Alt>Command>N>E) or going up to the Layer menu and clicking on "Merge Visible" while holding down option/alt. That will create a new layer at the top of the stack with a merged copy of all the layers beneath it. You can then label that layer something relevant (and that isn't something that would normally already be there) like "Low" and then duplicate that layer and name it for the High frequency.

This would avoid the conflict on needing any particular layer to start with. Though for workflow it is probably a good rule of thumb to do your FS near the beginning.

On extra step to do before the merge visible is to go the "Select" menu Menus>All Layers, and then do the Shift>Option/Alt>N>E. The select all layer will help make sure that when you do the merge visible it will happen at the top of the layer stack even if you run the action when you have any a layer selected in the middle of your stack.

So the Action Steps would be:

1. menu: Select> All Layers
2. menu: Layer> (hold down Option/Alt) Merge Visible
3. rename the new layer "Low Frequency"
4. Duplicate low "Low Frequency"
5. Rename "Low Frequency copy" to "High Frequency"
6. Continue with normal steps.

I hope that helps.
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Old 06-01-2012, 03:38 AM
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Re: Actions problems

I've attached a copy of the actions for an 8bit and 16bit FS that is independent of the background layer. You can use it or use it to help you put together your own.
Attached Files
File Type: zip Patrick's Frequency separation.atn.zip (1.2 KB, 4 views)
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  #9  
Old 06-01-2012, 03:59 AM
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Re: Actions problems

Ok so i noticed some problems with the steps in the action. The chief among them that if you wanted to use the action on a document without layers then the action wont run because the first step "Select All Layers" isn't available since there are not layers. Doing the "Merge Visible" while holding down Option/Alt also isn't an option when there are no layers so you will need to do it by Keyboard command (all keys at the same time Shift>Option/Alt>Command>N>E)

To make sure the frequency separation layers end up at the top of your layer stack in the end, I would select the "Low Frequency" layer and go menu: Layer>Arrange>Bring to Front. Then continue with the rest of the steps.

1. holding all keys | Shift>Option/Alt>Command>N>E
2. rename the new layer "Low Frequency"
3. menu: Layer> Arrange>Bring to Front
4. Duplicate low "Low Frequency"
5. Rename "Low Frequency copy" to "High Frequency"
6. Continue with normal steps.

I've attached an updated sets of action with this fix.
Attached Files
File Type: zip Patrick's Frequency Separation.atn.zip (1.3 KB, 13 views)
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  #10  
Old 06-01-2012, 05:16 AM
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Flora Flora is offline
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Re: Actions problems

Hi!

I just gave the answer to this problem on another Thread.

The 'specific' names given to the Layers can be a big pain when writing actions!

I found the solution following the tips below from Julieanne Kost's blog found here ...

By using the following keyboard shortcuts to select the layers, as long as the starting point for the action is a full Layer (not an adjustment Layer or a masked Layer) ... independently of its name, your action will run smoothly!

Quote:
Note: these shortcuts are essential when recording actions as they help to select layers, but do not record the specific “name” of the layer in the action.

  • Option (Mac) / Alt (Win) + "[" targets the layer below the currently targeted layer.


  • Option (Mac) / Alt (Win) + "]" targets the layer above the currently targeted layer.


  • Option (Mac) / Alt (Win) +Shift + “] “or + “[“ adds the next layer up or down to the targeted layer(s)

(note when you get to the top or bottom of the layer stack, Photoshop will “wrap around” to continue adding/subtracting layers).

  • Option (Mac) / Alt (Win) + “,“ or “.” targets the bottom/top -most layer.


  • Option (Mac) / Alt (Win) + Shift + “,“ or “.” targets all layers that fall between the currently targeted layer to the top or bottom of the layer stack.
Among many others (some very useful for action writing) , all these shortcuts are also listed here

TIP:
The Keyboard shortcuts work only if all the Layers in the stack of the action are 'visible' ... That created a light problem with the Frequency Separation actions I wrote because, personally, I like to have an overall view of the 'blurring' in the LOW layer .. Not possible as long as the High Layer is visible on top of it ...
My workaround for this in the action is:
  • Keeping its visibility on, turn the Opacity of the HIGH Layer to 0%
  • Blur the LOW Layer (with an overall view of it)
  • Turn back the Opacity of the HIGH Layer to 100% and continue with the Apply Image step.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by Flora; 06-01-2012 at 05:34 AM.
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