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Useful Actions

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  #1  
Old 11-08-2011, 06:54 AM
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Chain Chain is offline
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Thumbs up Useful Actions

Hi

I just got around to making two action sets that people might find useful. I included many that I enjoy, and a few extra that I remember seeing people want at some point (you can remove actions you do not need, and organize them however you want).
The actions are aimed at advanced users.
Masks (direct download)
• Edge mask for hires images (thick edges)
• Edge mask for lowres images (thin edges)
• Luminosity and saturation masks
• Shadow/midtone/highlight masks
(Run the Read Me action first)

Special Layers (direct download)
• Makes a layers showing Saturation/Color/Luminosity
• Creates different separations (Frequency/RGB/CMY/Lum+Color)
• Noise/Grain layer, sharpen layers, band stop layers
• Solar Curves for quality control of low-contrast areas/gradients
(Run the Read Me action first)
If you have trouble understanding some of the actions (e.g. you might not know what a "band stop" layer does) just ask here.

Compatibility:
For 8 and 16-bit RGB images (other color modes and bit depths might fail or create unpredictable results). Created for Photoshop CS5, but I expect them to work with older versions back to CS2 (in older versions actions that rely on adjustment layers will fail). They should work with layered documents (at least if run from the top layer). If you have a foreign language version of Photoshop please report back if something breaks (I have tried to avoid potential problems but have no way to test it).

License:
Free for personal and commercial use.
If you use the actions as part of your own action sets, please include credit if you are sharing them.
Do not redistribute or sell the actions (link back here instead).
Attached Images
File Type: png Screen shot 2011-11-08 at 13.29.09.png (20.3 KB, 104 views)
File Type: png Screen shot 2011-11-08 at 13.29.23.png (40.9 KB, 78 views)
Attached Files
File Type: zip Masks & special layers.zip (6.0 KB, 195 views)

Last edited by Chain; 11-11-2011 at 03:21 PM.
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  #2  
Old 11-08-2011, 07:05 AM
chet webley chet webley is offline
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Re: Useful Actions

Hey, that's sweet Chain - Thanks
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  #3  
Old 11-08-2011, 07:14 AM
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Chain Chain is offline
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Re: Useful Actions

Tips:
  • Edge masks are very useful on sharpen layers.
  • Edge masks can be inverted to get surface masks (useful for Noise Reduction).
  • You can apply non-destructive feather (blur) to masks from the Mask Panel (quite useful for luminosity/shadow/midtone/highlight maks).
  • You can apply several separate masks to a layer by nesting it within groups (each group may have a mask).
  • Use "Band Stop" to smooth out skin quickly, but use "Frequency separation" to work on the components manually for a much slower but potentially superior result.
  • Use the (slower) Surface Blur variations of the Band Stop and Frequency separations to reduce bleed from edges.
  • Invert a "Band Stop" layer to enhance certain frequencies.
  • Use a luminosity mask with the Noise/Grain layer to vary the amount of noise in highlights/shadows. Also try Linear light/Soft Light blend modes.
  • Use several noise layers with different blur radius for a more varied noise.
  • Solar Curves are useful when working on low-contrast areas and smooth gradients to better see uneven areas.

Last edited by Chain; 11-08-2011 at 07:32 AM.
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  #4  
Old 11-08-2011, 11:07 AM
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shift studio shift studio is offline
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Re: Useful Actions

very nice, and very generous with your time (and expertise)!

--shift studio.
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  #5  
Old 11-08-2011, 11:13 AM
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amica999 amica999 is offline
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Re: Useful Actions

Thanks, Chain, very generous :-)
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  #6  
Old 11-11-2011, 12:00 AM
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Stroker Stroker is offline
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Re: Useful Actions

Your Special Layers v1 intrigued me. I have more than a few tutorials detailing how to do some of those things. It is good to see that some of those ideas (mine or otherwise) are still floating around in someone's brain.

I am PS CS2 and I took your Special Layers for a quick spin. I took a quick look at only a small handful of them. The only one, so far, that didn't work for me is Luminosity. Apparently CS2 doesn't have the kind of Adj Layers needed. The way I extract Lum information as PS uses it is as follows:

Edit > Fill
Use: Black, White, or 50% Gray
Mode: Saturation
Opacity: 100%
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Old 11-11-2011, 05:33 AM
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Chain Chain is offline
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Newbie Re: Useful Actions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stroker View Post
The only one, so far, that didn't work for me is Luminosity. Apparently CS2 doesn't have the kind of Adj Layers needed.
Ah, yes. I used a Black & White adjustment layer for that one (as it is great as a starting point if you want to tweak it for a black and white conversion). I forgot that that adj. layer didn't exist back in CS2.
Hmm... I think I won't bother to update the action set for that only, hopefully the CS2 users will be able to work around it.

The way you describe will work well in all versions (personally i use a Solid Color adjustment layer, 50% gray, and Color Blend mode – identical result).
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Old 11-11-2011, 06:13 AM
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Der_W Der_W is offline
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Re: Useful Actions

Great actions, thanks for sharing
I have my own though, so I don't need them, but it's nevertheless very generous of you :-).

The direct download links seem to be swapped.

If I were you, I'd update the luminosity action, the black & white adj. layer doesn't create a 100% accurate representation of the luminosity and isn't available in CS2 and earlier versions (whereas blending with gray in "Color" mode is both, 100% accurate and more compatible).
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Old 11-11-2011, 03:42 PM
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Chain Chain is offline
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Thumbs up Re: Useful Actions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Der_W View Post
The direct download links seem to be swapped.
Fixed it now

Quote:
Originally Posted by Der_W View Post
If I were you, I'd update the luminosity action, the black & white adj. layer doesn't create a 100% accurate representation of the luminosity and isn't available in CS2 and earlier versions (whereas blending with gray in "Color" mode is both, 100% accurate and more compatible).
If I update the actions I will make it CS2-compatible. Ps: The B&W layer is also more memory hungry - possibly an issue for those on slow systems...
However, it IS actually accurate, due to the specific values used in the adjustment (I do not use the default adjustment). Have a look! On an 8-bit test image with extreme variations in hue/satuarion/luminosity I get a maximum 1-bit difference between the adjustment layer and a gray blended layer - I'm assuming due to rounding errors (what method is more accurate I cannot tell unless I start doing manual calculations, but that is a bit pointless).
The exact values to use were figured out by this guy (recommended read). He does a good job explaining the values chosen (he also have numbers to use for the channel mixer to get the same result).

The idea is that the B&W adjustment layer gives the best control for a B&W conversion (in a single adjustment), and these default values gives you a good starting point that is the original "luminosity" of the image. I found this more useful than a blended gray layer that is more limited in what you can use it for if you want to tweak the effect (although you can still do this with underlying colour adjustments).
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  #10  
Old 11-11-2011, 05:18 PM
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Der_W Der_W is offline
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Re: Useful Actions

I didn't say it wasn't accurate at all. Just that it's not 100% accurate, while the blended gray layer is.

I prepared this test image for you to check it yourself (this is just a holiday snapshot so nothing extraordinary) and while the difference is less than you'd ever notice on a regular image, I don't know, why I'd prefer this (plus the compatibility issues) over the 100% accurate method (which is btw. not simply 30% red, 59% green and 11% blue, but rather 29.9% red, 58.7% green and 11.4% blue. Yes, the difference is negligible, but I still see no reason why not to use the accurate technique).
To see it, either turn on the black & white adj. layer or the brightness/contrast adj. layer, not both at a time.
Download the file here: http://www.sendspace.com/file/bzpofi

If the whole problem is that you can't change the blend mode of the gray color layer, why not just clip it to a brightness/contrast adj. layer and change it's blend mode instead?


I'll check the link out, thanks for it :-)!
Btw. this technique here: http://zumbariretouching.blogspot.co...kin-fixer.html is pretty much overcomplicated. Instead of using Gaussian blur and Apply Image, he could just use the high pass filter and invert the image.
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