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Reproducing a result, aka: How did I DO "That"?

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  • Reproducing a result, aka: How did I DO "That"?

    As I was exploring "Photo-Based Art" methods, every once in awhile I'd come up with a result I actually LIKED.

    Too often though, en route to visual success, I'd lose track of (or completely neglect) recording steps taken, filters applied, what sequence, what settings, etc. -- and it would be nearly impossible to recreate "effect A" on image "B."

    In another thread where I posted the "how I did this steps," Blacknight asked "How do you keep track of how I did what?"

    Though I don't do it every single time, something I do more often than not is to "name" layers with enough information that I can look back in a few days/weeks/months, review the layers palette and understand how I got from this layer to the next.

    Over time I've begun using common abbreviations, e.g., USM=Unsharp Mask, CP=colored pencil, AS=angled strokes, D&S=dust and scratches, DESAT=desaturate, etc. Whatever works for you.

    My other rule of thumb that I generally follow is to make only one change at a time per layer.

    This can result in a lot of layers and, as an image progresses, I'll combine some via "merge visible" or "merge down."

    For the purpose of illustration here's an example of what the layer names might look like using a ficticious recipe. (Don't try this recipe at home!)

    G=A (80%, multiply)
    -----[copy of the original layer]
    -----[Levels adjustment layer]
    -----[Gaussian blur, radius=3 applied to a D layer copy]
    -----[Unsharp mask applied 3 times with setting of 200, 3, 4]
    -----[Copy the B layer and apply the Noise)
    -----[Merge layers B & A]
    -----[Punch up color with a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer]
    -----[Apply the Dust and Scratches filter]

    New PS7 feature - another possibility?

    I believe I read somewhere that PS7 now has a "notes" function, that can be used to annotate layers? Could someone expound on that?


    How do YOU do it? I'll bet pros like Vikki, DJ and Jak have stellar methods! Doesn't have to be "just for arty" images.

    What say you?

    Last edited by DannyRaphael; 07-20-2002, 11:54 PM.

  • #2
    Excellent thread Danny and a method I never even considered. I usually kept my layer names short but that's a fantastic idea.

    A method I tried once was recording a new action. It can get quite lengthy doing it that way and I couldn't seem to save it as a text file as I heard you could. Also I couldn't copy and paste info out of it so it wasn't that great. What was good about it though was you didn't have to write anything down yourself. Need to work on that one more. I'm not a real actions wizard. Wonder if I could just change the atn ending to a txt ending??? Anyone know how to copy these things to text?

    PS 7 does have the annotation tool and that is great. You just click on it like anyother tool and list your steps as you go along. It's saved with your image file as a little yellow box in the corner or where ever you put it. To add to it you just bring it up again by clicking on the icon in the image. I have used that and found it to be very useful. Not only for challenges but for other things as well. I may get an idea but can't implement it at the time so I will add a note.


    • #3
      Very excellent thread, Danny.

      Interesting idea about naming my layers. I may try that. I am not a huge fan of lots of layers though, so I'm not sure how that one would work for me. I may just give it a try to see if it might be easier than what I already do.

      What I do is really pretty "hi-tech"...

      I keep notepad open and write down everything I do AS I do it.

      That's all. Kinda dissapointing, huh?

      I do sometimes copy the text from notepad and put it in the notes file for the image. I have PS v5.5, and you can make notes by right clicking the colored bar at the top of your image and choosing File Info. It says caption, but I use it to keep notes in.


      • #4
        Recording Settings

        Don't know about you guys, but AH is one lazy ( old guys are allowed to be ) dude!

        To save writing down settings when working on an image, try recording them on a mini-cassette recorder as you go along...saves on paper and writers cramp.

        All said and done, it's easy to transcribe afterwords if the image works out...if not, just erase it.



        • #5
          Instead of using a taperecorder you could be more daring and have a go with the annote tool - it also takes audio notes from within Photoshop


          • #6
            To answer the Photoshop 6 or higher specific questions...

            The notes annotation tool is not layer specific, but simply places a 'sticky note' which contains text.

            To save an action as a text file - hold down ctrl/shift/alt on v7 in win98 and select the save action command from the actions palette options menu (probably cmd/shift/opt for Mac). Instead of the .atn file you should get a .txt or perhaps a simpletext file on the Mac instead of the regular .atn action.

            This text file will list the steps in the action - but the file has not use that I know of inside Photoshop (there is no actions editor type function for the text file to turn in back into an action). This seems just for inspection.

            An edited sample of the simple Stair Interpolation action from Fred Miranda ( is shown below to illustrate:

            Set: SI

            Action: _______________________________

            Action: 1.5x full image
            Image Size
            Width: 110%
            With Constrain Proportions
            Interpolation: bicubic
            Image Size
            Height: 110%
            With Constrain Proportions
            Interpolation: bicubic
            Image Size
            Width: 110%
            With Constrain Proportions
            Interpolation: bicubic
            Image Size
            Width: 110%
            With Constrain Proportions
            Interpolation: bicubic

            Action: 2.0x full image
            Play action “1.5x full image” of set “SI”
            Play action “1.5x full image” of set “SI”


            Stephen Marsh.


            • #7
              An old trick gained from the Photoshop WOW books was to duplicate a large layered file that you had to flatten or merge down - then to resample this duped layered file down to a small size/resolution. This way you could still inspect the layers and interactions at a later date if you did have to flatten down or whatever.

              Stephen Marsh.


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