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Photoshop actions book published (Al Ward)

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  • Photoshop actions book published (Al Ward)

    I just got my copy of Al Ward's Photoshop Productivity Toolkit: Over 600 Time-Saving Actions.

    Some of the actions on the CD were written by Mike Finn and yours truly, but the vast majority were crafted by master action writers Al Ward and Robert Anselmi from

    Based on example before/after images, many look very promising and cover the gamut: sharpening, color correction, color to b/w, duotones, tritones, quadtones, text effects, art effects, edges, frames, textures, patterns, cross-processing, backdrops, channel manipulation, path creation and manipulation, layer management, crop marks, contact sheets, picture package, apply image -- and MORE.

    In addition to the action files the CD also contains brush sets, custom shapes, layer styles, patterns and a few tutorials in .pdf format.

    If I ever finish exploring the actions, I look forward to reading the text. I know I'll learn even more about actions, droplets, batch processing and, through action dissection, Photoshop functions.

    This book is now shipping from Amazon.

    BTW: If you do get this book and put to use even 1/3 of the actions on it, to preserve your sanity I would highly recommend a serious look into the ActionDex actions management utility. See
    Last edited by DannyRaphael; 02-08-2011, 04:39 PM. Reason: fix link, update content

  • #2
    It looks great that it covers some topics that i havnt seen covered anywere else. Like some reviewer tell that he shows how to turn actions into text. I do however fear its outdatet now that we have gotten the use of scripts. Also if you already is familiar with actions and know how to put it to good use, im not sure there is much to learn.
    Please post back if you think im wrong



    • #3
      Originally posted by Lasse
      It looks great that it covers some topics that i havnt seen covered anywere else.
      Until March, 2006, it was the only book on Photoshop actions only. (see below)

      For the most complete coverage on actions I know of, see "Photoshop Actions - The Mother of All Tutorials" at (downloads).

      Like some reviewer tell that he shows how to turn actions into text.
      This is a fairly well known process:
      * Click on [highlight] any Action Set (action folder)
      * While holding down Alt and Ctrl, choose Save actions... from the Actions Palette Menu.

      This will allow you to save the entire contents of the Actions Palette in .txt format. It's all or nothing. You get all actions. There is no way to limit the .txt file content.

      I do however fear it is outdated now that we have gotten the use of scripts. Also if you already is familiar with actions and know how to put it to good use, im not sure there is much to learn.
      Actions capabilities, and how to write them have not changed since this book was published, so the content is still relevant. From an actions perspective the content is not out of date.

      Whether or not there is much to learn depends on ones action knowledge and skills. That said, the content would be most useful to one whose action skills are in the beginner to intermediate range. By what you wrote, it may not be that useful to you.

      Important: As of April 2006 this book is selling "used" (in the U.S.) for about 15% of its original price, so do not pay "new" prices.

      What has changed since the book was published is the introduction of new automation capabilities, namely:
      * Scripting, which is slightly different with each version of Photoshop, that is, a script that works in PS7 may not work in CS2
      * The ability of scripts to play actions and actions to play scripts
      * Bridge, introduced with CS2 which replaced File Browser, and from which scripts, actions and batch processes can be initiated
      * CS2: Events Manager, which allows one to initiate a script (or action) based on an event, such as File Open, File Close, Application Open, etc.
      * CS2: Image Processor, which provides an alternative to the Batch command


      NEW: April 2006

      You might want to look into

      The Photoshop CS2 Speed Clinic – Automating Photoshop to get Twice the Work Done in Half the Time, Matt Kloskowski, 2006. ISBN: 0321441656

      This book not only covers actions, droplets, batch processing and tips for writing “smarter” actions, it addresses how Bridge fits into the automation picture, makes suggestions on when to initiate automation via Bridge and when to initiate automation via Photoshop, speeding up the RAW processing workflow, Smart Objects, Image Processor, Automate menu commands Conditional Mode Change, Web Photo Gallery, Contact Sheet II, Crop and Straighten Photos, PDF Presentation and Photo Merge, Windows’ settings to enable Photoshop to utilize up to 3GB of RAM and includes a very good overview of scripting in Photoshop using JavaScript.

      In my opinion it could have included more content on actions and batch processing in terms of tips, tricks and warnings, but the author was no doubt limited by the publisher. Although I noticed a few minor technical errors, overall I was impressed. This would be a good book for anyone just getting into CS2/Bridge.

      It does not teach scripting, but does include some samples.

      I hope this helps.



      • #4
        Thanks for the in depth reply

        I have for about one hour ago ordered the speed book, along with the lab book, masking and compositing and the javascript reference guide.

        My hope is the speed book can give me a little help on starting scripting. Along with this forum and the scripting forum im sure i will get a grip at it before cs3 comes out

        I dont see actions as advanced, but that be my lack of knowlede. If you have a complex action i would love to see it. I mostly do retouch in photoshop so i more or less use actions to generate layers and edit filetypes (plus adding watermark when needed).

        Once i get good at scripting i might be able to automate more. Right now i do use the event manager a little but im sure some of you out there use it way more effectivly than me. It could be an interessting topic to see how its put to use

        Again thanks for your reply.



        • #5
          Originally posted by Lasse
          Thanks for the in depth reply
          My pleasure. Glad to help when I can.

          Masking and Compositing is excellent. I highly recommend it too.

          re: CS3
          According to the Adobe CEO, he said to look for CS3 around June 2007, so you have a little time.

          I agree that compared to scripting capabilities, actions are not really advanced: linear execution, no branching, no logic, no mathematical calculations, limited to what they can do.

          "Long" (many step) actions can be complicated (difficult to understand) due to the number of steps. Actions that call (play) other actions can be difficult to follow too. For most retouch situations actions do not usually need many steps.

          If you haven't visited, I highly recommend it. It is an excellent resource. Did you know you can write scripts for Bridge, too?

 is a good resource for script examples, too.

          Good luck on the JavaScript learning. (I'm just a beginner, myself.)



          • #6
            Yeah i know about the expectet relase time, thats why i hope i can make it

            I already have some scripts in mind ill tjeck out if i can make at some point. hopefully thhis year
            i did tjeck both studio share and the script forum out before to see if anybody have writen and shared them, but no it seems not.

            Yeah i know about bride, but im holding off since lightroom will be out for windows sometime and for me might replace bridge. also i use portfolio so im rarely in bridge.
            I belive lightroom will be scriptable too (i think they told that at the lightroom podcast). And im looking forward to martin evenings book about it too.

            Right now im like a kid before christmas just sitting around knowing good things will happen for me :p
            the books to come and the software to be release sometime this year hopefully



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