Action creating

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Creating an action in Photoshop


Actions can be great time savers, and are not difficult to create.  Basically, they are a sequence of actions that you trigger with one button press. This article will show you how to create your own, but you can also find them online and import them into your workflow.


I recently wrote an article on creating a clipping map and suggested that an action would help that process.  I’ll use that as an example for this short tutorial.


Note;  Much like a photograph you can edit actions but it is easier to get it right from the start so it’s a good idea to practice what you want to include before you start.  Actions include EVERY keypress you make but they do not include any pauses between the keystrokes.


By default, the Action tab is on the bottom right on the same level as the layers tab but if it is not visible you can open it via the menu; Window, then click Actions.


If you have not created an action before then start by clicking the folder icon to create a “New Set” (A set is Photoshop for folder in this case). Type in whatever name you like.  I use Pauls Actions. Next click the plus sign and you are recording the action.  It will ask you for a name for this set of instructions. I used; Show clipping. 


At the end of the sequence, you need to return to this tab and click the square “Stop” box to save the action so remember where it is.

Knowledge Image 1

When you later want to run this Action simply return to this tab, highlight the action you want to run and click the play icon (it looks like an arrow).

Now you just need to step through the sequence you want to save.  For the clipping map first click the layers tab then simply follow the instructions (including naming the layers, and the group).


As a quick reminder;


  • Create a solid (blue) colour layer, blend-if to 1, rename it.

  • Create a solid (red) colour layer, blend-if to 254, rename it.

  • Group them and rename the group


Now return to the Actions tab and click the square stop icon. Do not add the curves as described in that article as each image will need different corrections.  All we are doing here is to create a clipping map group.


Of course, this is a very simple Action to demonstrate how easy they are to create.  In real life, Actions can be quite long. If you want to take this concept further, of prefer learning visually, try this YouTube video.

Knowledge Image 2
Knowledge Image 3