Tutorial Tuesday | How to Create Actions in PS or PSE (Video)

Create Actions in PS and PSE

I don’t know about you, but my time to scrap is sometimes limited. When I’m busy with work, family and life in general, I want to optimize my scrapping time and I prefer to spend it actually scrapping than doing repetitive tasks like resizing layouts (LOs), retouching photos, etc.

In Photoshop (PS) and Photoshop Elements (PSE), there is an amazing tool to help with that: actions. If I’m correct, something similar exists in Paint Shop Pro (scripts) and maybe even in Gimp (macros?).

What is an action? It’s a record of various steps from a process that you can then play and replay whenever you need the exact same process. Let’s use the example of saving your LOs for TDP’s gallery. To do so, you first need to resize your LO to 900 pix wide. Then, you might add some sharpening and maybe some color enhancements to make it pop. Finally, you’ll need to save for web in the file of your choice, at a maximum size of 350kb. Rather than doing all those steps “by hand” for each of your TDP LOs, why not create an action that will automatically perform those tasks just as you like them?

How do you create an action? I’ll show you the process in PS CS6 but it works the same way in other versions of PS or in PSE (ETA: unfortunately you can only load and edit actions in PSE, not create you own! Sorry about my mistake!).

  1. Think about the steps of your process to know in advance what you’ll need to record and in what order. You can correct the mistakes done while recording your action, but it’s easier if you don’t record them in the first place! Don’t forget to think if you want to duplicate the file to start with (so that you don’t risk overwriting the original one), to close the file once you are done, where you want to save it, etc.
  2. Open your actions panel by using Alt+F9 or in the menus: Window -> Actions
  3. Create a new actions folder (by clicking on the folder icon in the actions panel) for your homemade actions and name it. You’ll get addicted, trust me, and you’ll create more and more actions to simplify your life, so get ready to store them all in one place!
  4. Create a new action and name it. It will automatically start recording, as the red dot indicates. All you do now will be recorded in this new action. If you don’t want to start recording right now, just click on the square to stop recording, the red dot will turn gray again.
  5. Perform all the tasks you defined in step one, in the correct order. The action will record everything you did and you will be able to see each step as a new line in the action panel.
  6. Once you’re done, press the square to stop recording. Your action is now ready to be played over and over again and to make you save some precious scrapping time! Woo hoo! Don’t forget to save your actions’ folder as it would be too bad to lose them!

Here’s a video showing how I recorded my “resize and save for TDP” action (Click on the image below to view in YouTube.):

Create Actions in PS and PSE

Let us know if you’re interested to learn more about actions, I’d be happy to do a follow-up post on how to personalize and tweak them further!


ChloéAbout the author  Chloé is in charge of PR and communication for her small town by day, is a digiscrapper “by night” and a photographer whenever the light is beautiful. She lives with her man and fur-babies in a small town of Alsace (in the northeast of France), where she loves to read, watch good TV shows (TWD being her absolute favorite), and just hang out with her friends — no matter if they are close by, online, or away in her Swiss hometown

Renew Your Love (and Motivation) for Long-Term Projects

Renew Your Love (and Motivation) for Long-Term Projects

We scrappers usually love long term projects. They bring this comforting feeling that come with routine and habits, without mentioning the joy of recording those memories… but they can also be challenging at times!

These sorts of projects come in all shapes and forms:

  • Everyday/Photogaphy-Centered Projects: pocket-scrapping (Project Life); Project 365 (P365; one photo a day); Project 52 (P52; one photo a week); Project 12 (P12; one photo a month). For example, here’s a look at my last layout from my P365 project in 2015:

  • Themed Projects: All About Me (AAM; one page a week or month about yourself… with the mandatory selfie, of course!); “letter to my kid(s)” (or any other loved one); a year of _____ (fill in the blank; it could be about a hobby, about your pet, or about anything that you’re passionate about!); monthly resolutions-check up layouts; words of the month throughout the year, etc. This year, for instance, I plan to do such a page every month (in addition to my P365-ish) that contains a look at what happened, how I felt, how I progressed on my goals / resolutions, new things I learned, things that worked or didn’t work, etc. I think this will make for a great album! I haven’t started yet, but I found this gorgeous page by TDP creative team member Sabrina, which I found to be totally inspiring:

  • Technique-Centered Projects: these would be about one technique or scrapping style, like Art Journaling layouts, ATCs, journaling-focused layouts, trying a new technique every month or week, hybrid projects, etc.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably started and stopped those projects many times over the years. For instance, you might have started an annual album — but now you have an unfinished pocket-style scrapbook project that is making you feel guilty. Well, first of all, please stop feeling guilty… right now! Even if you only have one page done, it’s one more page than nothing. It is still a documented memory! Put it in your book. And rather than focusing on the memories you “missed,” focus instead on the ones you did record. That is already amazing — and there’s no such thing as “failing” in memory-keeping!

I’ve completed everyday-type projects every year since 2011, and here are some tips that have helped me get through each of them:

  1. Knowing WHY I am doing the projects. When I’m clear about my motivations, it’s easier to keep going even when I am busy, when I lose my scrapping mojo, when I feel like my life is boring and not scrap-worthy. I’ve often scrapped those motivations and/or thoughts about the project, and used those as the first page in my photo book. It’s a fun way to make an intro to the album!
  2. Keeping things simple. The first 2 years, I used a template I created with a spot for the daily photo and some journaling, plus a journaling spot for extra info. That way, the planning and design was all done and I simply had to switch my photos from horizontal to vertical when needed… clip my papers, add a few elements, add my journaling… and I was done. I’ve since switched to pocket scrapping, and I’ve used actions (more on that later) to create personalized templates for each page that fit my photos perfectly. I also simplify things by using one kit or collection for the entire month… and the same fonts throughout the whole project (one for journaling, and one for the dates on my photos, and that’s it!). This not only helps me scrap faster (as I don’t have as many creative decisions to make), but it also brings some unity throughout my whole album when I get it printed.
  3. Trying to scrap regularly. It’s much easier to go through one or two pages at a time, rather than catch up and finish 5 months in a row. If you want to use your “big girl camera,” keep it as easy to grab as you can (just make sure little hands can’t grab it too easily! Gaaaah!). You’re way more likely to use it if it’s right next to you, than if you have to search for it or go grab it from somewhere far from where the action is happening.
  4. Automating things as much as possible. Technology is fantastic… let it help you! I’ve created actions in Photoshop to help me scrap my pages as quickly as possible. I originally started with a commercial use pocket-templates maker, and eventually tweaked it so that it not only creates the photo spots but also the double page spread, the background just like I like it, etc. I have another action to save the JPG and the web versions of both the double-spread and each page individually. Same goes for journaling: I use an app to record my journaling, and I’ve set up reminders every evening. When I forget to do it at night, I go through my social media accounts and my calendar to help me remember what happened (I have the worst memory ever!). I call my smartphone my second brain for a good reason: it’s an amazing tool to help me remember to take a photo, write down a few sentences about what happened that day, even record video (as I explained in a previous post here on the blog). Set up processes to upload your photos regularly, edit and rename them as you upload them, back them up (it goes without saying, right?), etc. Anything that helps you go faster through repetitive tasks is a great help!
  5. Let go of perfection and the guilt that comes with it. There is no such thing as a scrapping police! I used to call my projects “P365-ish” …because I do miss days here and there! If I can, I quickly change the date on my camera (that way the metadata shows the previous date too!) and take a picture for the day(s) I missed. And if I can’t, then so be it! No big deal! I’ve started many P365 projects over the years, taking my daily picture religiously for… 2 months, and I finally switched to a pocket-style project because I stopped taking daily photos. Again, no big deal. I’m getting memories recorded either way, right? I’ve had 2-page spreads with tons of photos for one week (especially for Christmas when a lot is going on), and other times I just have one page with only 2 photos for a 2 week period. I’m fine with it. I usually take photos with my DSLR, but I’m definitely OK with phone photos, too! The most important thing is to enjoy the project, both while doing it and when it’s completed.
  6. Don’t forget to print your pages! This is incredibly rewarding and I love to go through my books from the previous years. I usually wait to create them until there’s a sale because I love a great deal (who doesn’t, right?). Sometimes I buy a credit and use the deadline as a motivation to finish my pages (That’s what I did with my 2014 PL: I finished it in May 2015 since I had a credit for a book that I refused to lose! I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be printed yet if it weren’t for the credit! LOL)

I hope those tips will help you enjoy one (or many!) long term project in 2016.

If you’re feeling inspired now… please head over to the forum where there’s a challenge to go along with today’s post!

 


Chloé

About the author  Chloé is in charge of PR and communication for her small town by day, and is a digiscrapper “by night” and a photographer whenever the light is beautiful. She lives with her man and fur-babies in a small town of Alsace (in the northeast of France), where she loves to read, watch good TV shows (TWD being her absolute favorite), and just hang out with her friends — no matter if they are close by, online, or away in her Swiss hometown.

Tutorial Tuesday – Quick Organization

Tutorial Tuesday : Quick Organization

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the first few years I digi-scrapped, I spent lots and lots of time organizing my digital supplies. As soon as I downloaded a kit, it would go into a “To Be Organized” folder. There it would sit, until I had the time to sort through the folder and tag each item with color, theme, type of element, etc. It got to the point that my “To Be Organized” folder was getting way more attention than the photos I wanted to scrap!

Feeling frustrated, I took a hard look at how I scrapbook. I realized that I am mostly a kit scrapbooker, and rarely look to other kits for supplies except for a few regularly used favorites. So, I decided to overhaul my organization strategy. Now, when I unzip a new kit, I tag the kit preview. I have a keyword set up that is called “Kit Preview” and than always gets checked. Then, I add any keywords that would apply to that kit. So, if it is a birthday theme, it would get a “Birthday” keyword. Boyish kits get a “Boy” keyword; camping kits get “Camping” and “Outdoors.” Some kit previews have multiple keywords and some only have one.

The only other items I keyword are paints/ink sets, large paper packs that I use frequently (solids/kraft/neutral colors), and templates. I tag these because I use them often and don’t want to have to go searching for them each time I want to use them. I also have a “Favorites” keyword for my absolute most used items that I want to be able to access quickly.

Now, when I am ready to scrap and want a kit based on a certain theme, I can just find the keyword I’m looking for. This system keeps all my supplies organized without taking more than a few clicks for each kit I unzip! I don’t stress about staying “caught up” with my tagging/keywording like I used to when I tried to organize each element and paper. If you are a kit scrapper, too, it might be worth giving it a try to see if it works for you!

KatieAbout the Author: Katie is a member of the Creative Team here at The Digital Press. She lives in Central Florida with her husband and their four sweet but crazy boys. When she’s not dodging Nerf bullets or trying to dig out from under the never ending pile of laundry, she enjoys photography, cooking, going to Disney World with her family, and, of course, digital scrapbooking.

Are You Ready to Scrap? Using Lightroom Collections to Plan Your Layouts

Are Your Ready to Scrap? Using Lightroom Collections to Play Your Layouts

How many times have you sat down to get some scrapping done and spent the whole time hunting for the photos that you want to use? It’s so frustrating to have to look through folders to find the photos from a certain event or that match a particular kit. I decided that I wanted to spend more time scrapping and less time hunting for photos, so I found a way to use Lightroom to organize my photos waiting to be scrapped.

Collections is a feature in Lightroom that allows you to put photos together without actually moving where they are on your hard drive. I love using Collections to plan for my scrapbook layouts. I’m going to share my photo import workflow today to show you how I stay organized. By keeping up with these steps each time I import photos, I have photos ready to go whenever I’m ready to scrap.

Are You Ready to Scrap? Using Lightroom Collections to plan your layouts

The first thing you need to do is think about how you scrapbook. If you do separate albums for each of your kids, then you may want to make Collection Sets for each child. I do yearly albums, so it made the most sense for me to have my Collection Sets by years. Your Collection Sets are going to be the main sections, and you are going to create collections within the Collection Sets for each layout you want to make. Here is a screen shot of my Collections panel so you can see how I have things set up:

Are You Ready to Scrap? Using Lightroom Collections to Plan Your Layouts

Next comes importing your photos. Import your photos into Lightroom using whatever file organizing system you use. I organize my photos by year and then month, but you can do whatever makes sense for how you scrapbook. Once you have imported your photos, take a look at what is there that you might want to scrapbook. I grab any photos that might go into a layout and create a collection for them. So, if it was my son’s birthday, I would grab all the photos from that day, go under the collection year, and then create a new collection titled “Birthday Max.” I do this for all of the photos that I have imported at that time, so I may have several different layouts that might come from the photos. There might be a t-ball layout, a school project, and a portrait shot of the baby all from the same import, so I would be creating as many collections as layouts that I want to create from these photos. It only takes me a minute or two because I am not culling or editing the photos, just grabbing all of them and throwing them into a collection.

If you do a weekly or monthly pocket-style album, Collections is also helpful for that. I grab all of the photos for that period of time and put them into a collection. You can use a Smart Collection to do this by specifying the date range that you would like to be included in the Smart Collection. Then, I am able to go through and review and rate the photos, deciding what I want to include in my weekly spread.

Now, when you are ready to scrap, you can just go to your Collections panel and grab a collection to get scrapping! You will know exactly what layouts you need to create without hunting through folder after folder. Once you have chosen a collection to work with, you can then decide which photos to include in your layout. Because all the photos are there, you can easily see which are the best to include on your layout.

Are You Ready to Scrap? Using Lightroom Collections to plan your layouts

My favorite thing about Collections is that once you are done with the layout, you can just delete the collection. It doesn’t delete the photos from your computer! It only deletes the collection of photos you have created. It couldn’t be any easier to stay organized and ready to scrap! I went back through all my older photos and created collections for each year, so I know that once I have deleted all the collections from the year collection set, I am ready to print my completed album!

I love being able to use Collections to keep my “To Be Scrapped” photos organized. I hope this tutorial helps you to get organized, too!

KatieAbout the Author: Katie is a member of the Creative Team here at The Digital Press. She lives in Central Florida with her husband and their four sweet but crazy boys. When she’s not dodging Nerf bullets or trying to dig out from under the never ending pile of laundry, she enjoys photography, cooking, going to Disney World with her family, and, of course, digital scrapbooking.

Focus on Organization using Adobe Bridge

Focus on Organization using Adobe Bridge
 
Being organized in life generally means we are more efficient, and the same goes for digital scrapbooking. I love to create “mash up” layouts where many different elements and papers from many different kits are used. For instance (click for credits):
Focus on Organization using Adobe Bridge
 
Layouts like this take a lot longer to complete without having an organized stash. Enter: Adobe Bridge. If you are a Creative Cloud subscriber or own a copy of Photoshop, it’s likely you also own Adobe Bridge. If you do, here is a tutorial on how to get your digiscrapping supplies organized in that software!
 
First of all, open Adobe Bridge and make sure the keywords panel is visible by going to the Window menu and ensuring Keywords Panel is checked (make sure your Folders Panel is also checked):

Focus on Organization using Adobe Bridge
 
Next you’ll need to set up some keywords. If you currently don’t have a keyword library set up, feel free to download mine HERE. You can then import them by going to the drop down menu on the side of the Keywords Panel and choosing “Import” and then navigating to this downloaded file. Importing these keywords will update your current keywords list, but will not replace it.

Focus on Organization using Adobe Bridge
 
Once you have your keyword structure set up in a way that makes sense to you, you can start tagging your items. To add a keyword, click the same drop down menu you used to import the keywords list and choose “New Keyword.” To add a sub keyword to one of the existing categories, hover other the top level of the category, right-click, and choose “New Sub Keyword.”

Focus on Organization using Adobe Bridge
 
Jpgs, pngs, psds, tiffs, etc. can be tagged, but things like actual folders, layer styles, brushes, etc. cannot be tagged. There should be a pop up that will warn you when something cannot be tagged. The reason that Adobe Bridge tagging is so powerful is that it embeds the keyword/tag right into the metadata of your file, so you can search keywords outside of Bridge on your computer and that tag will still be associated with that file. This also means that if Adobe Bridge were to be uninstalled at any time and reinstalled, your files will be tagged already and you will not have to re-catalogue your entire library of digiscrapping supplies. This is a huge time saver!

OK, so on the left hand side you see the Folders Panel. Navigate to the place where you keep your digiscrapping supplies. I tend to organize my folders by designer, or by store and then designer within the store folder if I have things from a few different designers within one store. This is helpful if you like participating in challenges where you can only use items from that particular store. You can see a bit of my file structure here on the left:

Focus on Organization using Adobe Bridge
 
To tag something, simply select the thumbnail and then check off the keywords you want associated with that file in the keywords panel. If you see a list of filenames rather than thumbnails, you can go to the View menu along the top and make sure “As Thumbnails” is selected. If you want to see the thumbnails bigger or smaller, use the size slider on the very bottom of the software window. You can tag an item with as many keywords as you like. For instance, if you have a paper with two predominant colours, you can tag it as “multi-coloured” or with the two main colours. You can quickly see which keywords are assigned to your selected thumbnail by looking at “Assigned Keywords:” at the top of the Keywords Panel.

Focus on Organization using Adobe Bridge
 
Using your keywords is as simple as selecting the folder you want to search within in the folders panel on the left and then typing the keyword in the search box on the top right of the software. For instance, if I’m doing a TDP challenge that has to include a piece of string, I would select The Digital Press store folder in the folders panel on the left and then search “string” on the top right and all the tagged string from my TDP stash will appear in the content window:

Focus on Organization using Adobe Bridge
 
I hope this tutorial helps you get on your way with using Adobe Bridge to organize your stash. The time invested in organizing is well worth it, as it will make your scrapping time more efficient and enjoyable! Feel free to ask questions in the comments below and I’ll help as much as I can. Happy organizing!
 
 
Amy H.About the Author: Amy is a wife and mom to three from Ontario, Canada. She’s always been interested in scrapbooking, but didn’t try digiscrapping until 2008 when she received PSE for her birthday. By then she had 1 year old twins and a baby, so the thought of just playing for 10 minutes, hitting save and walking away with no mess was extremely appealing! She’s been hooked ever since. She loves being the memory keeper in the family, loves taking photos, loves telling the stories. She’s also excited to know that these memories are recorded for her grandchildren to enjoy someday!