Some ideas for legibility and usability improvements for Actions

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  • Updated 2 years ago
I do a lot of production retouching for catalogs and web sites and I do everything I can to improve consistency of our images across product lines and the like. I have a team of retouchers that help me, and I've developed an extensive set of actions that speed up our work, automating many things that we have to do for every image. I love writing them and I love more the time they save! However, complex and lengthy actions are difficult to navigate and debug, and so I'd love to see some improvements to make my life easier.

1. Colorize action. Right now, I can go to Action Options and select a color for an action, but it is only visible in Button Mode. Colorizing an action in the List view would be very helpful.

2. Folders within an action. My most complicated actions might have 200 steps and writing them can get very confusing. Currently, I insert "Stop" steps and include notes there as a way to add visual separations between logical groupings of steps. But my action is so long it's still confusing. Being able to collapse sections within nameable folders would be super.

3. Insert non-actionable layer. As I mentioned before, I insert "Stop" steps for notations, etc. It would be nice to have a way for me to put in a note (to myself or future generations) what is going on in the action or why it exists.

4. Include a Step-By-Step Play button at the bottom of the menu. When I'm debugging an action I have to go into Playback Options and change the speed setting, and when I'm done I have to change it back. I propose that there would be two buttons to play an action: one for Accelerated, one for Step-By-Step. SO much time saved.

Someday I'll have to learn how to do proper Java scripting for Photoshop. Until then, Actions it is!

Thanks for reading,Bruce Jamieson
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Bruce Jamieson

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  • like Actions could be awesome-er!

Posted 2 years ago

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David Converse

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You can have an action play another action. Instead of folders, break it up into multiple actions. When you get to that step in recording, just use the Actions palette to invoke the sub-action.
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David Converse

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You can also record creating a note and then setting it to whatever text you want. Delete the note and all the steps except for Set Note 0, and uncheck that step. The step shows you what text was entered at the time.