Conditional Actions have been available in Photoshop for a few versions and can save a great deal of time. The idea is that you can create a single action that calls other actions depending on a condition.
One of the most popular uses of Conditional Actions in Photoshop is to add a watermark, logo or contact information to a group of images placing them differently if they are portrait or landscape orientated, here’s how;
For this example I’ve chosen 8 images from the Adobe Stock collection. In Adobe Bridge I can, using the Filter panel, see that I have 5 Landscape and 3 Portrait orientated images. (There is a video version of this tutorial Here)
For the Landscape images I’d like to have ‘Adobe Stock’ in the bottom right while portrait images I’d like the ‘Adobe Stock’ to be in the top right.
In total I’ll need three actions, one for portrait, one for landscape and a third to call the right action.
I’ll open a landscape and a portrait image in Photoshop and set my rulers to Percent by pressing ctrl(PC) or Cmd(Mac) and R to bring the rulers up then right click on the ruler and choose Percent.
Extra Credit : This is an important step. Actions use the settings of the rulers to record where the words, logo or branding will be placed. If you have rulers set to anything else the placement will be placed at the same point every image. This is fine with this set of images, they’re all the same size but running this on different sized images would make placement seem ‘off’.
Every Action needs to be placed in a group, so that’s my first step. I’ll open the Actions Panel, either from the Window Menu or by pressing Alt+9.
In the panel Click the folder icon, this creates a new Set that I’ll call ‘Name’. and click OK
With the Set created and selected I can now record my first Action.
Clicking the ‘New Action’ icon (1) brings up the New Action dialogue. I’ll enter a name for this action ‘top_port’ (2) and click Record (3);
This now starts recording the action. This records exactly what I do now as a series of steps.
I’ll add some text, resize it and move it into the position I’d like it at;
And then press 3 on the keyboard to reduce the Opacity of this layer to 30%;
This completes this action, so I’ll open the Actions Panel (I have my panels set to auto collapse) and click Stop;
This action is exactly the same, I’ll call it ‘Bottom_Land’ and place the text at the bottom right;
The Control Action
For this set of images I’m going to create a ‘Look’ or tone for them and use an Action to apply this to all the images. Then, I’ll call the Top_Port or Bottom_Land actions from within it.
I’ve removed the text from the landscape image, just so I can see it working in full then I create a New Action called Tone;
For this example I’ve added a couple of Look Up Tables (LUT) to add a tone and Grey Scale look.
Extra Credit: There’s a post about LUTs on Photofocus HERE
Adding The Conditional Action
With the Action still recording (1) I can go to the fly-out menu (2) and choose Insert Conditional… (3)
A new dialogue box appears;
By default the If Current box is set to Document is Landscape and this is what I need, but its interesting to see what else you can do with Conditional Actions here;
You can see from this list, Conditional Actions can be very powerful.
You’ll see from the list that there is no ‘Document is Portrait’. This is a binary choice, if it isn’t Landscape then it has to be Portrait. So;
I can set the Then Play Action drop down to Bottom_Land
And the Else Play Action drop down to Top_Port;
and click Ok.
Finally I want to save the images once the actions have run, so I’ll save this image;
And finally, stop the recording of this action;
Running The Actions
With all the images selected I’ll go to Tools > Photoshop > Batch…
I’ll make sure that the Action Set is Name and that I’ll be running the Action Tone and that Save and Close is selected so that the whole process is automated;
I’ll click OK and let Photoshop do what it needs to do. For these 8 images its only going to take a few seconds;
And it’s all done!
Known as only “TipSquirrel” for two years, Eric ‘went public’ when he was a finalist in The Next Adobe Photoshop Evangelist competition. He’s also been a finalist in Deke’s Techniques Photoshop Challenge.
While still taking on some freelance work, Eric has recently become a Lecturer at Peterborough’s Media and Journalism Centre where he enjoys sharing his knowledge as well as learning new skills. This realisation that he loves to teach has made Eric look at altering his career path.
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