Exploring my own workflow habits has led to the creation of a number of automated Actions and presets that are invaluable to my processing routine.
Today we’re going to take a look at four Photoshop Actions to streamline your portrait editing workflow.
Whether lifting exposure around the face, smoothing the skin, adjusting for brightness around the teeth or for applying a slight vignette — there are four custom Actions that I use all the time, and I thought I would stop by and share them with you as well.
We’ll be working from an Adobe Bridge to Photoshop workflow, so let’s jump right in beginning with what an Action actually is, and then how to load and start using them right away.
First, what exactly is an Action in Photoshop?
For those unaware, an Action in Photoshop is a group of specific commands that are recorded, saved and then re-executed on-demand in a single stroke. If there is a function that we perform regularly — simple or complex — then its likely a good idea to record and save the process as an Action in Photoshop.
Such are the following four Actions most common to portrait adjustment, briefly described below.
How to load an Action in Photoshop
There are two ways to load an Action in Photoshop: One way is to navigate to the downloaded Action file and — with an image open in Photoshop — double-click each file to load into the Actions list.
Another way is to navigate to the Load Actions… option in the Actions menu panel (upper-right corner), locate the downloaded Action files above and select each to install.
Application and function
To get started on installing the below four Actions, join the Photofocus Community and download for free. Save them to your library and they’re ready for use in your own workflow.
Once the Actions have been installed, they’re ready to start using right away. Let’s take a quick look at what these four automated routines accomplish:
Beginning at the base layer, this custom Action copies the base layer up, creates an Adobe Camera Raw filter, performs select exposure / contrast adjustments and applies an inverted (black) layer mask.
The intent from here is each user’s decision as to application — my preferred approach is to employ a graduated radial mask as covered in further detail in the video above. Apply as needed, dial-back opacity accordingly and feel free to adjust the parameters to your own liking.
A standard frequency separation routine used for high-end retouching, this Action packs quite a bit under the hood. Essentially, the routine uses a customized Gaussian Blur combined with an inverted high pass filter designed to adjust both underlying skin tone while preserving surface texture, leaving us with a white brush and a black mask to begin the skin retouching process. Apply as needed, dial back opacity accordingly and feel free to adjust the parameters to your own liking.
Using a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, this Action subtly lifts the Luminance level of the yellow spectrum toward a whiter result. A black layer mask is added with a white brush ready to begin masking-in corrections. Apply as needed, dial back opacity accordingly and feel free to adjust the parameters to your own liking.
Beginning at the base layer, this custom Action copies the base up, creates an Adobe Camera Raw filter and performs a feathered post-crop vignette adjustment. Apply as needed, dial back opacity accordingly and feel free to adjust the parameters to your own liking.
Lights, camera, Actions
Exploring my own workflow habits has led to the creation of a number of automated Actions and presets that are invaluable to my processing routine. I still find new ones all the time — often ones that I’ve been overlooking for years — and the time saving benefits never cease to amaze when tackling larger projects.
For a detailed look into what these specific Actions accomplish, how they help and how to apply them, the video above will have you up and running in no time. Enjoy exploring and tweaking the parameters as you see fit, I hope you find them as helpful as I have along the way.
If there’s a routine you perform repetitively, remember to click that record button and start turning the hours into minutes. Thanks for visiting, as always. Questions or comments? Please leave them in the comments below to assist others on their journey.