Ok, so Friday our friend and pro travel photographer Scott Stulberg did a webinar with us…and boy was it GREAT! Scott, who is well-known for his striking images, showed us how he uses Topaz to help create his images. He also offered some great insight on his go-to lens, loupes, model release forms and much more. If you missed the webinar you will be able to view the recording later this week at: www.topazlabs.com/webinars.

Surprisingly, though, it was what he had going on behind the scenes that caught many of your eyes. Two of the most asked questions were actually regarding his use of Photoshop Notes and Actions…both of which help him streamline not just his use of Topaz but his overall post processing workflow and productivity. (Sorry Elements users, Adobe has only incorporated these features into Photoshop)

So, I wanted to give you all some insight on these two very useful Photoshop features that you might not know about and show you how they can help you in your workflow.

Notes


Now, if you’re anything like me you will recognize the following (simplified) workflow:

1. Adjustments in Photoshop
2. Take image into Topaz and add a preset
3. Tweak the sliders in Topaz to perfect the look
4. Take your image back into Photoshop and make a few more adjustments
5. Save your image
6. Wonder later on: “what presets/adjustments did I apply to this image?”


(before)


(after)

So many times you may end up with a great final image but forget the exact combination of adjustments, plug-ins, presets and other enhancements used to create that look. This is where your Photoshop Note tool comes in! You can find this tool grouped with the Eyedropper Tool (I) in your Tool panel. Notes allow you to add written transcript to any part of your image. This is useful because you can keep track of your workflow, production notes, add comments or any other necessary and helpful information to your image. Notes are also handy if you need to leave yourself a message about where you left off in your workflow so that when you come back to that image you know where to pick up at or if you are passing the file off to a friend or colleague. You can hide/show your notes, you can use multiple notes, apply notes to a specific part or image subject and you can edit your notes.


(your note will appear as a yellow sticky on your image)

Commands for Notes:

1. Add notes
– You can add notes anywhere on your Photoshop image canvas. When you create a note, an icon appears on the image. Select the Note tool in the toolbox. (If the tool isn’t visible, hold down the Eyedropper.)

– In the Options bar, enter or specify the following as needed:
– Author Specifies the note author’s name.
– Color Selects the color for the note icon. Clicking the color box opens the Adobe Color Picker so you can select a color.
– Click where you want to place the note.
– The cursor will automatically be active

2. To Open and edit notes:
– Using the Note tool, double-click the note icon in the image. The text editing area appears in the Notes panel.
– Choose Window -> Notes to display the Notes panel, and click the back and forward arrows to toggle through all notes in the active image.

3. To Show or hide notes:
– Go to View -> Show -> Notes

4. Delete notes:
Select the Note tool, and then do either of the following:
-To delete an individual note, click it in the image, and then click the Delete Note icon in the Notes panel.
-To delete all notes, click Clear All in the options bar.

Actions


Actions, which automate repetitive tasks, are a great way to speed up and simplify editing steps and tasks in Photoshop. Actions allow you to record your workflow. As you are recording, Photoshop is capturing a memory of your steps that it will be able to reapply on any image. Incorporating Actions into your workflow is one of the best ways to streamline your workflow by doing your most common tasks in 1-CLICK!

Maybe you have a group of noisy images that have the same amount of noise that you want to quickly eliminate, you want to quickly rotate an image instead of going to Edit -> Transform -> Rotate, merge down layers, add copyright, load or save a selection, save your image for web, print, resize, flatten, create a layer copy or any other number of tasks that you repeat often.

Bottom line: Actions SAVE TIME!

Button Mode. The screen shot above shows the Actions panel in default or “Edit” mode (on the left) and in button mode (on the right). When recording, modifying, organizing and deleting actions you MUST be in the default mode. However, if you are simply applying actions then you can do that from the button mode. Button mode allows you to easily apply an action in one-click (and is color coded) and then move on. Button mode is great for beginners or for those who prefer a cleaner more simplified display.

Commands for Actions:
1. Action Set: Store sets of actions. Actions must be saved in “sets.” A set can contain between one and 100 actions.
2. Action: This is the actual set of commands recorded in macro form.
3. Toggle Action (On/Off) command: use to enable or disable action (or an effect nested inside of an action)
4. Dialogue Control: Requires user input. When the action is running, the user may click this to modify the highlighted command. If it is turned off, Photoshop will execute the defaults for that command.
5. Play button: Begins playing an action (or set of actions).
6. Record button: Starts recording (or resumes) recording.
7. Stop recording button: When finished running an action, hit this button.
8. New set: Creates a new set in which to place your actions.
9. New action: Creates a new action within the selected set.
10. Delete action: Deletes the selected action (or steps within the action).
11. Action menu: Opens the action menu with additional menu options

And that’s it! So, now that you know about these two nifty features go ahead and open up Photoshop and try them out. Once you get the hang of them you will discover so many ways to incorporate them and streamline your workflow and increase overall productivity. Enjoy and thank you again to Scott Stulberg!!!

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