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Actions -Level 2- , Create Layers and Masks within Actions

Carry Actions on a different layer
Convert Layer to clipping mask
Change the order of Layers
Use Actions-friendly layer selections and moving

In This Tutorial we shall detail some advanced features of Photoshop Actions and some of the errors that may occur. We shall see:

  • Do and Don’t Do in Actions
  • Using Actions to move layers
  • Carry Actions on a different layer
  • Convert Layer to clipping mask
  • Change the order of Layers
  • Use Actions-friendly layer selections and moving
  • Modify the Action by add, delete, disable and reorder
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You can watch a step by step video below. For any clarification or comment fill the form to the side and we shall come back to you as soon as possible

Do and Don’t Do in Actions

We shall start by a couple of remarks that we need to take care of while creating our actions:

  • It is not recommended to use selection tools as part of the automatic Actions steps, Why?
    • Selection coordinates will be stored, so applying same Action on another layer or in other file will not adapt itself to the content of this layer/file, unless subject to be selected is in same location
    • Selection might need refining before proceeding to other steps, so you need to add a stop
    • The Subject selection Tool can solve first problem in case there is one main subject in the layer where the action will be used, but might need refining
  • When moving between layers of different names, the action will be specific to a layer name.
    • To avoid it, use keystrokes to move from one layer to the other.
      • Alt+[ or OPTION+[ moves the selection one layer down or backward
      • Alt+] or OPTION+] moves the selection one layer up or forward
      • Repeat it to move many layers up or down
Using Actions to move layers ,

We shall start with the setup to the right. A background of your choice and 4 Text layer.

We shall start by selecting the layer on the top “One of the”

Set up for Actions 2

  1. If you don’t see the Actions Icon in your right panel, then go to menu>Windows>Actions Or Alt+F9 (Option for MAC)
  2. Create New Set of Actions, Give it a name e.g. “Trial”
  3. Create New Action, Give it a name e.g. “Action-3” , press Record and recording will start
  4. Start Recording Actions for a previously generated Action
Actions Panel
Action Pallet buttons
  • Drag layer “One Of the” to be above our background wood layer
  • You can see in the actions panel, Move Current Layer -> Layer 2
  • Every time you start action from a layer it will be moved to same location above the wood layer
Action 1

  • Use menu>Select>Subject to select the text on this layer
  • Actually this text layer includes only the text so it is easier for auto selection.
    1. You will see that Select Subject is added.
    2. If you add this auto selection, then Insert Stop after it
    3. from the menu on top of the Actions pallet Select Insert Stop, add a message and allow continue check box
    4. When running the stop action, a menu will popup either to continue to next step when recorded or stop to refine the selection then continue manually
  • You can skip the auto selection and stop by making the selection before applying the Actions to the layer.
Action 2
selection refined
Record Actions on different layers
  1. Press Record, (Button 4 ), on the Actions Pallet
  2. Expand Selection from menu>Select>Modify>Expand. I use a default 2 pixels to make sure the mask will cover the original text
  3. Select The IMAG wood layer by using Alt+[ or OPTION+[ to move the layer selection down or backward one step
  4. Then ctrl+j or COMMAND+j to create a new copy from the wood Layer containing only the area inside the selection, we shall use it as a clipping mask in the next step to be of same wood texture
  5. Move this new layer above the “One of the” Layer
Action 3
Convert Layer to clipping mask
  • Now, right click on the new layer in its position above the text layer and select Create Clipping Mask
  • Use Alt+[ or OPTION+[ to move the layer selection one step backward or down to the text layer
  • Add Bevel& Emboss and dark stroke to popup the wooden text using fx tool at the bottom of the layers panel or from menu>layer>Layer style
  • Then Stop Recording
  • Select each of the other 3 text layers, select Action 3 from the Actions panel and hit Play
    • Remember that you can stop after each selection to refine it then hit play again or you can continue
Action 4
final
Final Output
Use Actions-friendly layer selections and moving

Use Alt+[ or OPTION+[ to move the layer selection one step backward or down to the text layer. Repeat for multiple steps

Modify the Action by add, delete, disable and reorder
  • We had learnt how to add step by Step actions by pressing the record button
  • Stop at any action and hit the trash box to delete it
  • Disable any action by ticking off the correct sign beside it
  • Reorder actions by dragging any action up or down
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