Forums > Digital Art and Retouching > Using Photoshop actions programmed by others ?

Photographer

Valenten Photography

Posts: 265

Balikpapan, Kalimantan Timur, Indonesia

Hey,

I stumble from time to time on people offering beautiful (and less beautiful) actions for Photoshop. Just like that one : http://mutato-nomine.deviantart.com/art … tions&qo=7

I'm not fond of using such actions, because I believe that even if the result is awesome it's all too easy : it's much more exciting/rewarding to process a picture and reach a good result by oneself instead of using something like that created by someone else.

(edit:) Eventually, I believe that if I had downloaded all these actions I would never know which one to choose big_smile

What do you think smile ?

Jan 14 13 07:45 am Link

Photographer

Kevin Connery

Posts: 16928

El Segundo, California, US

If you only push the Play button, you may never know. You might save time, or get nice results, or whatever, but you're not learning much.

If you look at the Action as a set of instructions, you may learn a lot.

I've found deconstructing Actions to be quite helpful in many situations.

Jan 14 13 08:16 am Link

Photographer

Innovative Imagery

Posts: 2815

Los Angeles, California, US

How much time do you have?  Are you a photographer or a finisher?  Or a retoucher?

Most people choose there most common picture subject/setting(s) and try all the actions on them.  Pick the ones they like and write them down and use them from that point on.

Some people, Like Jack Davis create actions that only do one thing, so that they can stack them creatively and by using them, just save time.

Choose what works for you.

Jan 14 13 08:33 am Link

Photographer

Downtown Pro Photo

Posts: 1556

Crystal Lake, Illinois, US

the problem I have with actions from third parties is that the are written to produce an effect for the way the writer shoots.  If you shoot differently (and very few people shoot the same) then you won't get the same results.
I prefer to understand the process used and then adapt it to my shooting style so that it works for me.

Jan 14 13 10:57 am Link

Photographer

KA Style

Posts: 1583

Syracuse, New York, US

I dont use any. lol I use LR and presets. I have made a bunch of my own.

I really only use PS for some skin work, a bit of cloning/patch work when needed, and story boards/album layouts.

Jan 14 13 11:01 am Link

Photographer

Valenten Photography

Posts: 265

Balikpapan, Kalimantan Timur, Indonesia

Kevin Connery wrote:
If you look at the Action as a set of instructions, you may learn a lot.

That's a nice idea indeed. I guess I'll have an in-depth look at some of them.

Innovative Imagery wrote:
How much time do you have?  Are you a photographer or a finisher?  Or a retoucher?

Most people choose there most common picture subject/setting(s) and try all the actions on them.  Pick the ones they like and write them down and use them from that point on.

Some people, Like Jack Davis create actions that only do one thing, so that they can stack them creatively and by using them, just save time.

Choose what works for you.

This is true. Maybe for people who don't have much time these actions can prove useful, however I believe it'd be more interesting for a photographer to craft his own actions.

Oh and I agree with this :

Downtown Pro Photo wrote:
the problem I have with actions from third parties is that the are written to produce an effect for the way the writer shoots.  If you shoot differently (and very few people shoot the same) then you won't get the same results.

FYI : this topic is more intended to be like a poll rather than a "do I need actions or not" question smile

Jan 14 13 03:22 pm Link

Photographer

Mask Photo

Posts: 1404

Fremont, California, US

The only actions I use are procedurals, like the ones i made to set up a workspace or split an image into high and low frequencies, or remove chromatic aberration, or bump saturation in non-skin-tone areas (i guess that one's a little gimicky)

Jan 17 13 01:14 am Link

Photographer

fiona Quinn photographe

Posts: 287

Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

If I shoot an agency llama test where there will be several shots that are all very similar I use actions in a batch for those shots as its a quick way to edit - I stack the actions using layer masks for each batch of similar images. I have used purchased actions where I have the control to adjust each layer and have made some up of my own - it saves me a lot of time - same with weddings or portrait or any shoots where you have to show a client a lot of shots that have a similar look for them to select the finals from.

Jan 17 13 01:24 am Link

Retoucher

Iconogenic Retouching

Posts: 30

Almere, Flevoland, Netherlands

There were times I considered actions and any plugins absolutely worthless, haha! Right now, I can't imagine my workflow without them. They are extremely helpful in retouching proofs (numerous images that are the same and don't have budget to retouch custom), stock and even "hi-end" series. I used to purchase actions, but eventually started to write my own, that are now also available online. Each action is to the level of possibility deconstructed into flexible layers, and there is PDF attached about what each layer does and why. This way, I keep learning and understanding them myself, plus allow others to get an insight into such workflow, which of course will help them to start writing their own.
I am not very keen on extreme color effects actions by the way (like OP link), because I believe very few of them beat AlienSkin or Nik in flexibility, variety, and gentle image treating.

Jan 21 13 12:31 am Link