Version: CS3
Difficulty Level:

Once you start working with Photoshop, over time you will discover that your projects require many of the same, repetitive actions and tasks. By creating custom actions for your more routine tasks, you'll have more time for more important things: Designing! In this example, you will create a custom action for one of the tasks most often performed: Creating thumbnails from images.

In this tutorial, you will record the actions you take when resizing an image of a grizzly bear from 450 pixels wide to 200 pixels wide. Once your action is recorded, you will then open another larger picture and play the recorded action to duplicate the process from before.

Step 1:

Copy, save and open the following picture of a bear.
(450 pixels wide by 300 pixels high)

Step 2:

Open the Actions palette (Windows>Actions).

Step 3:

Click "Create new set" on the Action Palette. Although you can use Photoshop's Default Actions, creating your own set helps to keep everything organized.

Step 4:

Name your new Set "Image Thumbnails".

Your Actions Palette should look like the following:

Step 5:

Create a new Action by clicking the "Create new action" button.

In the New Actions window, give your new Action a name and select which Set you want it to belong to by clicking on the Set drop down menu.

Click Record to close the window and begin recording your action of resizing the bear picture from 450 pixels wide to 200 pixels wide. Important: Every Photoshop action you perform from now on until you click the "Stop playing/recording" button will be recorded.

Step 6:

Select Image on the menu bar, click on Image Size...Within the Image Size dialogue box, accept all defaults and change the Width to 200 pixels.

Click OK.

The grizzly image has been resized according to your commands.

Step 7:

Click "Stop playing/recording" on the Action Palette to discontinue recording.

Step 8:

Copy, save and open the following image of an elephant.
(450 pixels wide by 300 pixels high)

Step 9:

Click "Resize to 200 px in width" on the Actions Palette. Click Play selection.

Your image has automatically been resized to 200 pixels wide.

Although only one action was used in this tutorial (resizing the image), each step in the new action is in the exact order in which it was performed. Once an action has been recorded, it's still completely editable. You can delete, add, or rearrange the order of the steps. 

Now suppose you had to repeat this action for more than 2 photos? What about 30 photos? Take it a step further by applying our new action to a batch process. Batch processing is useful when you have a lot of images that require the same actions to be applied to them. With a couple key strokes you can quickly "process" an entire folder of images. To learn this method, go to the Batch Processing tutorial.  

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