Kjell’s Photo Blog
Black and white actions
  1. The “Black & White - Adobe” action creates two Hue/Saturation adjustment layers. Once the action is finished you want to double click on the middle adjustment layer (see picture) and play with the Hue slider to experiment with various tonalities. The Saturation slider may also be useful. I think someone at Adobe came up with this idea, but I don’t know who to give credit to.
  2. The “Black & White - Ansel Adams style” is occasionally useful with nature scenes, but on most images it will blow out the histogram.
  3. The “Black & White - Red filter” is something I try on portraits.  It is supposed to mimic the process of putting a red filter in front of the lens before doing a standard black and white conversion.
  4. Finally, the “Black & White - Grad map” is a really fast and often very appealing B&W conversion.
If you want to learn more about Black & White and know Swedish, I can recommend getting Mattias Karlsson’s “Från Färg till Svartvitt (och tillbaka)”.
Local Contrast Enhancement
Local Contrast Enhancement is attributed to Thomas Knoll, the creator of Photoshop.  This technique is so useful that it has got its own slider in Adobe Camera Raw, under the name clarity.
Local Contrast Enhancement seems to remove the haze that sometimes appear on photos. There are some variations for you to try, just play with them and see which one you prefer. You can read more about this technique on The Luminous Landscape.
Resizing for the Internet
Next comes a few resizing actions that I use on a daily basis:
  1. “Enlarge 10%” simply makes the current image 10% larger. Before Bicubic Smoother was introduced I would use this action to blow up images for large prints, in 10% step increments. I don’t use that anymore.
  2. “sRGB 8-bit” flattens your image, converts it to the sRGB color space and makes sure it is 8-bit, useful if you want to put an image on the Internet or email someone a picture. Chances are, with another color profile, your images will not be displayed correctly on the receiving end; very few Windows applications respect the color profile of an image.
  3. “600px” and “800px” resizes the image to fit within a 600x600px (or 800x800px) imaginery square. Again, most useful if you want to put an image on the Internet or email someone a picture.
Retouching and other tricks
  1. “Teeth whitening” assumes that you first have the teeths selected. My favorite way of doing this is via the Quick Mask, working with a soft brush. Once the dental area is selected, run this action and some of that yellow color will be pulled out.
  2. “Eye Pop” works the same way, but obviously you have to select the eyes first. Again, the Quick Mask is very useful here. Notice that a 2nd layer is created so that you can adjust  the effect afterwards (I usually do).
  1. “Penthouse” is a technique I saw somewhere and wrote an action for. It adds a bit of sun-tan to the skin. This action only works on 8-bit images.
  2. “Focus Vignette” is sometimes a pleasing way of framing your image. You run this action in two steps, first selecting the part of the image that should stay in focus then, in the next step, actually applying the vignette.
  3. “Edge sharpening” is an interactive sharpening technique that only sharpens the edges of the image. You can define exactly what constitutes an edge. By not sharpening large smooth areas, like skin, you get a much more pleasing effect.
  4. “MZ Soft Focus” creates a second layer with a soft focus effect that you can selectively apply to parts of the picture by painting into its layer mask.
  5. “Velvia Channel Mixer” is a poor man’s Fuji Velvia look. It gives the image a little more oomph (see below).
Photoshop actions
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Today I am going to share with you some of the Photoshop actions that I use on an every day basis.
You can download them here: Irstamek-tricks.atn.
The actions palette on the right shows you what they look like in button mode (use the flyout menu in the upper right corner to activate button mode).
Some of the actions have been concocted from various descriptions on the Internet so I may have missed some credits.
Before LCE
After LCE (25, 200, 0)
Before Teeth & Eyes
After Teeth & Eyes
Before Velvia
After Velvia