just a little share…

* UPDATED * for elements users…

This morning I was gently reminded that a while back I had promised to look into sharing an action with you guys. Well since today is Thursday and that Pi’bears is in school and baby E is fast asleep in his crib I finally got my act in gear!

Several things to keep in mind:

1) I don’t use any actions on my photos, including this one. (with the exception of a low saturation action and a resize/sharpen action)
2) I’ve never found one action that works perfectly on my photos. It’s true that I keep the same workflow everytime but I’ve never standardized it into an action before because I really need to tweak every step to make that particular image look the way I want it to took.
3) I do know there are lots and lots and lots of amazing photographers who use other people’s actions on every single one of their images so it certainly can be done…I just haven’t figured out how to make that work for me.
4) One of the best ways I know of to learn how to do some cool things in PS is to deconstruct actions people have created so I purposefully didn’t flatten this. Check out every layer and see what it does!
5) I added a color balance layer but didn’t tweak anything in it. This is because every image will need to be tweaked differently based on the lighting situation you were working with. The actions looks SO much better if you adjust this layer though so if you’re not sure how to color balance read and absorb this tutorial.
6) I’m working with CS2 so this action will only work with full versions of PS (I think…don’t quote me).
7) I’ve never used gigasize before so let’s hope this works! Find the action here.
8) Elements users download your action here. And then go here to figure out how to load it. You’re kind of on your own for that part since I don’t have elements and can’t test out those directions. Maybe you guys can help each other out in the comments section though. The part you want to pay attention to begins with “…before a Photoshop action can be used in Elements, the following steps must be taken…”

before and after…with a little color balance adjustment like I mentioned above…

Have fun!

brandyJanuary 24, 2008 - 9:37 am

wwoooo-hooo! I’ve got to learn more about color balance, but I’m so glad your sharing. It’s really so nice of you & gives me something to learn (how all the layers actually work)!

meganJanuary 24, 2008 - 11:32 am

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I can’t wait to play with it!

AnonymousJanuary 24, 2008 - 11:41 am

Phhhhhhwhoooop…that’s the sound of it going way over my head. Maybe one day I’ll see what Photoshop is all about. All I know is your photos always look awesome!

AnonymousJanuary 24, 2008 - 12:05 pm

Thanks Erin! You are so sweet to share this, I can’t wait to go look at it and hopefully learn a thing or two!

DaveJanuary 24, 2008 - 12:21 pm

love it! love it! love it! I need to practice! ~Dave

amberJanuary 24, 2008 - 12:59 pm

Thanks for the info, Erin. I love coming to your site and looking at the awesome pictures of your kids. We just got a Nikon D40 and a Speedlight and we are thinking about investing in PS too. I love taking pictures and it is so much fun learning how to take better pictures!

eJanuary 24, 2008 - 2:04 pm

thanks so much, erin!
Very generous of you.
I have a few detailed Qs… maybe I’ll just send you an e-mail. 🙂 -e

KimberlyJanuary 24, 2008 - 5:44 pm

THANK YOU so much!….now I just need to play around and figure out what to do with it now that i’ve downloaded it!

JanJanuary 24, 2008 - 6:10 pm

Total lurker here, but I just had to come out of hiding to say thanks!! I love to see how other people do things–I think it improves my own pp’ing.

Again, thank you!

debiJanuary 24, 2008 - 6:44 pm

Thanks for the action, Erin! Can’t wait to play 🙂

AnonymousJanuary 24, 2008 - 11:52 pm

I know you said you didn’t flatten it on purpose, but I can not get them to play as separate steps.. kwim? Also, what order? top to bottom?

Am I making any sense???? 🙂 Anyway to have a flattened action… pretty please! lol

[Marie]January 25, 2008 - 2:49 am

thanks so muchfor sharing! I tryed it and it’s wonderful. cant wait to play with it more 🙂

jglanzerJanuary 25, 2008 - 8:17 am

I’ll feel really dense if I’m the only one who posts with this problem. . .I’ve got PSE4 and can’t figure out how to make your action work! I’d love to be able to try it, as I think the color in your photos is always so amazing. You’re very generous for sharing, and I’ll check back later to see if you can help a very lost lady out! 😛

erinJanuary 25, 2008 - 8:57 am

Okay, let’s see. Anonymous, the action shouldn’t run as separate steps…it should just run all the steps and then leave each layer open so you can double-click on them if you’d like and adjust further. Is that not what’s happening for you? Can you be more specific about what exactly is happening? And Jordan I’m glad you posted because I don’t have elements loaded anymore so I don’t know for sure that it works with elements. I tried to only include steps that I know elements supports…what is happening when you try to run the action?

erinJanuary 25, 2008 - 9:03 am

Okay, now I’m the dummy. I didn’t follow all the right steps to get this play correctly in elements. If I find time today I’ll see if I can get it to do what it should do and I’ll let you guys know how to load it! Thanks for speaking up!

AmyJanuary 25, 2008 - 9:26 am

Another heads up for Elements users. . . it doesn’t support CMYK color (at least in Versions 4 and below), so the color balance tutorial Erin links to in item #5 is a little hard to follow. To adjust my color in Elements, I follow Scott Kelby’s instructions and do a Levels adjustment layer, using the eyedropper to click a black, white, and neutral gray point on the photo. Kelby also says the “auto correct” in the “quick fix” editing palette is actually pretty good.

erinJanuary 25, 2008 - 9:45 am

Amy, you rock. 🙂

erinJanuary 25, 2008 - 12:29 pm

Okay guys this post is getting to be a mess! I just edited the post though with a new action link and a link to directions for elements users. Hope it works! Let me know!

LauraJanuary 25, 2008 - 2:47 pm

Erin, I have CS3, and when I open the action up, it has it broken down into 6 mini actions under one folder. I can’t just click “play” on the main folder, it only gives me the option to “play” each individual step. Perhaps this is a difference from CS3? Because I use TRA all the time, and know how to use actions…. It’s a shame because I really wanted to try it out! 🙂

Kelly KuntzJanuary 25, 2008 - 4:19 pm

Ditto Laura, cs3 kept erroring out saying it couldn’t find defog and such.

Thanks for sharing though! The color balanced REALLY helped me out!

DallasJanuary 25, 2008 - 6:30 pm

Total lurker here, but I’m assuming the actions don’t work in Paint Shop, huh? 😀 PS is way over my head. You’re very generous to give these actions away!

erinJanuary 25, 2008 - 6:53 pm

That’s so weird about what it’s doing in CS3. It doesn’t even have a defog in it so I’m not sure what that’s all about. Now it’s totally bugging me…I hate when I can’t figure things out! 🙂 Is it working for anyone? I’d love to hear if it is and what version you’re running…

JennieJanuary 25, 2008 - 7:03 pm

i couldn’t get it to work on ps2, either. i kept getting some kind of error, too, and it was six mini-actions that i had to click “play” for each one instead of just the first. and there was some vertical and horizontal action, but all it did was open a new window with a white background?? 🙂

shelbyvaladezJanuary 25, 2008 - 9:09 pm

thank you sooo much for making your action available for elements users! I tried it on one of my photos and I love it!

AnonymousJanuary 25, 2008 - 9:12 pm

Thanks so much for the action Erin!
I think you must be one of the coolest people alive! I have no idea where you get all your energy! I’m a lurker also, but just wanted to say I’m having the same thing happen in CS2. Your photos are amazing and your blog is very fun and uplifting! Thanks for sharing!

Waida FamilyJanuary 29, 2008 - 12:43 pm

Thank you! I just uploaded your action and tried it out on a pic and I love it!! Also, your photos are amazing. I’m working towards learning more about child photography and your work is inspiring!

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