psd entouragingPhotoshop allows automation of common tasks through its action interface.  I have found it very useful for tasks that are used all the time. Things like saving images to a certain size and format, common image tasks from my 3d application like  getting alpha into the way I like to use it (layer mask), and recently making ID matte layer masks. Spending some time upfront to create these actions saves hours in the long run and frees your brain up for more creative tasks.

Remove Edge from PSD people is similar to the remove matte feature in the Layer.. Matting menu except this brings up the feather options as well allowing removal of  edges from the  added layer. I found it useful as a quick and dirty way to remove premultiplication or back lighting  in some extreme cases when time was more important than quality.

In the Architectural World it is common to add images of people to 3d renders using various techniques. I have a group of actions that relate to tasks associated with entouraging or finishing 3d visualization imagery.

PSD Entouraging

Add Reflection takes the selected layer and mirrors it upside down allowing for fake reflections, it also asks for blurring and then you add opacity. Very useful, especially when your doing this for lots of people.

Add Shadow is the same as the Reflection actions except it makes the mirrored layer solid black for simulated shadows.

Hue + and - are usefull when you are trying to vary your vegetation. It simply add +10 or -10 to Hue, shifting the color.

ChannelManip

Cut Alpha

This script creates a layer from the background and cuts the alpha channel as a layer mask. I find this useful when I need to have the trasparancy from the alpha but want to modify in some way. I also some times embed material ID in alpha and use this action to cut a mask for a group. This would be useful for a glass ID where you add in effects to the glass of a rendering.

Channel Masks

Channel Masks is an action that makes use of and ID matte. An ID matte is a RGB image with only solid colors representing three different materials. It is a common practice in CG, and 3d apps allow for this kind of image render. This action selects the red, blue, and green channel and makes a mask from each of these channels groups them under a group. I also have separate actions for each channel individually in case you need it.

I am always amazed how people approach work on computers. I have found a real difficulty understanding why some people don’t want to find a ways of simplifying there life. It only takes a little bit of time to wrap your head around actions and how they are useful. That time spent using actions will quickly be made up the first time you need repeat a task more than once.