Actions on Pattern Fills

Actions_Tutorial_2

Does this look familiar?

OK!  I grant you this looks a little small for a screen-shot of a web-page, and most new monitors are set to maximum resolution by default these days, so you’re probably looking at pretty much what I’m looking at.  LOL!  So here’s what I propose; put your nose close to the screen and look at the pattern fill example in the above screen shot.  Now this is one tedious job selecting pattern fills off a web-page that just goes on into infinity.  Myself, I’ve been working religiously (sometimes up ‘till 4 am., choosing pattern fills, almost every night for a week now,

I’ve been choosing pattern fills, and I’m not two-thirds of the way through it yet!  Some, up to 18 pages of pattern fills, just for one color, and there  are many colors; one page for instance, held 278 patterns, out of which I retrieved only about 50 patterns I thought might be useable for web-sites…

Not to worry

I’m extremely good at picking these out.  I look at it this way; wood eye use it on my own web-site?  Not to worry!  I didn’t need to dawn pink leotards to pick out the pink ones…  I know many of you don’t have time for this stuff, that’s why you have me!  <Pats self on back!>.  This is good fortune for you because They will be usable for more web pages that I’ve been working on for two weeks: “Web-Site Construction (Part_2)  Look for it soon; maybe another week.  LOL!  It’s going to be quite the gallery by the time I’m though with what will be my most enormous combo tutorial/web-page: “Free-for-All”,  grab bag of web-pages you’ve ever seen.  I can promise you that! 

Actions_Tutorial

A Scathingly Brilliant Idea

Hit your ctrl and your + key a few times to magnify these screen shots on your computer, so you can read them.  Just remember to hit the same number of the ctrl – keys when you want to go back to normal size!  (Full size = 5 times) I’m going to show you how I made a very simple action that saves you lots of time when you want to save yourself from the tedious task of saving pattern fills, one at a time, and then closing each one.  For this job I’m doing now, I may well have to do this over 2000 times!  For this, I recorded an action that saves 28 patterns into your “Fill Patterns” dialogue box, (Edit menu/Fills/Define Pattern).

It plays very quickly, and then goes right back to the start, so you can hit the play button again, and it will repeat the process , until it runs out of tiles.  Then it will ask you a stupid question: “ Whether or not you’d like to continue or stop the macro”.  Choose stop.  Then, and this is important, return the action to it’s starting position (The top sideways pointing arrowed, white rectangle, and you’re all ready for it to run your next set of patterns.

Where do I save these patterns to?

There is a special folder on your computer, just for your Photoshop things.  Mine is: C:/users/Derwood/Application Data/Roaming/Adobe/Photoshop CS3/Presets/Patterns.  Please insert your own user name were (Derwood is, in the path.  I got that all just from memory.  You get used to it quickly from going there to deposit all kinds of thing, like patterns, styles, contours, gradients, actions, displacement maps, and other such things you’d naturally like to retrieve from within the program.

How do I make the action?

If the dialogue box is not already up, go into your “Windows” menu in Photoshop  (Any version from Photoshop 7 on up…), and choose “actions”.  The dialogue box will appear on your screen.  I’m getting ahead of myself…  First we will open and resize a new file using key-board short-cuts.”Key-board short-cuts may be the most important thing you’ll ever learn from me!   They also speed up your work by a few factors!”  ctrl +n will open a new file, then hit the Enter key, and ctrl and the +key will resize it to 100%, all in three fast moves on the keyboard.  There are short-cut keys beside most menu commands.  Learn them!  They’ll speed your work up and exercise your short term memory at the same time; that’s two birds with one stone…

Go into File/New.  Make it your screen size by pixels, if you know it.  If you don’t, make it any size, this is only to activate Photoshop’s menus etc.. and leave it at 72 pixels resolution..  Now open up the file.  It should be at 67%.  Now hit the  ctrl and your + key on your key-board, (not your Numbers Pad).  Notice now your blank page is at 100%.  I’ll bet you feel pretty cool right now about how fast you did that!  Huh?  Eh?

Now go into the folder you saved all those patterns in off The Internet:  Here’s the URL: http://www.grsites.com/archive/textures/ Select the first pattern (slowly so you don’t open it up; pause on it with your mouse a sec. and shift select the bottom pattern, selecting all of them; now choose open and you will open all of them. (Don’t worry, they’re very tiny files). 

Now choose the right side arrow at the top of your action pallet and choose “New Action Set”  A dialogue box will come up  asking you to name the set.  Name it:  “Pattern Fill” (without the quotation marks).  Now go into that same arrow and choose from the drop-down-pallet: “New Pattern Set”, and name it: “28 Pattern Fills”.  Now go into your pattern fill dialogue box: Edit/Fill, and choose the down arrow to see the pattern fills.  Now, ctrl select all but one of them and delete them. (shift select of that doesn’t work)!  LOL!

We’re almost there

Here comes the easy part!  Now you press the red record button at the bottom of your action pallet, and go through the process of manually saving each of the 28 fills.  You don’t have to select them if you’re using CS3 or above, just go into your Edit menu and choose define pattern.  (Leave it with its original name and choose “OK”). 

Then go into your File menu and choose close.  Repeat the process for all 27 other patterns, and then hit the square stop button at the bottom of the action pallet. and presto, you’ve just made your first action!   Congratulations BTW! And you have it in an action set folder, so you can add as many actions as you wish to make, to that specific folder…  Pretty slick huh? 

Run it as often, on as many patterns as you need to, and save yourselves a mountain of time!  That’s it for todays tutorial on how to create actions for pattern Fills…  Check your Photoshop Help File for just what actions you “can’t” do, using its search box.  Type in something like “Making Actions”  Emmm… (without the quotation marks).

Don’t forget to go into: Edit/Fill. push the down arrow, and then the side arrow.  There you’ll see a “Save Patterns” option.  It will save them right to your own folder, (that path we discussed earlier).  Name them something that you’ll recognize; like a name with your  initials to begin the file or something. 

And an easy way, is just to replace them, (Fills), once saved, with a pattern set that has only five patterns in it or something, and just rename it when you save it.  Now you’re quickly all ready for a new set of patterns to run your new action on! Well that about wraps this up for now. 

Try it out and let me know your results.  While you’re at it, what other repetitive tasks can you think of to make actions out of?  A good way to follow tutorials BTW, is to have the tutorial up on one half of your screen, and Photoshop on the other; that’s if your monitor is 40 inch’s or larger.  Else-wise, it’s better just to pop it up from your task bar as you need it.  So, give it a go and please yourself :O)

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