Photoshop Action Pack 2.0 Released

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Ben Long has released a major update to the Photoshop Action Pack collection of Automator actions, which is now available for download at www.completedigitalphotography.com.

For the Mac-based photographer who prefers to automate the more complex aspects of their post-production workflow, Apple's Automator - included with OS X 10.4 - provides a simple-to-use, but powerful engine for building complex editing pipelines. In Automator, users create Workflows by stringing together Actions - simple modules that perform a specific task in a particular application.

The Photoshop Action Pack provides 71 Automator Actions for Adobe Photoshop CS and CS2. While Photoshop includes its own Automation mechanism in the form of the Actions palette, Automator and the Photoshop Action Pack have some advantages over the internal Photoshop feature. First of all, Automator workflows can span multiple applications, meaning your automation routines aren't limited to just processing in Photoshop. Second, the Photoshop Action Pack provides a collection of filter actions that let you sort your batches of images based on different criteria. This provides a simple logic mechanism that lets you build workflows that can process different types of images in different ways.

Version 2.0 of the Action Pack includes 22 new actions and an entirely new architecture that completely eliminates several shortcomings of the first release. In previous versions of the Action Pack, Automator had to open every image in a batch for each action in a workflow. When working with large batches of large images, this could quickly cause Photoshop to bog down under the weight of too many open images. Version 2 of the Action Pack solves this problem with a new architecture. With the new version, you string actions together just as before, but now use a special Render action to trigger the actual processing. This means that only one image is open at a time. The new architecture also solves several problems related to saving, and in many cases results in much speedier workflow execution.

Version 2 also packs a number of bug fixes, and many previous actions sport new features. A 61-page manual is included, along with tutorials and sample workflows.

New actions include: Resize Canvas, Change Resolution, Open and Save as Raw Data, Trim, Trap, Dust and Scratches, Pinch, Polar Coordinates, Sphereize, Smart Blur, Smart Sharpen, Sharpen Edges, Sharpen More, Threshold, Ripple, Ocean Ripple, Radial Blur, Maximum/Minimum, Posterize, and Color Balance.

The Photoshop Action Pack is still free, but donations are heartily accepted and cheerfully spent on indulgent frivolities.

You can learn more about the Action Pack, and download the latest version, from this address: http://www.completedigitalphotography.com/index.php?p=339

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