When retouching or working with large numbers of images, it's not uncommon to encounter the same task many times as you apply it to different images. This can become a time-consuming and, frankly, uninteresting process. Fortunately, Adobe has provided Photoshop users with some excellent tools to help automate repetitive tasks, getting them done much more efficiently.
The most robust of Photoshop's automation tools is the concept of Actions and managing those through the Actions panel. They may seem a little intimidating at first, but they're quite easy to use once you become familiar with the user interface and general concept.
Actions are essentially a collection of individual editing commands. These commands are strung together (or recorded) in a particular sequence — which you define — along with special instructions to open or ignore any dialog boxes associated with those commands. When you play back an Action, Photoshop applies the entire sequence of editing commands before moving on to the next file. It may seem abstract, but once you create an Action and watch it run, you will quickly gain confidence.
The Actions panel is a relatively simple concept that operates on principles similar to most video recording devices, along with a few extra items to keep your Actions organized. Figure 25.14 shows the Actions panel with each area labeled; descriptions of each item's purpose ...