Stack ’em high and blend ’em fast!

Once you’ve got your pho­tos, it’s time to merge them in the dig­i­tal dark­room

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

01 Action sta­tions!

First we’ll record an action, then we’ll au­to­mate it within a sec­ond action so that it runs on a folder of im­ages. Open the Ac­tions Panel (Win­dow>Ac­tions) and click the fly­out menu at the top-right. Make sure ‘But­ton Mode’ is unticked, then choose New Set. Name it Times­tack and hit OK.

02 Start record­ing

Open the first two im­ages in your se­quence, then click the New Action icon at the bot­tom of the Ac­tions Panel. Name the action ‘Copy and Close’, then hit Record. From now on, ev­ery­thing you do will be recorded in the action, but you can hit Stop at any time to pause it, and Record to con­tinue.

03 Take short­cuts

When record­ing ac­tions, it’s usu­ally best to use menus and key­board short­cuts when­ever pos­si­ble, so ev­ery com­mand re­mains uni­ver­sal. Press Cmd/Ctrl+A to Select All, then Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+ ~ (tilde key) to switch to the pre­vi­ous doc­u­ment. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+V to paste the layer in.

04 Lighten up

Go to Layer>Layer Style>Blend­ing Op­tions and set Mode: Lighten. Next go to Layer>Merge down to com­bine the lay­ers into one. Press Cmd/Ctrl+ ~ to switch back over to the other doc­u­ment and go to File>Close. Click the Stop but­ton in the Ac­tions panel to stop record­ing.

05 Test it first

To check the action is work­ing, open another im­age, click on the action and press play, then close the doc­u­ment. Next we’ll cre­ate a sec­ond action to au­to­mate the task. We’ll use a dummy set of im­ages to test it, so just copy 10 ran­dom im­ages from your se­quence into a sep­a­rate folder.

06 Take more action

Click the New Action icon again. Call it ‘Times­tack Lighten’ and hit Record. Go to File>Open and open the first im­age in your se­quence. We need to make a fresh copy, so go to Im­age>Du­pli­cate and hit OK. Next press Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+ ~ to switch back to the first doc­u­ment and go to File>Close.

07 Au­to­mate it

Go to File>Au­to­mate>Batch. Choose Set: Times­tack, Action: Copy and Close, Des­ti­na­tion: Save and Close. Next, set Source: Folder then click the Choose but­ton and nav­i­gate to your folder of 10 ran­dom test im­ages. Hit OK to au­to­mate the action and watch as Pho­to­shop copies, pastes and blends the lay­ers for you.

08 Build in pauses

Press the Stop but­ton to stop record­ing. To make sure the action will work on other im­ages in the fu­ture, take a look at the Times­tack Lighten action and you’ll see square boxes to the left of each step. High­light the boxes next to ‘Open’ and ‘Batch’. Now the action will pause at these points, al­low­ing you to spec­ify the cor­rect start im­age or source folder.

09 Add a re­minder

You can also add re­minders or ‘stops’, for fu­ture ref­er­ence. High­light the Open step, then click the Action Panel’s fly­out menu and pick Insert Stop. Type ‘Open the first im­age in the se­ries’, check ‘Al­low Con­tinue’ then hit OK. Drag the Stop step above the Open step. It will then re­mind you to open the first im­age the next time you want to use the action.

10 Run the action

Now the action is ready to be used on your proper, com­plete set of pho­to­graphs. High­light the set then click the fly­out and choose Save Set. Close any open im­ages, then high­light the Times­tack action and hit Play. Choose the first im­age and spec­ify the source folder with your full se­quence of shots in, then sit back and watch the action run.

11 Try dif­fer­ent op­tions

The ef­fect might work first time, or you may need to ex­per­i­ment by us­ing ev­ery other frame. To do so, ex­pand your grid in Bridge, then hold Cmd/Ctrl and drag down col­umns to select al­ter­nate rows. Copy and Paste the se­lected files into a new folder, then run the action again.

12 Keep ex­per­i­ment­ing

We’ve used ev­ery sixth shot, then com­bined two ver­sions (one for the sky, one for the wa­ter) us­ing a Layer Mask. We used the Cam­era Raw fil­ter to boost the tones. If you need to re­move jet trails, make a new layer, grab the Spot Heal­ing Brush, check Sam­ple All Lay­ers, and paint to re­move.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.