WHEN YOU USE PHOTOSHOP TO PRODUCE LARGE NUMBERS of images to precise specifications, sooner or later you realize that you're doing certain tasks over and over. Repetitive tasks are both a warning sign and an opportunity. They're a warning sign because repetitive tasks are boring, causing your attention to wane; and they aren't good for your body either, as repetitive stress injuries show us.
Photoshop turns repetitive tasks into an opportunity, because you can use Photoshop to record and build automated sequences called actions. When you use actions, you turn the disadvantages of repetitive tasks into advantages. Instead of having to strain your attention span as you reproduce the same series of ten production steps on the 31st of 50 images, Photoshop does the ten production steps reliably and without question. Instead of performing time-consuming navigation through dialog boxes and palettes, you sit back and let Photoshop fly through the steps as fast as it can, and the only repetitive action for your wrist will be to raise your cup of coffee for another sip.
In this chapter, I talk about creating actions and running them on the current image. To run an action on multiple images (batch processing), see Chapter 18.