4.4. Creating CM Workflow Actions
The following steps describe how to create an action. I have defined four different actions for output in my workflow, including actions for images going to Lab A, Press A, Press B, and Lab Costco. When you record your actions, you will naturally want to use a similar approach for your output needs. (Note that these actions are for outsource printing rather than in-house.)
Before you start to record the action, go to your hard drive, select a directory, and create what I call a "hot folder" for your output, where you will place images to send to your lab.
At the bottom of the Actions Palette, click on the folder icon to create a new Action Set. Name it "Output Production" or any name that will define this set as your output workflow.
The first action is going to be for Lab A. In this example, my working space is set to Adobe RGB, and my RAW files are originally processed, retouched, and saved in ProPhoto RGB. My lab requires sRGB for printing. This action will simply convert the color space of the selected files into sRGB for my lab and save the file as a TIFF in the hot folder for Lab A.
At the bottom of the Actions Palette, select the Create new action icon. Name this action Lab A, and assign a Function Key. This allows you to play the action by simply pressing a function key; here I'm using the F9 key.
Click Record, and notice the red circle at the bottom of the Actions Palette that lets you know that you are recording the action. To convert the file to sRGB, from the main menu, go to Edit "Convert to Profile." In the Destination Space, choose sRGB. Next go to File Save As. Here select the Lab A hot folder that you created. Do not name the file in this window, but select the format, such as TIFF or JPEG. Go ahead and save the file, and then at the bottom of the Actions Palette, click on the Stop Recording button to the left of the red circle. Your action is now ready for production.
Now, let's create an action for Press A. Let's say that Press A does not have an ICC profile. I have created a custom CMYK setup for conversions (in this case, you could select one of the CMYK defaults in Photoshop, but be certain to check with your printer first).
Once again, create a new action, but this time name it Press A. From the main menu, select Image Mode CMYK Color (the files will be converted to CMYK), and then select File Save As. Select the Press A hot folder, save the file in the format needed, and then stop recording.
For Press B, which, let's say, does have an ICC profile, start to record, but rather than selecting Image Mode CMYK Color, use Edit "Convert to Profile." Select the profile for the press, and as before, use File Save As, save into the Press B hot folder, and stop recording.
With this rather simple procedure, your Actions Palette will have actions for a variety of output scenarios.
Now that you have the actions, you can create droplets (literally, places to drop files into) that will reside on your desktop. You can simply drag a file or folder of images to a droplet in order to convert and save in the respective hot folders.
To create a droplet, from the main menu, select File Automate Create Droplet. Click on the Choose button, and navigate to the location where you want your dropletthe desktop, for example. This is also where you name your droplet. Lets name this one Lab A.
In the Play area of the Create Droplet window, you must choose your Set and Action to play. Also, make sure to check Suppress Color Profile Warnings. Not checking this box will cause Photoshop to stop the action when it gets to opening the files from the droplet, giving you the Mismatch or Missing Profile warnings. In the Destination area, select Save and Close. Now you can click the OK button, and your droplet will be created.
Create a droplet for each of your output actions. When you use the droplet, your original file(s) remains unchanged, but in your respective hot folders, you'll find a new saved file that has been converted to the color mode or profile for your printer. At this point, you can upload the hot folder to your lab or burn a CD or DVD to send to your lab.