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Adding a stop with an instruction to complete a task then resume the action

Explorer ,
Oct 17, 2021 Oct 17, 2021

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Hello, I'm an older guy with DX equipment. Often I want to add some field blur and bokeh in the background and I know how to create it, but I want to have an action to do it on numerous photos at will, with some automation.

I start with the background layer

Duplicate that

Select subject (Now right here, Photoshop is doing a really bad job of selecting the subject so I need to finish the selection before continuing to the next step, so I want the process to PAUSE and a message to come up "Complete Selection and leave it selected") 

Then after completing the selection, I want the action to continue wherupon it will save that selection as "S1", then mask it, and after that the BG will be duplicated, that S1 selection loaded in, expanded 10 px, then that selection will be Content aware filled, Then that filled layer will be made into a smart object, to which a field blur will be applied with 9 blur points equally distributed, with preliminary blurs applied to each of the 3 rows of them.

 

I have an action that I run after doing the preliminary selection but I'd simply like to get it to start at the BG layer so I can load a dozen or more images and run the action in batch on them. Then I could just check and adjust each selection and let it continue to finish that one and go to the next. That would be a real time saver. Not sure what's happened to PS lately, but not long ago it was making incrediblely good selections with Select Subject ...but in the past few weeks it has become horrible. Lightroom makes better selections now. Might be something I messed up but don't know what or where to look to fix it.

 

If I can learn the above I will be able to make many other useful actions ...all of which need stops like that in order to make selections, choose colors, extend backgrounds etc.

I looked for this online and found an old Peachpit post that described doing it thusly:

 

From the Actions palette menu, choose Insert Menu Item to open the Insert Menu Item dialog box. From the Photoshop menu, choose File > Open; the entry file: open will appear in the Insert Menu Item dialog box. Click OK to close this dialog box.

 

I don't understand that and cannot find the Insert Menu Item or much at all for inserting in the action pallet menu that comes up for me in the program:

jjaylad_0-1634513724344.png

I see that Insert Stop and tried it, but next thing I knew I seemed to be out of the Action recording process altogether.

If someone could throw me a rope on this I'd sure appreciate it. Just basically how to make an action pause, display an instruction, and provide a way to continue the action afterward,

 

Thanks and stay well.

 

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Actions and scripting, Windows

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 17, 2021 Oct 17, 2021

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If you want the users toe make ad  selection, The Stop message  hast to Stop the action execution. So the user can use Photoshop UI to make and selection. Once the user does  they can click  Play in the action palette to pick up the action's execution in the action step after the action;s stop massage. Include that information in your stop message.  Make a selection around the subject then click Play in the action palette.

JJMack

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 17, 2021 Oct 17, 2021

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What is your actual problem? Can not use Insert Menu Item? When you choose that item from the Actions panel, small dialogue should appear on your screen with Menu Item : None Selected. Choose menu item and name of that menu item will appear automatically populated in dialogue. Click OK and new step should be created in your action. That is how Insert Menu Item works.

 

I think you want to insert Stop instead. Use Actions panel menu > Insert Stop. Type message and optionally check Continue what is not very useful for you because you want to pause action. Lastly click OK and new step will be added in your action. I think this step can not be used in batch processing because batch script will not wait for you, if user click Stop that will interupt batch process. That is how things work.

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Explorer ,
Oct 23, 2021 Oct 23, 2021

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Thanks Bojan and JJMack. Didn't get back to this for awhile. Busy on other stuff.

Right, doesn't work in batch. So I just have it run in batch with no stops and then each image has a masked subject layer so I can adjust that mask afterward instead of before. That works too.

Appreciate the help and explanations.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 23, 2021 Oct 23, 2021

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Having any interactive requirement means you do not have a batch process  human interaction is required.  The automated process  need to notified some human to do something the automated process can not do but need done   before it can continue its processing at this point the automated process stops and  waits on some human to signal what it requires has been done.  Some human then needs to do what the automated process need done. Once done the human  needs to notify  the automated process to continue its processing. This is not an automated batch process.  So you are now doing it right no interactive steps no stops you now have an antomated  Batch process.

JJMack

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 24, 2021 Oct 24, 2021

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Batch processing can be performed not with the standard batch, but with the help of a script. In this case, it is possible to interrupt the execution of the action (or use different actions to process one file with a pause between them), then continue automatic processing from the point of stopping.

 

The video is from a different topic, but it illustrates a similar scenario:

 

How to 'Stop' Action to use Healing Brush in Image Processor? 

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Explorer ,
Oct 25, 2021 Oct 25, 2021

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Lost me in the dust on that one. I'll try watching on large monitor and stopping frequently to record what I think you did.

Thanks for sharing this.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 24, 2021 Oct 24, 2021

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There is nothing wrong about having interactive action steps or actions with an  inserted stop.  It is just that those  actions can not be batched their processing is interactive.  Action that can be Batched  need to be fully automatic processes. So all the files will be  processed automatically without the need of human intervention by Photoshop.    Batch action have  fully automated steps with fixed recorded settings.   Often you would want step the have different setting depending  then the recorded settings for the current image content. Therefore you turn on action steps dialogs, or insert stop or inserts menu items to make your action an interactive actions so you can tailor the action processing for the current active documents content. You did not like how select subject may work so you inserted a stop in your  action so you could make a better selection. You stop the action so you then need to restart the action in the step after the inserted stop.   You could have inserted a menu item Select and Mask menu item instead which would be an interactive step that does not stop the action. This would allow you to make your selection interactivity even to try to see how select subject would work but your in control of the select and mask step. When you complete the stop accepting the selection using enter the action continues its processing. All you could do was to complete the select and mask step in Photoshop Nothing else the action never stopped. If you batch the action with Batch or Image processor  you can process all your image  that way however, during the processing of each you will have to manually complets the select and mask step your process is not fulluy automated its an interactive process you manually make a selection for each image file..

 

However if you add a Stop message  you can not batch your action with Batch or Image Processor.  For the Stop will stop the action which will be reflected to Batch or Image processor and they will mostly note its as an error and move on to next file in the batch. For Batch or Imaged processor would need to terminate their processing  to give you control of Photoshop after the action stop.  If you make a selection and restart the action after the stop step all image processing stops when the action end for  batch or Images processor had to terminate their execution to return of  control of Photoshop back to Photoshop UI interface.

JJMack

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 24, 2021 Oct 24, 2021

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The problem is that users need different scenarios for interacting with Photoshop and not all of them fit into its standard capabilities. Sometimes automated processes require an element of interactivity.

A simple example - one employee of our photo studio processes about 350 portrait photos a day (these are 7-8 different photo sessions). Processing includes 3 stages - automatic photo preparation, manual retouching, automatic post-processing. We send files to clients, and we also send them to the print service as soon as they are ready.

If you use standard batch, then in order to work as efficiently as possible, the employee must first run the file preparation action for a specific client, then load 35-40 files into the workspace and manually process 35-40 files (since these are hi-res photos, the computer starts to slow down and you do not need to open more than 15 files at a time), then reopen batch and run the post-processing action. And so 8 times. It is impossible to deal with all the files at once - clients will wait, and the print service will swear that we have sent files at the end of the working day.

With the help of my script, he simply selects a working folder at the beginning of the day and pressing just one button on the mouse processes file by file at his own pace. Photo preparation and post-processing operations after retouching are performed automatically. Another script monitors the state of subfolders in working folder as it is ready (changes in the date / time of all files in the directory), automatically generates links for clients and archives for sending to print.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 24, 2021 Oct 24, 2021

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Yes your advance batch script is a fabulous.  Your participation here is a is outstanding you help so many with difficult problems.  You scripting skill are unbelievable. Hacker like myself can't get by without you help.  Thanks again.

JJMack

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