Action pair designed to split an image in 3 equally spaced columns, regardless of pixel dimensions. Every adjustment is non-destructive, so you can customize the effects to suit your needs. Just make sure before running the action that you’re on the very top layer
Action 1: Simple framework for a 3 column grid. If you want to increase or decrease the border thickness, change the stroke value in Layer Properties for the layers named “whole frame”, “right frame”, “middle frame”, and “left frame”.
Action 2: A step up from Action 1 using targeted Gradient Maps in the RGB colour scheme + a global vibrance adjustment layer to boost saturation.
Why Gradient Maps? For quick & simple Black & White conversions, I find Gradient Maps to be quite effective as long as you specify a black point on one end and a white point on the other, even if there weren’t any in the original image, because it forces a maximum range of tones onto the image and “maps” the shades of gray in between... whether or not it renders the dynamic contrast you want in the subtle shades of gray, that’s another story altogether, but at least it beats the Desaturate filter which tends to generate dull shades of gray, and takes the guesswork out of experimenting with various alpha channels.
That said, I designed this RGB set originally with night photography in mind as the Gradient Maps aren’t entirely Black & White. There is a pure white point to reflect the light sources, but the darkest point is an off-black, in each case with a slight tint to match one RGB colour.
I chose off-black because of how bleak a big dark sky can be, to the point it can overshadow the meaning of an image. At least with a hint of colour in the shadows, I get the impression there is some sort of character present other than pure emptiness. This is of course a matter of artistic interpretation, and sometimes I realize a big dark sky delivers exactly the desired impact. Just depends on what mood you’re after.
Still, I feel this action is better suited to night exposures or other photographs with heavy concentrations of darker tones, because of how the off-black points will affect brighter images, where it could mute the contrast a little.
However, I did some testing, and found that you might compensate for this with a simple fix in auto contrasting. First make sure you’re happy with the border width of your columns, then make a merged layer from all your layers. This is like flattening an image with the benefit of keeping all your layers intact underneath, like a backup. To make this merged layer, hit CMD + OPTION + SHIFT + E on a MAC (I believe it’s CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + E on PC), and then go to Image --> Auto Contrast.
Auto Contrast is the kind of adjustment I would stay away from when processing a colour image, and I would still probably do manual adjustments here, but in the spirit of this action and automated processes, I found that Auto Contrast seems to work OK on a number of images that have been converted with these RGB gradient maps. Of course, you’re more than welcome to do your own adjustments, I encourage it for good creative form
Please let me know if you experience any glitches. As much as I checked and double checked, I’m always on the lookout.
Action is free to use without restriction, except do not claim it as your own and do not upload it for redistribution / resale. If you find it useful, would be nice if you could fave it and click my username once if only for the pageview. Every bit of exposure helps.
Personal disclaimer: The reference photo used in the image preview is one of my own. You can find it on my other deviantArt account here: [link]
(please note though the photo itself is not stock)
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