Photoshop action : flexagon

christmas is a good time for doing stuff with the kids and we’ve been playing around with a few paper toys.

flexagons are groovy little things but they’re a real bugger to set out the artwork for. so here’s a photoshop template and action to do the difficult bits. if you don’t know what a flexagon is, check out this demo from dutchpapergirl, who also shows how to score, fold and glue the finished product.

the blank template looks like this :
screen grab of blank template

just place your artwork in a single layer behind the 3 hexagonal windows. the artwork layer needs to be ‘flattened’ — if it is just graphics with a transparent background, the action won’t work properly :
screen grab of loaded template

then ensure your artwork layer is selected in the layers panel and run the action to rearrange the various bits :
screen grab of finished layout

be aware that only the front faces of the flexagon display your original artwork :
screen grab of front faces

you get a different result if you flip the flexagon over :
screen grab of reverse faces

those funky snowflakes are based on artwork created by the talented chris spooner, who can be forgiven for drawing 8-ray snowflakes because he’s offering the vectors for free download.

you can download the photoshop template and action here.

and if you like mucking about with paper toys like the flexagon, you should also check out the crazy paper thing.

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Photoshop tip : action within an action

here’s a tip based on one from a brilliant online resource — Tiny Tutorials. you really should subscribe to that site — it’s awesome.

you can record an action in photoshop. you do it so that you can replicate particular sequences of commands on future images. this is invaluable to anyone interested in streamlining their workflow. if you’re using photoshop and NOT already using actions, you’re probably a loony.

but you probably already knew that. however, you may not already know that you can easily include an existing action in your recording of a new action. the image below shows that, while recording an action (“Screen Grab”), you can click on another action (“yellow highlights) and PLAY it :

screen grab showing how to play an existing action while recording a new action

this results in a “play action…” command being added into your new action :

screen grab showing "play action" command added to new recording

two things to be careful of if you start using this method :
• playing another action during recording WILL actually play that action on the image you’re currently working on; and
• do not move or rename your actions, or the “play action…” command will fail when it can’t find the action to play.

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