Are questions about how to make specific Photoshop Actions on topic?

Example question: Photoshop action to reduce size and save in separate folder?

7 Answers 7


The thing here is that the question can be restated as "How to I record a macro in X?", where X just happens to be Photoshop. The correct answer is, of course, press F1 and read—but the point is that it's neither a photography nor a graphics design question even if individual steps in that recorded macro (like default resolution-dependent sharpening) would be under various circumstances.

Information fragmentation is a bitch, but that question belongs on SuperUser since it applies to any imaginable use of Photoshop (photography, graphic design, 3D, etc.).

  • 1
    SuperUser is for "computer enthusiasts and power users". While most of our high rep members are technically inclined, many photographers are not.
    – MikeW Mod
    Mar 7, 2013 at 19:32
  • 2
    Also, the advantage to asking on a Photography site is you may get answers like "if you're using Lightroom you can avoid a macro altogether -this functionality is built-in to the export module". Which isn't answering the question and would probably get flagged lol.
    – MikeW Mod
    Mar 7, 2013 at 19:34
  • Macros are kind of a power-user feature, tough. As in Word, so in Photoshop. (And "buy more software" is rarely a welcome answer to a question, even when it's the right one.)
    – user2719
    Mar 10, 2013 at 0:37

The existing FAQ states:

Off Topic: Image Manipulation (outside of the Photography context)

The specific example given in the question above does not specify if it is for a Photograph or not, it could be for resizing a photo for web use, I'm not sure. Also, I find this specific example to be too localized, in that I doubt answering the specific question would ever help another person.

I would rather see the question reworded to ask something along the lines of "How can I resize a batch of photos multiple times to different sizes for web use? I need 800x600, 400x300, etc."

I do think that generally speaking if a good use case exists and the question can be generalized to help more then just one specific use case - that Photoshop action questions could be considered on topic. They are very popular in the post production of photos, and aren't that much different then asking about how to move a slider in Lightroom for example.

Summary: Questions on how to make actions for use in Photoshop within the Photography context can be on topic.

  • How can we distinguish between image manipulation in a photography context, and any other context? Is there a meaningful difference between resizing a RAW file and resizing [for example] pixel art someone drew, when you're using the same tools?
    – DHall
    Mar 5, 2013 at 16:15
  • @DHall - You bring up a good point. Our own FAQ notes that image manipulation (in a photography context) is on topic- photo.stackexchange.com/faq. So what exactly is a photography context? I don't have that answer.
    – dpollitt
    Mar 5, 2013 at 19:17
  • Put the photographic context into the question itself when you are asking it. If, when you're doing that, it feels really "grafted on", that's a sign that it probably isn't the right fit here.
    – mattdm
    Mar 8, 2013 at 17:25

In terms of actions, as Stan Rogers points out, anything more than the most basic of actions is really a power user type question and probably better suited for SuperUser.

However, in general, I think most Photoshop-related questions ought to be on topic here. Photoshop is used by web-designers and graphic artists, but its history and primary purpose are centered around photographic images. There are other programs like Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver more centered around web and graphic design.

Many of the questions about Photoshop are about how to do things you can also do in Lightroom and PS Elements, and almost any Lightroom question would be considered on-topic here.

This particular question is pretty localised or specific, but I think even it is of general interest - what's the best way to quickly do some processing on images and then save them in an organised way in several sizes/resolutions? Using actions? The batch processing function? If someone outlines the answer to that, I could modify it to suit another purpose, so it might be a stretch, but I think it could be generally useful.

I think if someone asks about fonts or the pen tool or something clearly not related to photography, then we should close or migrate it.


My two cents on this subject, writing while thinking it over.

This site is called `Photography´ so basically I expect to be able to ask questions and find answers about just that. Yes, photographers use software, but I feel that for most software related questions there is a plethora of websites covering those.

The site benefiting from basic questions - on any task - concerning PS? I am not sure... I tend to ignore those questions on this particular site as I feel there are many, many sites - like Adobe.com and Youtube covering those. I don´t see any real difference between a question about resizing or using pyramid layers for that matter.

In short: off-topic and point asker to a known reliable source.


Creating photoshop actions can get into really specific example that I don't think this site is very well suited for. If we really drew out the example in the question linked to above, it would require many steps and be very tedious to explain. I don't think that it would be very useful to anyone in the future either.

I can see the site benefiting from a "Basics of creating a Photoshop action" question/answer - but beyond that I don't see multiple questions with "How do I create action X, Y, Z" being very beneficial.

Summary: Generally not on topic, unless it is a single broad overview of what Photoshop Actions are and how to create one.


if he needed to batch resize all his photos to one small size , Id guess it was for thumbnails for a photo site, and it is ontopic. but doing pyramid layers (div 2 multiple times) sound more like preparation for texture mapping or similar, which is graphic.


I think the dividing line on this is probably to ask if the question relates to Photography. Questions about how to achieve a particular photographic look in an application are an aspect of photography. An ideal answer would really be independent of any particular software package since the meat of the question would be how to achieve the photographic goal.

In practice, the method of accomplishing certain things can differ based on the program being used though, so this drags tutorials on a particular program in to scope when necessary to explain the answer to the Photographic question.

How to do file handling seems pretty close to off topic since the core question is about file manipulation and the fact that it is being done through Photoshop is simply a coincidence. It isn't really related to Photography at all. It could probably be rephrased to something on topic by asking a question about how to deal with making a gallery for displaying photos since storage and display of a photo catalog is an element of Photography.

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