What is an Action?
What is an Action?
If Pipelines are the recipies for processing your images then actions are the fresh ingredients that make the dish. Sorry for the cheesy metaphor. (okay, okay, we’ll stop)
In this article we’ll discuss what actions are and how the combination of Actions and Pipelines makes Laazy such a powerful tool.
An action, at its core, is an operation which modifies an input to produce an output. These actions will usually modify your input photo to produce your desired output photo. We say usually because some actions work a bit differently… but we’ll get to those later.
When you first create a Pipeline you’ll find an input funnel at the top and the output bar at the bottom. Your actions are the ingredients to be added in the middle. An image is uploaded into the top of the pipeline and run sequentially through all the actions until it reaches the bottom and the results are made available for downloaded.
To begin modifying your images and building your Pipeline, you need to insert Actions between the upload and download. This can be done by clicking the space between Actions.
There are a wide range of Actions available, and we are adding to and improving these all the time. The Actions that you use will vary greatly based on what you need to do and how you use your images.
For example, if you are printing an image, the ‘Convert’ action will attach a color profile and set the DPI. If instead you are putting them on a website, you might be interested in the ‘Compress’ action to make your files small and faster to download.
Once you have added an Action, you’ll need to adjust it to suit your needs. Most Actions have settings that can be configured which influence how the operation works.
Clicking on an Action in the Pipeline will bring up the settings window. Some Actions have ‘Interrupt’ options available, meaning we’ll stop running the Pipeline to ask you how you’d like to proceed.
Image processing actions
As the name suggestsc these Actions perform operations on the image. Operations can be basic sizing adjustments such as Aspect Ratio and Resize, or more complex things like adding watermarks or text to an image, removing/adding backgrounds, or masking an image.
There is more to images than just what they look like. File operations allow you to to modify the filename or meta-data. ‘Save as’ will let you select the type of file that is outputted, which is especially important when messing with transparency.
These Actions are specific to how the Pipelines run. One of the most important of these Actions is Split, which will split one Pipeline into mutiple pipelines. This is how you can use Laazy to generate multiple, differing images from just one upload.
We could write an entire article on Interrupt actions, but for now know that they will pause the running of a pipeline to ask you for some input or configuration. This lets you manipulate your images as they are processed.
Order matters for Actions. Seqeuncing actions allow you to control that order.
Some Actions are only available once the image file has been saved either with a “Save As” action or by reaching the end of a split. These need to have a saved file to be able to work such as ‘Zip’ to create a zip file of multiple images or ‘Compress’ to optimize an image for publishing on the web.
Some Actions have settings that require other actions or settings to be present prior to running. An example of this is the ‘Focal Point’ action to select the main part of an image for cropping operations.
And that’s it, if you want to know more about individual actions, be sure to check out the Actions guide.
This is the second in our ‘what the hell is this’ series.
The problem with doing something completely different from what’s out there is that sometimes it needs a bit of explaining. If you haven’t checked it out yet, go check out ‘What is a pipeline‘