Underwater-Photoshop :: Advanced :: Backscatter :: Backscatter Action
In this lesson we will learn how to load and run the Photoshop action
that removes backscatter from your u/w images.
A Photoshop Action is a set of commands that have been recorded and can be played
back later. Photoshop editing always involves multiple steps so actions provide
a very convenient way to recreate those steps without having to remember them or
manually select them.
First, you need to download the underwater action file from our downloads area at
- if you have not already done that press stop
and do it now.
You should copy this file to the default folder where Photoshop stores action files.
On a windows machine this is C:\Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop\Presets\Photoshop
Next, if the actions palette isn't visible use the Window menu to open it.
Then, we load the action file into the palette. Adobe didn't make it easy to load,
or use, actions. There's a little button that opens the appropriate menu - which
is not very obvious!
So, select load actions and click on the backscatter.atn file. You will then
see the underwater action in the palette.
Now load the image you want to run the action on.
I'm using a shot of a nudibranch and you can see the characteristic backscatter
particles all over the image
Let's try correcting it. Open the action out - it won't run till you do. You'll
see a big long list of commands, ignore them for now, but select the top one where
it says 'click here, then Play to run action'. Open out the actions menu and select
I'm just going to accept the default commands when dialogs pop-up. Obviously your
image will be different to this so you will need to fine tune size of pixel on the
median dialog and the threshold settings. Play around with it and you'll get it
I'll go to the history tab and show you before/after. Remember that the history
allows you to go back in time and undo your actions.
Let's try another image that's a
bit more challenging. I know that the backscatter
action does not work well on this shot of a blue spotted ray. It thinks the blue
spots are backscatter so it removes them! Not what we want
So, what we'll do is quickly trace around the ray with the lasso tool. This is one
of PhotoShop's selection tools. I want to run the action on the part of the image
outside this selection so I open the Select menu and choose inverse. This reverses
the selection to include everything outside the ray.
After the Action has been run...
The best way to cure backscatter is to keep your strobe away
from the camera when shooting.
But, if you already have images that suffer from backscatter then this solution is
Just load the file and run the action.
Next >> Median Filter
Psssst! Have you seen our U/W Photo course yet? It's the best course to learn underwater photography the easy way online.