Much of the fall semester imaging classes focus on working with a particular effect, trying to achieve a specific look.
Today the discussion was about Photoshop Actions, tiny scripts that allow automation of tasks from simple to fairly complex. Nearly any operation can be automated and stopping points can be inserted to allow human interaction. Graphic Design and Communications students started with simple actions and worked up to more complex pieces.
Many designers use actions to automate tasks like converting photos to black and white or creating thumbnails for photo galleries. Another suggestion is to automate complex processes to speed them up and reduce the chances of error.