In this roundup, we explore the versatility and creative and time-saving potential of using Photoshop Actions.
As a designer, have you ever wished you could create an effect without having to go through a laborious process every time? If so, then Photoshop actions will be right up your street.
Actions are a sequence of events or steps that play through to create a particular effect. You can install these, pre-made by other designers and artists, and you can even create your own Photoshop Action to save yourself time when processing.
Many actions, once run, are broken down into folders and layers so that you can make and apply changes non-destructively. This gives Photoshop actions a real versatility – you can keep using the same one time and again but still achieve different results.
Like many presets across different programs, Photoshop actions are above all, time-savers, but they also mean that you can achieve high-quality special effects with your designs and photographs, no matter your skill level with the software.
As well as their practical purposes, actions in Photoshop can also be a great way to learn something new. Turning layers off and on and looking into what they contribute to the overall effect can help you understand how they work, and then potentially replicate the effect in your own way.
There are so many options for Photoshop actions that it can be hard to choose what’s right for you. Using actions that are non-destructive is wise. Most are, but occasionally you’ll find one that works directly on your image and flattens the effect at the end. It’s best to avoid those if you can, but always save a backup just in case.
Always remember to read the guides that come with action download. Installing a Photoshop Action is usually straightforward, but sometimes your image might need to be in a particular format, or you may need to create a new layer to brush onto, for the action to run through successfully. Be sure to read instructions before you start, it’ll save you time and frustration, later.
Check out our interview with some of favorite Photoshop pros for more Photoshop actions tips and tricks.
This set of four Photoshop actions works well with brightly exposed images to create a cool double-exposure effect. Simply run the action on your first image and it’ll ask you for the second. Try using a portrait combined with a landscape photo for the best results.
Create a realistic rain effect in just a few minutes with this action for Photoshop. There are ten presets included and you can even change the direction of the rain. Add style and atmosphere to your photographs quickly and easily.
Sprinkle a little magic over your photographs by brushing over where you want this effect to be, and then playing the action – it couldn’t be simpler! Each time you run this you’ll get a different result, so you can keep creating great art from one action.
Make an awesome fragmented photo style without the hassle of having to cut out bits of the image yourself. With the Dispersion Photoshop Action, all you need to do is brush over your image and press play on the action.
This is a really creative and unique action for Photoshop that lets you create a modern-art, almost ‘blueprint’ style with your photographs. There are several action modes and 10 each of color and frame presets, and background textures.
If you love traditional styles then you’ll enjoy this Pencil Sketch effect. This Photoshop download includes brush and pattern files as well as the action, so you’ll be able to create and customise until your heart’s content.
Light leaks are a great way to add a film look to your images. This bundle of light leaks includes 32 options in a variety of colours, plus a bonus collection of eight film effects. Apply your light leaks with just one click.
Add a soft, luxurious rose gold color to your photographs with this Photoshop action collection. If you use Lightroom with Photoshop then you’ll be pleased to know they work across both pieces of software, and you can use them on your RAW photos as well as JPEG.
Dazzle your designs and photos with Radiant for Photoshop. This action includes effects like glitter, shimmer, and more. Paint over your image and run the desired effect action to create brightly colored particles.
You can afford to let the grass grow with this cool Photoshop action! Cover your text or logo in lush, realistic greenery in just one click. The download includes an action, brush, and pattern to complete the effect.
If the above Photoshop actions collection has whetted your appetite, then you can head over to Envato Elements, to explore even more amazing Photoshop actions. They’re all included in a subscription to Envato Elements, so you can experiment until you find something you fancy.