Photoshop actions help to enhance your photographs, or create a whole new work of art, without needing to know the software inside out.
They’re a great starting point for your editing or creative process, allowing you to change and customize an effect until it’s exactly what you need.
Envato Elements has lots of great Photoshop actions available to get you started, and because everything is included in a subscription, you can experiment with as many as you like.
Photoshop actions are a series of recorded steps that create a particular effect or style when played back, meaning they’re perfect for both subtle retouching, and more artistic photo editing.
Actions are typically non-destructive, which means you can work on your image without the fear of editing and saving over it. They’re into layers which means you can see how certain effects are created and learn from them, and you can switch off layers to reduce the result of a particular part of the edit.
When you use photography in design, you usually want to make adjustments to the colors, contrast, and sharpness. You may want to go even further and completely stylize the image to make it unique. Photoshop actions are a quick, creative, and effective way to transform your photographs into art.
Once you’ve downloaded and unzipped an action, load it into the ‘Actions’ panel in Photoshop and you’re good to go. Action creators usually put each part of the process into logical, labelled folders, with named layers inside so you can see what’s what when you’re adjusting an effect. Turning the visibility of layers on and off is a great way to learn how an effect is created.
As actions work in different ways, it’s best to check the instructions that come with the download. It’s fun to test different actions to see the results, and you can even use more than one Photoshop action on your work to build up effects.
If you create an effect yourself that you really love and want to replicate in the future, you can learn how to create an action in Photoshop so that you can achieve the same look again fast.
While it’s more beneficial to you as a creative to know how to create effects yourself, Photoshop actions are still a great option. Whether it’s to make a process more efficient, to learn from and customize effects, or simply just to inspire and spark creativity, actions are a stepping stone to achieve unique results.
Getting to know how to use a piece of software like Adobe Photoshop can be a real step up for your photography, art, and design. And taking an online course like Adobe Photoshop For Beginners over on Envato Tuts+ can help you learn some essential Photoshop skills such as tone adjustments, working with type, layer styles and much more.
The free Photoshop course starts with the basics and gets you familiar with techniques like working with layers and how to combine more than one image until you have all the core skills and confidence you need to achieve your design goals!