We all know 2020 is going to be a big year. It’s the start of a new decade, it’s the year of the US presidential elections, and it marks the 30th birthday of Adobe Photoshop.
Photoshop, which is so successful it’s literally become a verb, turns 30 on February 19, and here at Envato we want to celebrate a software that’s had a tremendous impact on photography and graphic design – and in turn the lives of our authors and customers.
To mark the occasion we’ve also created Photoshop before and after images using Photoshop Actions from GraphicRiver and photos from Envato Elements. The creators of Photoshop likely never dreamed it would one day be used to simulate realistic painting effects, create three-dimensional graphics, and even put images in motion using animation. As the software became more sophisticated over the years, users created even more ways to produce stunning graphics, limited only by the bounds of their imagination.
The 30 Photoshop Actions featured below can help you create your own manipulated masterpieces, and save you loads of time in the process. Most Actions come with brushes and/or pattern files that must be installed before the Action is run, and may also require some preparation of the original photo. Remember to read and follow the instructions carefully before you start creating amazing photoshop images. And most of all, have fun!
30 Amazing Photoshop Actions
More than simply applying a gradient to your photo, this Action adds contour lines for a trendy look. Mix and match for endless variations.
Image: Beautiful positive redheaded girl, Freepik
Give any photo the appearance of a finely-rendered pencil drawing.
Excellent Action for sports, dancing, or wherever you want to add dynamic motion.
Give your photo a sleek, sparkly look with just a few steps.
Create a cartoon zombie effect, then animate it for more fun. Change colors to complement your photo.
Take a step back in time with this retro action, which generates 25 different pixel effects.
Create glitchy video effects using the provided PSD and Smart Objects. Eight different styles.
Give your photo an analog mixed-media effect.
Turn any photo into a stylized, painterly concept drawing.
Create realistic architectural renderings with this action, which also produces interesting results with portraits or landscapes.
This Action produces high-contrast images with a splash of ink.
The Action’s ease of use belies its sophisticated results. Includes a separate Action to animate your results.
Image: Desktop by ff-photo
This item contains over 60 different shadow overlays. The action helps you apply the shadows with realistic blending modes, lending instant depth and atmosphere to your photos.
Easily apply a celestial, dramatic effect to any photo.
Image: Hipster Badges by Jumsoft
A set of premade PSDs, which allows you to replace the provided graphics with your own drawings to turn them into neon.
A super realistic watercolor effect you’ll want to try again and again.
Get different results every time you play this Action, depending on your original brush strokes.
Image: A Letter Logo by 3ab2ou
More than an Action, this item is a neon sign-making kit, complete with wires and clips. Fun to change the color, background, and effects for a gritty, realistic look.
Get the look of conté crayon and wet media with this easy-to-use Action.
This action works well with higher contrast photos, giving them a smooth oil paint effect.
Like the best pages of your travel journal, this Action is multi-layered, combining text and realistic water media effects.
Image: scooter by Determined
This action creates a watercolor effect that is more detailed and controlled than some, while maintaining a realistic look.
A hologram effect so nicely done, you’ll expect it to jump out of your screen.
Can turn even a lackluster photo into a wiry, smoky animation.
Creates a bold, pop art effect, with a text layer you can edit (or simply delete).
Image: Sweet cherry by sea_wave
If you like your watercolors drippy and colorful, this Action is for you.
Turn any text or shape into a furry monster. Change colors and add extras to create a unique character.
How can you create great Photoshop actions? Learn from an expert and read these essential tips.