Tuesday, September 7, 2010

About Photoshop Actions and Getting them for Free

If you have never heard of an action then you are missing out!  I am going to explain to you not only what they are, but how to use them, and, most importantly, where to get them for free.

What is an "action"?
An action is a preset of a specific task or alteration to your photo that you can easily perform just by clicking play.

Why would I need one?
Actions serve several means.  First of all actions can simplify editing numerous photos.  Anyone that has edited multiple photos at once knows how tiring it is to tweaking the contrast, exposure, and saturation of every single one.  Using an action allows you to edit each photo a desirable way in a few simple clicks.  Secondly, actions are great because they allow you to do things you may not necessarily know how to do otherwise in Photoshop.  Photoshop is hard to understand as it is and actions are basically a shortcut to figuring out a complex software.  You don't just change the appearance of a photo using an action you can change how its presented, such as creating a story board, scrapbook page, or preset logo page.  The options are literally limitless. 

How do I use them?
It is easy to load an action, don't let Photoshop fool you.  (The instructions to follow are for Photoshop not PS Elements.  Sorry, I'm not familiar with the software.)

To Load an Action:
  1. Download the action set.  You may need to unzip the file.  
  2. Open your computer program files.  You'll want to locate the "Actions" folder in your Adobe Photoshop program files.  The path on my computer is Adobe > Adobe Photoshop > Presets > Actions.  
  3. Place the Action file (.atn file extension name) directly into the action folder.  You may need administrator permission to do this.  
  4. Open photoshop.
  5. Open the "Windows" Menu and then select "Actions".  A tab will pop up.  
  6. In the top right of the tab click on the little tiny downward facing arrow and select "Load Actions"
  7. Choose which action you would like to load.  You'll now see your action in the list!
To Play an Action:
  1. In the Actions tab select the action you'd like to apply to your photo
  2. Press the play button (sideways triangle) at the bottom of the Actions tab.
  3. Follow the instructions, if there are any with your specific action, and just let the action work it's magic!

Ok, so where can I get Photoshop Actions for Free?!
There are several actions that I have grown to love.  Check them out.

MCP Actions (some are free)
Coffee Shop Actions (Does have PSE actions too!)
The Pioneer Woman's Free Actions (She does have PSE actions too!)

1 comment:

  1. I totally <3 you for this! I took a Photoshop college course, but it was all about creating images for the web... nothing about working with photos. I want so badly to learn how to work with photos in Photoshop. I just bought 5 books from a photographer friend, and plan on learning a LOT when the weather turns bad.


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