What are Photoshop Actions?
Photoshop Actions are a great time-saving tool, similar to a preset in Lightroom! Actions are files that run a user-defined series of commands to instantly apply a series of edits to your photos. Actions work by recording your tasks and settings from the time you click “Record” until the time you click “Stop”. You can record tasks such as image resizing sequences or simple filters for film looks, and at the more advanced end, procedures for retouching, like adding layers, masks, and other elements. They are best used for editing tasks that you perform frequently, so you can use Photoshop as efficiently as possible, and do not have to worry about repeating every single step of your workflow every time.
Why Use Photoshop Actions?
Photoshop Actions will save you tons of time in your editing process. For professional photographers, the use of Actions allows them to save their most frequent editing sequences, so they can edit as efficiently as possible for their long list of clients, but still produce stunning, professional photographs.
For the novice photographer, using Actions can be an important step in learning how to embrace all the capabilities of Photoshop. They allow you to bypass hours of frustration, and instead allow the instant gratification of being able to play around with different looks at the click of a button. In addition, if you then want to learn more about Photoshop and Photoshop Actions, you can always dig into the layers of the Actions you are using to see how the original creator made it.
How to Create Your Own Photoshop Actions
While you can download and install Actions from other people, you may eventually get to a point where you feel comfortable with Photoshop and want to create your own Actions to use while editing your photos. In order to create your own Photoshop Action, follow these steps:
1. Select “Window” from the top menu in Photoshop, then select “Actions” from the drop-down menu.
2. The “Actions” window will have a number of preinstalled sets (with folder icons), and individual actions (with page icons) within those sets. When you are ready to perform your procedure, either select an existing folder or create a new one by clicking “Create New Set”.
3. Click “Create New Action”. You can name and choose a location for this new Action in the pop-up window. After you have done that, click “Record” and your new Action will begin recording.
5. Go through your procedure, and click “Stop Playing/Recording” at the bottom of the window when you are finished.
6. If you make a mistake or want to change something, simply click the “Stop” button, and then click the “Undo” button back to your starting point, and click “Record” again when you are ready.
How to Install Photoshop Actions
Using pre-made Photoshop Actions is a great to get complex edits in the click of a button. If you do not have a lot of experience with Photoshop, installing actions from someone else is a great learning tool as you can dissect the Actions and see how the creator achieved that look, and improve your editing skills through that.
Actions are also great if you are working in a team and each of you will need to apply the same edits to multiple photos. Being able to install each other Actions is a great way to make sure that your editing is consistent, and also that your workflows and editing processes are as efficient as possible.
Follow these steps to install Photoshop Actions:
1. You may be able to install Actions by simply unzipping the folder on your computer, and then double-clicking the .ATN files, but if this does not work, move to Step 2 and follow those steps to install your Photoshop Actions.
2. Select “Window” from the top menu in Photoshop, then select “Actions” from that drop-down menu.
3. Select the Actions Palette menu button, which is located in the top right of the “Actions” window.
4. A drop-down menu will appear from this button. Select “Load Actions” from this menu.
5. In the window that opens up, navigate to the folder where you saved your Actions. Select the .ATN files you want to install and click “Open”.
6. Your Action is now installed!
How to Use Photoshop Actions
After you have created or installed your Photoshop Actions, you are ready to use them! Photoshop Actions can be used and applied to any photo you are editing. Follow the steps below to begin using your Photoshop Actions:
1. Select the layer you want to apply the Action to.
2. Find the Action you want to use in the Action panel. You can click the triangle to the left of the name to expand the list of all available options.
3. After selecting the Action you want to use, click “Play” and the bottom of the Action panel.
4. Your image will then be edited with the series of commands contained in that action!
Once you have learned how to install and use them, you will see how Photoshop Actions are fantastic editing tools! They will save you tons of time in your editing process and make your workflow more efficient than it has ever been. They will also help you learn more about Photoshop. Photoshop is a complicated program, but if you can download Actions from someone with more experience than you, you can inspect the Actions they have created and see exactly how they got the end result of that Action. If you do that, you will be creating and using your very own Photoshop Actions in no time at all!