Saturday, April 4, 2009

Photoshop Actions

I used to spend a lot of time tooling around in Photoshop making my photos look perfect, or crazy. That was all well and good, but with the appearance of Bobo on the scene, my Photoshop time was drastically decreased. I was never really into actions before, but once I realized how fun, controllable and quick they were I was a convert.

If I just want to quickly slap a picture up I usually just resize it and optimize the Levels, and call it a day (like the picture above). But, if I want it to look fancy, which includes a lot of the pictures I put up here, I run and tweak a few actions on them.

There are free actions all over the place. I could make my own but I haven't had much time to play around with that. I can't imagine people paying for them, but there are lots of 'artists' who sell their actions. Stupid if you ask me. Just google them, or even better head on over to Deviantart and search for Photoshop (your version) actions, and voila... a bunch of great free sets. The pics above and below are just a single action, 'Missing Mile' from Alice_in_Underland 's Photoshop Color Actions2 set I found on Deviantart. Awesome.

When I have a blurry or otherwise poor quality photo but I still think its cute, a way to salvage it is to run a bunch of stuff on it and make it more conceptual than about the caliber of the focus. The one below was super blurry, so after I sharpened the heck out of it until it looked nasty (worse than this, trust me), I threw a bunch of actions at it. Still not a great picture, but I wanted to preserve the nose-picking moment for all time. AWWR.

And if you want to get really weird with your stuff you can just call it photo art and people will nod and smile.

Oh, when I don't have a lot of time to find the perfect action, my standby is using one of Pioneer Woman's actions. They aren't fancy or professional or the best out there, but the names are intuitive and they have a nice range of effects. You can download them... oh fine let me get the link. Here, this will get you to both her sets as well as show examples of what each one does. It's a good place to start. And, super easy ... she explains the whole deal.


Tavus said...

that's really cool, but the actions don't work if you have only Elements, do they? :( i tried one of the PW ones but they didn't work. oh well...

Emily said...

You can use Actions with Elements, but you have to get special Elements-compatible actions (just google for them), and access them a bit differently. Here's an article on how to do that:

And here's a forum link to some Elements-friendly actions that are apparently pretty good:


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