Hey there! I'm back and today we are going to take action! Well, okay we are really only going to talk a bit about Photoshop Actions. Photoshop Actions are basically just a recorded set of steps that you can run when you want to perform a task. (Don't you wish there was a action that would do the laundry?) Most scrappers use Photoshop Actions on their photos to convert to black and white or add a cool effect. There are other actions as well though. For instance, there are actions that resize and sharpen pages to put on the web. Text actions can change text into cool looking epoxies or chipboard. There are even actions that will literally scrap a page for you step by step!
Do you have a task that you perform repetitively in Photoshop CS? You can record custom actions. For instance, I recorded an Unsharp Mask action that uses Scott Kelby's recommended settings (Amount: 85% Radius: 1 Threshold: 4) and I use it on almost every photo I edit, quite a time saver. Unfortunately, Photoshop Elements does not have the custom actions feature.
However, you can run actions in either Photoshop CS or Elements. You just have to be sure that the action you are downloading is compatible with the program you have. I'm going to share a few of my favorite free actions here with you. Give them a whirl!
Actions for Photography
TIP: When the action is finished running, you can select the layer the action is on and use the drop down next to the word Opacity to lessen the effect. I find I run the Pioneer Woman's Boost at about 60% when I use it. The same with Seventies - one of my favorite actions in her sets!
Coffee Shop (PS & PSE) - Rita at the Coffee Shop offers a wide array of actions in both PSE and PS formats. I simply adore her Butterscotch Vintage action. It's just stunning! Be sure to check out her black and whites too!
Texas Chicks (PSE) - this site offers a few great Photoshop tools in action form. I use the Defog action and the Noise Reduced all the time. Worth signing up for the newsletter to get access!
Instagram (PS) - I live in the dark ages and don't have an iPhone or even a smart phone. I have this really old flip phone with no keyboard or anything. So I can't take photos with my phone and use the app Instagram. Well now I can simulate that! This set of actions will take your photo and create similar effects to Instagram! Fun!
Rob Carr's Black & White Action (PS) - This was hard to find. I downloaded this action years ago and it is my favorite black and white conversion method. It really creates crisp, stunning black and white conversions. The action stops you in places and let's you tweak the conversion. Really cool!
Digital Scrapbooking Tools
Resize & Sharpen for Web - when posting layouts or photographs online it's important to sharpen them correctly. As well, using this action will easily resize your image to the size you wish.
Polaroid Frames - Polaroid frames are so retro and add interest too. This action set easily converts your image to have a Polaroid frame!
Now you are probably wondering, I've downloaded all these actions now what do I do? You'll need to install them. I could go on and on for pages and pages here, but it's probably better to send you over to Wendy Zines' tutorial to get you started! Once you have the action loaded. You can open the Actions palette and click on it to run it.
I'll be back on Friday with some random tips and tricks. Be sure to stop by tomorrow for an awesome giveaway!