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What Are Photoshop Actions and Why Should You Use Them?

Upgrade your images the easy way with Photoshop actions.

Portrait for Envato By Envato
Posted 17 Jul 2017

Photoshop can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to be a Photoshop expert to take advantage of the Photoshop Action feature. We are breaking it down and providing the who, what, when, where, why and how of Actions so you can add a wow-factor to your work just like the pros.

Who Uses Photoshop Actions?

You and anyone else working in a creative digital space, who is looking to make photo edits and enhancements. You can build your own action, or you can install an action that’s already been created by a developer. The easiest option is to install and apply a Photoshop action someone else has created. Browse through the GraphicRiver library or check out our curated list of the 30 must-have Photoshop actions to get started. Once you have installed the action, you can apply it to any and all of your images.

What Are Photoshop Actions?

Photoshop Actions are time-saving tools that allow you to add captivating effects to your files with just a few clicks. With Photoshop Actions you can easily add a weather or elemental effect, some sparkle, or a watercolor or sketch effect. The possibilities are truly endless.

For example, using the Sandstorm Photoshop action, you can add a dispersion effect to take your photo to the next level and transform an image from this:

Sandstorm Photoshop action in action

To this:

Sandstorm Photoshop action final result

But adding a special effect to your file takes a lot of time if you have to run through each step manually every time you want to alter an image. Photoshop Actions combine, save and automate all of the steps you need to take, so that you can add the effect with just a few clicks. They are available for download in the form of .ATN files.

Check out more before-and-after Photoshop actions from our community. 

When Do You Use Photoshop Actions?

Anytime you want to add a cool effect to your image. With the Action its easy and takes nearly no time at all.

Where Do You Apply PhotoshopActions?

Apply Photoshops Actions to text, images or animations. You can use the tool to enhance any file on any blog or website.

Text Effects

1. Cyberpunk 80s Text Effects

2. Old Movie Title by ShinyPixel

3. Color Fusion Photoshop Actions by pixelbuddha_graphic

4. Lines Photoshop Action by sevenstyles

5. Cloud Photoshop Action by FreezeronMedia

Photoshop actions can save you hours of work and frustration. Use them to speed up your workflow and bypass  the arduous process of completing each technical step every time you want to alter your image. Actions are shortcuts for creatives looking to produce stunning professional results quickly.

How Do You Install and Create Photoshop Actions?

To take the guess work out of the installation process, graphics guru, Kirk Nelson provided a simple step by step guide you can follow detailing how to install Photoshop Actions.

Once the action is installed, it’s easy to use. The Photoshop Actions available on Envato’s GraphicRiver include demonstrations and customization tutorials so you can make the most of the action.

Gold Confetti Photoshop Action by sevenstyles

If you want to get a bit more technical and create your own personalized action, I suggest you check out Kirk’s course about how to build your own Photoshop Action.

For even more information about Photoshop actions, check out the below blog posts and tutorials on Tuts+

Lightroom Presets and Photoshop Actions are a bit like magic. They can help get a heap of work done in a very short span of time. Here are our top 15 Lightroom Presets and Photoshop Actions, to help you add some amazing visual spice to your images.

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