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Top 10 Best Photoshop Actions 2021: From CyberPunk to Paint Effects

Discover the versatility, creative and time-saving potential of using Photoshop Actions.

Posted 26 Nov 2020
Best Photoshop Actions

As a designer, have you ever wished you could create an effect without having to go through a laborious process every time? If so, then Photoshop actions will be right up your street. But what are the best Photoshop Actions for designers in 2021? Read on to discover and start creating today!

What Are Photoshop Actions?

Photoshop actions are a sequence of events or steps that play through to create a particular effect. You can install these, pre-made by other designers and artists, and you can even create your own Photoshop Action to save yourself time when processing.

Many Photoshop actions, once run, are broken down into folders and layers so that you can make and apply changes non-destructively. This gives effects a real versatility – you can keep using the same awesome Photoshop actions, time and again but still achieve different results.

Some Photoshop actions are deliberately stylized and some aim for more realistic effects. Often it can be hard to tell whether something is real or a Photoshop action.

How to Use Photoshop Actions

There are so many options for Photoshop actions that it can be hard to choose what’s right for you. Using actions that are non-destructive is wise. Most are, but occasionally you’ll find one that works directly on your image and flattens the effect at the end. It’s best to avoid those if you can, but always save a backup just in case.

Always remember to read the guides that come with action download. Installing a Photoshop Action is usually straightforward, but sometimes your image might need to be in a particular format, or you may need to create a new layer to brush onto, for the action to run through successfully. Be sure to read instructions before you start, it’ll save you time and frustration, later.

You can create actions in Photoshop, so if you have a particular process or style that you’d like to recreate and use again with ease, then this is something you’ll definitely want to learn how to do. You can do that by checking out how to create an action in Photoshop.

Read our interview with some of our favorite Photoshop pros for more Photoshop actions tips and tricks.

What Are the Best Photoshop Actions?

Like many presets across different programs, the best Photoshop actions are above all, time-savers. They also mean that you can achieve high-quality special effects, whether you’re looking for print design specific actions, or the best Photoshop actions for photographers – there’s something for everyone, no matter your skill level with the software. Sometimes you might even be lucky enough to come across free Photoshop actions – and who doesn’t love a freebie?!

As well as their practical purposes, good Photoshop actions can also be a great way to learn something new. Turning layers off and on and looking into what they contribute to the overall effect can help you understand how they work, and then potentially replicate the effect in your own way.

When you download an action set they sometimes include a before and after image example, so that you can easily see what the effect will be when you run it. Although they won’t always look the same, it’s a useful place to start.

The items featured in this list are some of our best PS actions, and they’re all available as part of a subscription to Envato Elements.

10. CyberPunk PRO Photoshop Actions by SupremeTones

A very cool set of Photoshop actions aimed at photographers and graphic designers, CyberPunk Pro will give your work a neon blue and pink glow. There are 2 actions each with 8 effects, plus instructions in case you get stuck.

9. Mixed Media Photoshop Action by sevenstyles

Try out sketch effects, watercolor and much more with the Mixed Media set of actions for Photoshop. There’s a video tutorial included to help you get set up as well as how to make more in-depth customizations.

8. Hologram Photoshop Action by Sko4

Replicate your favorite sci-fi movies or futuristic games with this awesome Hologram action. It’s non-destructive and easy to use, just brush over the area where you want the effect to apply and press play!

7. Destruction Photoshop Action – Explosion Effect by iHemalaya

Create beautiful chaos with the Destruction Photoshop Action. The effects include smoke, lights, clouds and dramatic color grading so you can really quickly create something with ‘wow’ factor.

6. Ultra Painting Photoshop Action by SupremeTones

Give your images a professional painting look with this powerful Ultra Painting action for Photoshop. You can use this action without needing the oil plugin, too! It works in just one click.

5. Cartoonize Photoshop Action by iHemalaya

Create unique artwork for posters, flyers, social media and more with the Cartoonize action. It transforms your work into a detailed cartoon in just one click and protects your original layer(s).

4. Evolution Photoshop Action by iHemalaya

Try something a little funky and fresh! The Evolution Photoshop Action includes smoke effects with lights and attractive color grading to create a modern, eye-catching design.

3. Cartoon Painting Photoshop Action by 2lagus

Give your images a dramatic oil painting effect with a smooth cartoon style, in just one click! The actions are easy to use and should work with all versions of Photoshop.

2. Vectorial Photoshop Action by Oxygen_Art

This comprehensive pack contains 5 vector backgrounds that are fully editable, 10 color FX and an action which creates a vector style on your artwork or photo.

1. Painting Photoshop Actions by creativetacos

Stunning paint effects await you with this set of actions for Photoshop. In just one click you can create multiple layers that can then be adjusted to create something bespoke and unique.

Best Photoshop Actions 2020

Don’t miss out on the best Photoshop Actions from the last year.

10. Double Exposure Action by Betoalanis

This set of four Photoshop actions works well with brightly exposed images to create a cool double-exposure effect. Simply run the action on your first image and it’ll ask you for the second. Try using a portrait combined with a landscape photo for the best results.

9. Rain Photoshop Action by M-e-f

Create a realistic rain effect in just a few minutes with this action for Photoshop. There are ten presets included and you can even change the direction of the rain. Add style and atmosphere to your photographs quickly and easily.

8. Magic Photoshop Action by ClauGabriel

Sprinkle a little magic over your photographs by brushing over where you want this effect to be, and then playing the action – it couldn’t be simpler! Each time you run this you’ll get a different result, so you can keep creating great art from one action.

7. Dispersion Photoshop Action by Sevenstyles

Make an awesome fragmented photo style without the hassle of having to cut out bits of the image yourself. With the Dispersion Photoshop Action, all you need to do is brush over your image and press play on the action.

6. Fibrum – Lines Art Photoshop Action by Profactions

This is a really creative and unique action for Photoshop that lets you create a modern-art, almost ‘blueprint’ style with your photographs. There are several action modes and 10 each of color and frame presets, and background textures.

5. Pencil Sketch Photoshop Action by AB-Designer

If you love traditional styles then you’ll enjoy this Pencil Sketch effect. This Photoshop download includes brush and pattern files as well as the action, so you’ll be able to create and customise until your heart’s content.

4. FilterGrade Light Leaks Bundle by Filtergrade

Light leaks are a great way to add a film look to your images. This bundle of light leaks includes 32 options in a variety of colours, plus a bonus collection of eight film effects. Apply your light leaks with just one click.

3. Rose Gold by Creativetacos

Add a soft, luxurious rose gold color to your photographs with this Photoshop action collection. If you use Lightroom with Photoshop then you’ll be pleased to know they work across both pieces of software, and you can use them on your RAW photos as well as JPEG.

2. Radiant Photoshop Action by iHemalaya

Dazzle your designs and photos with Radiant for Photoshop. This action includes effects like glitter, shimmer, and more. Paint over your image and run the desired effect action to create brightly colored particles.

1. Grass Photoshop Action by Sko4

You can afford to let the grass grow with this cool Photoshop action! Cover your text or logo in lush, realistic greenery in just one click. The download includes an action, brush, and pattern to complete the effect.

If our Photoshop actions collection has whetted your appetite, then you can head over to Envato Elements, to explore even more amazing Photoshop actions.

We’d also love you to subscribe to the Envato YouTube Channel to keep you up to date with everything Photoshop related, including this great video on the 10 Best Photo Effects for Photoshop.

Like the header image featured in this post? Our Design team created it using items from schum45 and SupremeTones on Envato Elements.

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