Photoshop Actions: Where to get them and how to use them

Starting off

First lets get our actions window open in photoshop. Just go to Window>Actions (the shortcut for CS4 is Alt+F9). Now you should see the actions window on the right hand side of the screen by default, go ahead and browse through it and get a feel for it. Now lets get some actions for you to use. Browse through the selections below and download whichever ones you like and save them to your computer, and simply drag and drop them onto the actions window in photoshop and place them wherever you like ( I prefer to make my own folder with my personal actions inside it to separate them from the default photoshop actions, to do that just click the new folder icon, which will create a new set for you to place your actions in).

Getting the actions

All of these action packs below are very simple color and contrast manipulations for photographs, but can be used on other images as well. You can take a guess at what they will look like by checking out all the different styles on the images.

Or you can get all action require HERE

Using the actions

Using actions is probably one of the easiest things to do in photoshop, and is similar to using the built in filters. All you need to do is open your preferred image, select the action you would like to try on it, and press the play button on the bottom of the actions window. If you dont like the effect of the action you use, just undo with Ctrl+Z and try another one.  It is that simple. Here is a before and after I made with a simple color to black and white action I found on

In conclusion

It took less than a second to get from that color photo to a beautiful black and white photo. Actions are very easy and very effective for such a minimal amount of work. If you have a boring portfolio or just a bunch of images that you want to add a little bit of pop to, just go search the web for free actions, I guarantee you will find some that you absolutely love and will continue to use on most of your projects.

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