30 Awesome Tutorials That Teach You How to Create Photoshop Actions
Photoshop is an incredibly powerful tool, and one of the best ways to get the most out of it is to use actions. An action is essentially a script that tells Photoshop to process multiple tasks in a row. Regardless of whether you are using Photoshop for photo editing or for design, actions can save you a loads of time.
Actions can be useful during photo editing for basic steps that may be needed with a lot of different photos. For example, you may want to use an action that will lighten dark photos and brighten colors.
You can also use actions for tasks like applying a watermark or logo to a number of different photos.
As a designer, you could use an action to apply guides at specific intervals that you use frequently. You could also use an action to quickly apply a text effect rather than manually re-creating the effect for multiple layers of text, or text in multiple different files.
There are many different uses for actions, and the more you use Photoshop, the more possibilities you will see.
If you want to use actions, you can either create your own, download free actions, or purchase premium actions.
While there are plenty of great actions already available, it’s extremely useful to know how to create your own actions. There will be times when you want to do something specific with an action and you may not be able to find one that already exists. If you know how to create your own, you won’t need to rely only on actions that are available from other people.
With that in mind, I’ve put together this list of tutorials that show you how to create Photoshop actions. Some of the tutorials are rather basic and are great for those who are new to creating actions. Others are more in-depth and show you how to create actions for specific types of effects. Hopefully, all of these tutorials will help you to see exactly how you can use actions in your own workflow.
How to Create Photoshop Actions
Filter Grade is a leading site that sells Photoshop actions and Lightroom presets for photo editing. The founder, Mike Moloney, has created actions that have been sold to tens of thousands of customers, and he has written this article that shows the basic steps to create your own actions. This is an intro-level article that is great for anyone who has never created actions.
How to Create Actions in Photoshop
This video tutorial from Ben Willmore shows how to create a sample vintage effect action. It’s an excellent intro-level tutorial that shows all of the steps you can follow to create this specific action, or apply the same principles to create your own action.
Using Actions to Automate Tasks in Photoshop
This article from photographer Trevor Morris is very detailed and gives some extremely helpful tips. The tutorial shows the generic steps to create an action, as well as the specific steps to create two different actions for improving workflow.
How to Create a Photoshop Batch Action
This is a really useful tutorial that can save you a ton of time. It shows how to create apply an action to multiple photos at the same time. If you have several photos taken at the same time in the same conditions, you may want to apply the same effects to all the photos.
Use Photoshop’s Batch Command to Quickly Save Images for the Web
If you run a website or blog, chances are, you’re saving and uploading a lot of images. This tutorial (both text and video) shows how to create a Photoshop action that will batch process your images to save them for the web, which can save a lot of time in your workflow.
Quickly and Easily Create Your Own Photoshop Actions
This tutorial at Fstoppers shows how to create a Photoshop action for sharpening photos.
How to Create a Basic Photoshop Action for Your Photography
This tutorial leads you through the process of creating a simple action that will adjust the contrast, tonal range, saturation, and sharpness of a photo.
Stepping Through An Action
This one is a bit different, but equally important. Although this article does not go step-by-step through the process of creating an action, it is extremely useful for understanding how actions work and how to get the most out of them. The article basically de-constructs an action so you can understand how it works and what it does to a file (in this case, a photo).
Although actions are great, there will be times when the result is not exactly what you need. You don’t have to scrap the action altogether when this happens. This tutorial shows the layers and effects that are created by a sample action and how to customize them to get the best results for a specific photo. When you understand the ins-and-outs of actions, you’ll be able to create better actions, and you’ll be able to use them more effectively.
How to Automate Your Workflow in Photoshop
This article focuses on using actions to speed up the process of doing repetitive tasks, including batch processing to apply an action to multiple files.
How to Create Photohsop Actions the Right Way so They Work Every Time
If you’ve used many free Photoshop actions, I’m sure you’ve experienced the frustration that happens when the actions don’t work. Although actions can be extremely useful, they have to be created the right way or they won’t work in certain situations. You might get an error message that a layer doesn’t exist or one of many other errors that are common with actions. All of these things can be avoided if you create the action properly to begin with.
How to Create Professional Photoshop Actions
This video tutorial from Phlearn focuses on the process of creating actions, and specifically, how to make sure your action will work and not produce the common error messages.
How to Create a Photoshop Action to Add Dramatic Effects to Photos
In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create an action that uses a few different layers and effects to give your photos a dramatic look instantly.
Automating Color Corrections with Photoshop Actions
This tutorial is specifically written with product photos in mind. It shows how to create and use actions to bulk color correct your photos.
How to Create a Light Leak Photoshop Action
Light leaks are popular effects, and the easiest way to add a light leak to a photo is through the use of an action. This tutorial shows how to create your own custom action that you can use with any of your photos.
How to Make a Retro Comic Book Portrait Effect Action in Photoshop
In this article, you’ll see the exact steps to create an action that will give your photos a fun retro comic look.
How to Make a 3D Text Effect Action with Layer Styles in Photoshop
Actions can be used for much more than just photo editing. This tutorial shows a perfect example of how you can use actions for advanced text effects.
How to Create a 3D Golden Cinematic Text Effect Action in Photoshop
This is another tutorial for creating an awesome text effect action that you can apply at any time. This one creates a cinema-inspired text effect that involves many different steps. Create the action and you’ll only need to go through the process once, then you can apply it to any text quickly.
How to Create a Photoshop Action to Turn a Photo Into a Drawing
In this tutorial you’ll learn how to create an action that will apply a very unique effect to any photo. The end result will be a transition between a photo and a drawing.
How to Create a Fun Filter Effect Action in Photoshop
It’s a fairly long process to create this fun effect, so why not create an action to be able to apply the effect quickly and easily to any photo?
How to Create and Use Photoshop Actions
This tutorial from Design Panoply (both text and video) shows the process of creating an action for applying a vintage effect to your photos.
How to Create a Vintage Photo Effect Action in Photoshop
This is another tutorial for a vintage effect, but its a much different type of effect than the previous example. This one also incorporates texture into the effect.
How to Create a Sketch Effect Action in Photoshop
This tutorial shows how to create a fun sketch effect. You can easily apply this effect to any photo to get a playful effect that makes it look like a sketch.
Create a Photoshop Action to Add Texture Overlays
This tutorial shows how to create an action that will give your photos some added character by applying a textured effect.
How to Create a Photo Collage Effect in Photoshop
With this action, you will start with a single photo and give it the appearance of a collage made up from several different photos. This is a fun effect that you could use for a lot of purposes, including creating images to be used on your blog.
Creating a Photoshop Action to Watermark Your Images
One common use of actions is to apply your logo or watermark to photos before uploading them to the internet. This tutorial shows how to create your own action that will apply your watermark quickly and easily.
Batch Watermarking in Adobe Photoshop
Adding your watermark to a single photo is helpful, but chances are, you’ll need to duplicate that process with many photos. This tutorial (text and video) shows how to batch process the addition of the watermark to save you lots of time.
How to Create an Action to Blur the Background in a Photograph
Blurring the background of a photo can help the main subject to stand out. You can create this effect when you’re taking the photo, but sometimes you may want to achieve this type of look after the photo has already been taken. This tutorial shows how you can create an action to make it easy.
How to Create Photoshop Actions to Make Star Trails from a Single Photo
This simple tutorial (text and video) shows a fun effect that you can use with your night photos. Typically, you’ll need multiple photos to merge in order to get the star trail look, but this approach replicates the look with a single photo.
How to Make a Photoshop Action to Create a Portrait Photo Effect
This tutorial is in both text and video format, and you can follow it to create an action for use with portraits.
How to Create an Awesome Dispersion Action in Photoshop
This is a more advanced tutorial that shows how to create a really nice dispersion effect that you can use with any photo for a look that stands out.
How to Create an Ashes and Embers Dispersion Action in Adobe Photoshop
This is another advanced tutorial that teaches a different type of dispersion effect.