If you are a Designer, photographer, printer, or just an occasional user, Photoshop Actions are one of those time-saving tools that you want (need) to have in your toolbox. From transforming your photograph into a sketch, adding stars to your sky or even making a painting from any image, Photoshop Actions will save you a huge amount of working hours, and speed up your workflow.
A Photoshop Action is made by a series of predefined commands recorded in Photoshop that can be used in the files you are working on. Most of the actions are applied by clicking a single button and it saves you lots of time since instead applying each command manually it do it automatically. We could say that they are a shortcut for adding effects to your images even if you don’t know how to do those steps or how to make that particular effect.
The first thing to do to install an action is to have an action file. Here at Medialoot you will find a wide range of Photoshop actions to download. They come in the form of .ATN files and the first step to install them is to have them in your computer. To make the process of installing an action easier, I will use the Lomo Photoshop Action that you can find here at Medialoot. There are a few different methods to install a Photoshop Action but the simpler and effective ones are those that we will take a closer look here.
As the Lomo Photoshop Action is inside a .ZIP file, the first thing we need to do is to extract the .ATN file and place it anywhere on the computer.
Open Photoshop and go to Window > Actions. This will display the Actions Panel.
In the Actions Panel, click over the top right icon and from the dropdown menu select “Load Actions”.
Locate the .ATN file you just extracted and click on “Load”. You will now see a new action folder with the action you just loaded in the Actions Panel.
Just like the first step of the Method 1, we need to first extract the .ATN file anywhere on your computer.
Go to where you extracted the .ATN file and double click on it.
Go back to Photoshop and you will see the new action folder with the action you just loaded in the Actions Panel.
Using Actions in Photoshop is very simple and it does not requires that you have an advanced Photoshop knowledge. To better explain you how they usually works, let’s see an example using our recently loaded Lomo Action.
Open an image in Photoshop. I will be using this one from Pexels.
If you do not have the Actions Panel visible, go to Window > Actions.
Expand the Action Container folder by clicking on the arrow-right icon.
Select the Lomo Action and click on the Play button of the Actions Panel.
Now you just have to wait a few seconds for the action to finish the process.
Let’s take a look at some Before/After images using a few of the Photoshop Actions that you can find here at Medialoot.
As you may see, installing and using Photoshop Actions is a very easy process and the regular use of them can speed up your workflow while saving you valuable time since the action perform all the predefined commands for you instead of doing them manually. They are especially useful when you must repeat a process many times, because instead of making the whole process by hand, you just need to click one single button.