How to Create and Use Custom Photoshop Actions

Stock Photo - Skateboarder riding skateboard through the streets

Stock Photo - Skateboarder riding skateboard through the streets

Photoshop Actions make your life so much easier! How do you start or master this tool? In this article, I’ll show you how to create and use your custom actions using Adobe Photoshop.

What is a Photoshop Action?

A Photoshop Action is literally one of best features of Photoshop! It basically allows you to record a specific set of tasks and commands in order, then play back those actions to achieve the same effects on other files. For instance, if you want to a quick way to change a photo from color to black and white without using adjustment layers, just create a quick Photoshop Action!

With Photoshop Actions you can create amazing effects in half the time.

So What Are They Used For?

You can use Photoshop Actions for almost anything. Here are just a few ways you can utilize them for your work.

  • Create cool photo effects
  • Retouch photos in seconds
  • Create exciting text effects
  • Use for small tasks like resizing and rotating images
  • Use for preparing marketing materials
  • And so much more!

How Do I Record a Photoshop Action?

Step 1

Creating an action in Photoshop is a piece of cake! Simply access the Actions Panel by going to Window > Actions or hit Alt+F9 on your keyboard. Next, decide what kind of action you would like to create.

PSActions_Record_step1aFor this example, I’ll create a quick action for changing a photo from color to black and white.

PSActions_Record_step1bStep 2

Open your photo into Photoshop. Double-click the background layer to convert it to a normal layer. With the Actions Panel open, select Create New Action. Name your new action Black and White and hit Record. Everything you do from this moment on will be recorded, so be careful with which steps you take next.

PSActions_Record_step2Step 3

Go to Image > Adjustments > Hue & Saturation. Bring down the Saturation to -100 to de-saturate the photo.

PSActions_Record_step3aFor added contrast, now go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness & Contrast. Change the Brightness to 8 and the Contrast to 100. When you’re finished, hit the Stop button to stop the recording.

PSActions_Record_step3bHere is what the Action Panel will look like when you’re finished.

PSActions_Record_step3cPlaying Your Action

Now let’s play your action! Open a different photo into Photoshop. Go to the Actions Panel again and click on your Black and White Action. Now hit Play!

PSActions_SecondExampleAnd You’re Done!

Your action will play the same exact steps without you having to ever lift a finger! Here’s the final result on a completely different photo. See how quickly that worked?

Did you know that Photoshop already comes with presets for Photoshop Actions? Dive into this fun feature by trying out the presets on your own photos and designs. Practice creating your own and discover new ways to make your work faster.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this article. Take your time getting to know this feature and enjoy incorporating into your own workflow. Good luck!

Other Photoshop Basics You Might Find Useful:

123RF Design: Top 10 Guide To Using Photoshop Layers

Photoshop Best Practices: Reduce File Size

Top 5 Tips Every Beginner To Photoshop Must Know

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