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Free Photoshop Actions

Journal Entry: Fri Nov 11, 2011, 12:20 PM
Photoshop Actions: the professional's tool, the beginner's crutch, the salesmen's bag of tricks

tldr: Learn how to post edit. Don't rely on actions developed by others and don't pay for them. Develop your own actions. Resources to help you along the way are all over the internet.

I recently released two Photoshop Actions, Bohemian Sundance and Parisian Rain, available for download for free on my website JFotography:

Photoshop Actions, along with GIMP scripts, and other scripted, systematic, post editing procedures, can be very useful for professional photographers who have to edit a large number of photos in a short period of time. They are also useful for quickly surveying a large number of potential post editing routes, say if you want to go for a vintage feel, bring out cool or warm tones, etc.

Vintage Effect - Ps Actions - by photoshop-stock  Sketch Action by mohammed6651 pink shimmer action by Laura1995

But, as one size rarely fits all, Photoshop Actions will generally not do the best job of post editing. Each photo will still need its own set of tweaks and checks. Unsurprisingly, post editing is generally done best when tailored specifically to one photo to address its individual needs. Still, Photoshop Actions can provide a lot of helpful guidance in the post editing procedure.

:thumb84766938: Daydream Free Action by tigerelune

With that being said, Photoshop Actions can also become crutches particularly to beginner photographers and beginner post editors who are not yet too skilled at post editing. Beginners may be tempted to simply use Photoshop actions developed by someone else to perform an array of post editing procedures to enhance their photos instead of learning how to use curves, channel mixers, and other post editing tools thereby crutching and impeding the learning process.

Vintage II - PS Actions by photoshop-stock The Green Forest Action by sd-stock Powerful Colors  3.2 by sa-cool

Perhaps more troubling is that salesmen market these Photoshop Actions as easy, sure-fire ways to enhance your photography with the click of a button. And people pay good money to purchase these Photoshop Actions, often in the ranges of $20 to $200. The truth is if you find a Photoshop Action you like that's available for purchase, there's likely a very similar one available for free.This journal entry is filled with links to free Photoshop Actions on dA alone! Don't be fooled by marketing. Often, just because it costs more doesn't mean it's better. Plus, you can always try to make your own Photoshop Actions to perform achieve similar effects with a little trial and error.

Caffeshop Actions - 1st Set by FairyAngelPrincess Action 06 by AlexEdg JJ's PSD+ATN 1 by enhancers

So does this mean that you should never spend money on Photoshop Actions? Not necessarily. The decision comes down to an evaluation of the worth of your time and the worth of the Photoshop Action developer's time.  If you've found a Photoshop Action you like, you can either spend a few moments of your time looking for something similar or better yet learning how to post edit in a similar manner, or you can appreciate the time the developer spent on making the Photoshop Action and just buy it.

:thumb83425009:  soft glow action by Laura1995 i-Dark 3.01 by sa-cool

Ultimately, Photoshop Actions are but generalized, condensed summaries of post editing procedures. If you know how to do post editing and how to develop the procedures, then you can make your own Photoshop Actions and sell them if you wish. But the knowledge will take you much further and in the long run will be worth much more.

Seasonal Actions by FallOutGirl9001 Photoshop Action 22 by saturn-rings Action 01 by AlexEdg

Here are some excellent resources for how to make Photoshop Actions:……

As always there's a lot more where that came from all over the web. You just have to search a little.

Thanks for your support!
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Chocolatecookiecrumb Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Great journal! I always found your GIMP actions very useful, and I applied them to several of my pictures. I also think that they helped me to understand GIMP a bit better ;)
Still, I am very curious about how you create those wonderful colour hues - I'd like to know about that so that I can create my own scripts (I always feel a bit bad about using someone elses stuff to make my photos prettier) :)
Could you maybe do a tutorial on how to create GIMP scripts, showing which settings you change in order to create a certain effect? Or do you know where I could find such a tutorial?
Oops, that's quite a long comment ;) Sorry for the ramble, hope I'm not too much of a bother :D
MateaLoncar Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2011  Student Photographer
This is wonderful and so very kind of you! Thank you! :huggle:
arch-satan Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
i cant say thank you enough for this helpful journal :hug:
Nirelleth Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2011
I usually use actions in the way you just mentioned like if I am just not sure where to go with the image, so I get an idea in which way to go with the image. Because sometimes one gets a little stuck in the colour tones and just postprocessing ways that one is used to, so the actions can take one out of the box a bit. However I rarely or even never use them in the end picture.
jjdltc Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2011
Totalmente de acuerdo y ademas me parece de lo mejor que lo expreses de esa forma, las acciones de photoshop son facilmente personalizables y uno mismo las puede crear (yo tengo la mia para hacer cosas muy sencillas, como llevar a Blanco y negro y para colocar unos marcos que uso) aun no verifico las que tu recomiendas voy a eso (y como usuario novato te lo agradezco enormemente)

Totally agree and also I think you express it the best in this way, photoshop actions are easily customizable and can create the self (I have mine to do very simple things, like convert to black and white and to place some frames) still does not verify that you recommend buy I'm going to (as a novice user and I appreciate greatly)
Argolith Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
I've never felt any inclination to use a Photoshop Action developed by someone else. To me the whole point of post processing is to put my creativity (and not someone else's) into a picture.
JeanFan Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
It's a good learning technique, finding an effect you like and then looking at the action used to achieve the effect to see how it was done. Almost like learning through replication and imitation.
Argolith Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
Sure, that can help. But I usually have a pretty good idea of how to achieve a particular effect just by looking at the result.
darkmag07 Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2011  Professional Artist
Good points and excellent resource links. Thanks for sharing!
immortal20 Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
SaraJ3an Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2011   Photographer
great journal, And I totally agree, they are a great resource, but in many cases they do need a background knowledge to look great!
The only actions (well lightroom presets) I use regularly are ones I made, I know how they work and have the ability to tweak them ti perfection for individual photos.
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