Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How to Use Actions in Photoshop

HOORAY!  I was finally able to add pictures again.  I'm really not sure what the problem was.  Thanks for all your suggestions.  I would have loved to try uploading from Picasa, but, it wasn't even giving that option.  The uploader just wasn't working.  It kept telling me that there was an error and to try again later.  :P  Annoying.  But, blogger must have fixed the problem, so, we'll just move on now.

Remember a few weeks ago when I mentioned that I had discovered the wonders of Actions?  And how I said that I'd be talking more about my discovery later? 

Well, it's later! :)

I've been using Photoshop for a few years now, and while not a master, can use it fairly effectively.  But.  Editing takes a lot of time.  Tweaking each picture individually for a blog post can take hours (and hours.)  It can be such a time suck at times that I just want to post my post with my pictures straight out of the camera (SOOTC). 

But I can't do that to you guys!  Part of what makes a good post is GREAT pictures.  So, what's a girl that wants to have nicely edited pictures, but with out a ton of time to do?

She uses actions!! 

Perhaps you, like me have heard of actions before, but don't know how to use them and figure it must be hard and not really worth the time.  Oh, MAN was I wrong on that one.

Actions make everything faster.  SO. MUCH. FASTER.  So, I'm going to show you how easy it is to take this picture:

(Which is a great picture to start with.)

And turn it into this picture:

In three easy steps.  That's right.   THREE. 
(Isn't my seester pretty?  And I must say, I have a rather adorable nephew.  I know, I'm lucky.)

Anyway.  The difference between the two pictures isn't crazy nuts, but the second picture is definitely clearer and brighter then the first.  In blogland that equals better tutorials and more dramatic posts.  Which you want.  So, if you have Photoshop and haven't explored the fantastic-ness of actions, you really must.

First, you obviously are going to need an action (or 50) to work with.  The Pioneer Woman has some AWESOME ones for FREEEE!  Go there now and download them; I'll wait.  You will thank me.  When you download them, choose to open them instead of saving them.  This will automatically put them in the actions area of photoshop.  Once you have done this you are ready to start "playing".  (Haha!  Pun intended.)  You can also do a search for "free actions" and a bunch will show up.  There are tons of actions for purchase as well.  Check Etsy or search google.

Ok.  You've downloaded them?  Great, let's get started.

You need to make sure that your actions tool is open.  To do that click on "window" then make sure there is a check mark next to "Actions"; if there is not, click on it.

Once you've done that a box called "actions" will pop up.  If you have downloaded and opened the actions from Pioneer Woman, you will have the actions that I am using in this tute.  Scroll through them until you find the action called "Define and Sharpen" and click on it once. 

Then find the "play" button.  It's the arrow button that looks like a play button. ;)  Click "play".

Here is the "Define and Sharpen" button in use.  It's subtle, but the colors are slightly more vibrant and defined.  Everything just looks a little clearer/cleaner.

Now find the action called "Slight Lighten" click on it, then click the "play" button again.

Here it is in "action".  (haha!  I'm having a good time with puns today.)  The picture is definitely brighter.  Not enough to wash them out, just enough to make it easier to see them.  If your picture is still too dark you can play this action again or (adjust it manually.)

 Ok guys, last step!  Find the "Boost" action, select it then play it over the picture.

Here is change picture for this action:

I LOVE the boost action!  It high lights their faces a bit, brightens up the colors, lightens the whole picture up just a bit and just all in all make a picture better.

Here are the before and after pictures side by side:

When the pics are side by side you can really see the difference between the two.  The after pic just pops!

See how easy that was?!  If you have photoshop, go get busy!  If you don't, there are options available to you online.  Try Picnik.com or Picasa. 

Having GREAT pictures really makes your blog so much more enjoyable to read, so, give picture editing a try today!  Good luck and HAVE FUN!!!  Email me if you have any questions!! :)

I'll be linking to the lovely linkys on my side bar.


  1. Wow! This was really helpful! I am not well-versed in photography, but you have inspired me! Thank you for sharing your knowledge! :-)

  2. Maleah!! This is a GREAT tutorial!! REALLY! Well done. And your blog is adorable - love your background and header - and informative with lots of good info. Thanks for sending me the link.


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