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Photoshop actions capture all of the steps needed to transform a file and let you apply them with just one click. And with a single click, you can take the creative photo effect and workflow steps from another artist and add them to your own picture, creating everything from improved portraits to radically altered double-images.
Best Photoshop actions and Photoshop effects available on Envato Elements
In this roundup, I”ve scoured the web for 100 of the best free Photoshop actions for your ease of use. We”ll also take a look at our best premium PSD actions and add-ons. For beginners, we”ll start off with a brief explanation of how to create and install Photoshop actions. Let”s dive in!
What are Photoshop Actions?
A Photoshop action is a tool which can perform a series of steps and settings to perform a task or apply a creative photo effect in Photoshop. A Photoshop action replays a set of instructions in seconds which may otherwise task minutes to hours to complete. Therefore, Photoshop actions can also be extremely useful timesavers when you find yourself performing the same steps on all of your images.
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You can check out our 10 favourites on our Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel or continue below for our big 100:
How to Create a Photoshop Action
Recording a photo action in Photoshop is pretty simple. Open up the Actions panel and click the New Action button seen in the image below. (Tip: If you can”t see the Actions panel, click Window, then click Actions. This will add the Actions button to the panel dock.)
This should pop open a new window containing various options for the photo action. Here you can name the action and place it in a set. You can also assign a keyboard shortcut that will activate the action immediately in Photoshop. This is quite handy for those actions you find yourself using on a daily basis.
Once you click Record in the window above, all that”s left is to carry out the steps you”d like to be recorded in the photo action. Keep in mind that selection sizes, saving, and other very specific steps will be replicated exactly in the action. Try to keep your steps generic enough that they”ll work on the full range of images you”ll need the action to apply to.
When you”ve finished carrying out all the desired steps, click the Stop button in the action menu. You can click the Play button to perform the action on another file.
How to Install Photoshop Actions
There are multiple ways to install Photoshop actions. For starters, you can drag the downloaded actions into the Actions folder contained within the Photoshop Presets folder in your Photoshop application folder. Note that actions placed here may require a Photoshop restart to appear in the Actions menu.
Alternatively, you can hit the hamburger menu on the right of the actions menu and click on the Load Actions option. This allows you to navigate to any actions on your computer and load them instantly into Photoshop.
Now that you can install Photoshop actions and even create your own, download a few of the free options below and start making your images look amazing with a single click!
For an in-depth look at how to install actions, see our tutorial, How to Install Photoshop Actions. If you”re a visual learner, you can watch the tutorial from our Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel instead.
10 Premium Photoshop Actions for Photos
Don”t have time to sift through and test the 100 free Photoshop actions in this tutorial? Need professional-quality results? No problem. Try out some of the actions below from Envato Elements, an all-you-can-download service for creatives that includes hundreds of top-quality Photoshop presets and actions.
Also, would you like to know our best-selling Photoshop actions from last month? Scroll down after the free PSD actions and check them out!
1. Double Exposure Photoshop Action (ATN)
Just as the name suggests, this action allows you to quickly introduce double-exposure effects to your photos.
2. Cosmic Photoshop Action (ATN)
This stunning action brings fiery sparks to an image. Cosmic is one of the coolest Photoshop actions to download. Perfect for action shots in need of excitement!
3. Winter Photoshop Actions (ABR, ATN)
Seeking hot results from frozen scenes? Try out this Photoshop photo effect. This special action pack will get you started: rain, snow, or shine, there’s an effect for every condition.
4. CineStock Photoshop Actions (ATN)
Trying to capture the look and feel of your favorite film? Cinema effects are unmatched for their distinctive quality. And now you can bring them to your own work with this pack of 18 Photoshop actions to download.
5. Blockchain 1 Photoshop Action (ABR, ATN, PAT)
Bring a futuristic, apocalyptic look to your photos with the Blockchain action. This Photoshop photo effect is perfect for everything from glitch portraits to sci-fi marketing.
6. Fibrum: Lines Art Photoshop Action (ATN)
Along the same lines (pun definitely intended), this stylish action transforms your images into a mass of squiggly lines. A quick and visually arresting Photoshop photo effect.
7. Selective Color Area Photoshop Action (ATN)
To highlight certain areas and grab people’s attention, selective colorization is the perfect technique. This action takes the guesswork out of colorizing and enables maximum customization with minimal effort required!
8. Watercolor Photoshop Action (ABR, ATN)
Great with photography but not so good at painting? Take the easy way out and transform your photos into beautiful watercolors with this action. It”s one of the more effective Photoshop actions to download.
9. Royal Wedding Pro Photoshop Actions (ATN)
Capturing the big day is all about timing and post-processing. The first is on you; the second can be left to this action-based wedding photography toolbox. Preserve the special day forever with adjustments for any wedding scene.
10. Pinhole Photography PS Actions (ATN)
Pinhole is a cool (but slow) analog photography technique. This action lets you emulate its unique effect on any image you choose.
Head on over to the Envato Blog to find out the Top 10 Best Photoshop Actions from 2020 for even more premium, high quality Photoshop effects.
100 Free Photoshop Photo Effects & PSD Actions
Let”s jump into the best free Photoshop actions and effects. First, let”s check out our list over on our Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel , which goes into the 10 best free Photoshop actions!
Best-Selling Photoshop Actions Last Month From Envato Elements
You”ve seen a selection of our top actions and a big list of free Photoshop actions. Now, let me share with you the five best-selling PSD actions from last month. Add them to your collection now!
1. Illustration Sketch Painting Photoshop Action (ABR, ATN, PAT)
The Illustration Sketch Painting action has been a best-seller in October and November. See how this PSD action transforms a picture into a beautiful and traditional illustration. You”ll get a mix of sketch line art, watercolor, hand-drawn doodles, and more.
This Photoshop action is easy to use, the result is fully customizable, and you also have a video tutorial available.
2. Painting Photoshop Action (ABR, ATN, PAT)
If you like the painting effect, you”ll love this Photoshop action. In just a few clicks, you can create a stunning piece of art.
The Painting Photoshop Action gives you fully layered and customizable results. It also comes with 25 color looks to choose from. This PSD action is unique, so every time you run it, you”ll get a different result!
3. Cyber Poster Photoshop Action (ATN, ABR, PAT, CSH)
The Cyber Poster Photoshop action will transform your pictures into really cool cyber posters. This modern effect is achieved with liquid shapes, lines, and cyber colors. This PSD action also comes with a detailed help file.
4. Digital Sketch Photoshop Action (ABR, ATN, PAT)
This Photoshop action lets you create a professional artistic effect. It incorporates pencil hatching and watercolor to create a realistic sketch with fully editable layers, colors, and elements.
The Digital Sketch Photoshop Action includes a tutorial link where you can learn how to easily turn your images into digital art.
5. Double Exposure Photoshop Action (ATN)
The Double Exposure Action is another crowd favorite. You can create a double exposure effect in seconds. It”s a wonderful PSD action to have in your collection because it has multilingual support and includes a detailed video tutorial. Don”t miss it!
Previous Months” Best-Selling Photoshop Actions
Didn”t find what you”re looking for? Here are some best-sellers from previous months.
1. Cartoon Painting Photoshop Action (ATN)
Our best-selling action in September and October was this Cartoon Painting Photoshop Action. You”ll get a professional portrait oil painting effect, combined with a cartoon look. This PSD action will transform your pictures into unique creations.
2. Polygon Photoshop Action (ATN)
The polygon effect is a hot trend, and that”s why this Photoshop action is one of our best-sellers this month. The Polygon action uses Photoshop”s 3D capabilities and the Oil Paint filter. Some of its cool features are:
Choose from seven levels of polygon detail.Use and color the wireframes separately.Control the brightness/contrast of different tonal ranges in your how-yolo.net.Apply glows to the highlights of your how-yolo.net with one click.Choose from 30 color options.Link to video tutorial included.
3. Cartoonize Photoshop Action (ATN)
The next most popular action is also about cartoon effects. This PSD action is really easy to use—you don”t need professional editing skills to turn a picture into a realistic cartoon!
4. Mixed Media Photoshop Action (ABR, ATN, PAT)
This action was a best-seller in August and September. This awesome PSD action will turn your images into realistic works of art. Try it for your next project!
5. Real Paint FX Photoshop Add-On Extension (ATN, PSD, PAT, ABR, PNG)
Another best-seller from August and again in September. Do you want to learn how to turn pictures into paintings? This PSD action is the trick. It”s a fantastic photo effect that will create a realistic painted look on any picture. Bonus: this Photoshop action includes FxBox, a free Photoshop extension with a library of effects.
6. CyberPunk PRO Photoshop Actions (ATN)
Another popular action in recent months was CyberPunk. This cool PSD action is inspired by futuristic games and will give your images a neon blue and pink look. The pack includes two actions with eight different effects.
7. Hologram Photoshop Action (ATN, PAT)
Do you like the hologram trend? Check out this cool hologram Photoshop action and easily transform your pictures into eye-catching holograms.
8. Destruction Photoshop Action – Explosion Effect (ABR, ATN)
To close out the best-selling Photoshop action showcase, we”ve got this one. It”s really easy to add smoke, lights, clouds, and color grading to create an awesome destruction effect.
More Great Photoshop Actions
Love these resources? Discover more great Photoshop actions from these links:
Looking for Lightroom Presets? Why not check out the following articles and recommendations to learn more: