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How to: Use Photoshop Actions

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Photoshop actions are amazing for simplifying complex procedures. This tutorial will show you how to load an action, how to create an action, and we will talk about why actions are so important. Using an action is kind of like using a preset. If you know that your Instagram images are always cropped and exported the exact same way then you can set up an action to do that in just one click.

Why Are Actions Important?

Actions can save you time. One of the examples we will be using today is frequency separation. Trying to remember the steps and doing it properly can be hard to do. Especially if you only use it for a few photos. By downloading or creating an action it will perform the process for you almost instantly. No more looking through menus finding the right setting. Actions can also be used for batch editing. If you know that you have 50 photos that need to be exported the same way just run an action?

How do I use an action?

You can either create or download an action. If you download an action such as the Avahi Frequency Separation Action then they are easy to install. Generally, when you download an action it will be in a zip folder. You unzip that folder and double-click on the .atn file and it will automatically load into the action palette. If for some reason that doesn’t work then all you have to do is:

Step 1: Open Photoshop

Step 2: Open the Action Palette using the Window tab.

Step 3: Click the menu button in the top right corner (three lines).

Step 4: Select “Load Actions” then navigate to the folder with the .atn file and select it.

Once you have installed the action you click on it in the actions palette and press play. Some (like the Avahi Frequency Separation) will have windows pop up and you might have to make some changes. For example, in our action you have to select how much you want to blur the skin before it will finish performing the action.

How do I create an action?

If you want to make your own actions then it’s really simple to do. You open photoshop, then open the actions palette. At the bottom of the palette there is a “new action” button. You click that and it will ask for a name and if you want to color code it. Then you click the circle button at the bottom. That allows you to record your action. When you are finished making the adjustment then you click the stop button. The action isn’t recording the time you spend between clicks, just the actual clicks you make. So, if you are trying to create an action for a tutorial that you are learning you can press record and still go back and forth to make sure you are doing the right steps.

If you are interested you can download our Frequency Separation Action right HERE.

To learn more about frequency separation check out our youtube tutorial on it.

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