If you’re a designer, photographer or other creative, then you probably use Photoshop a lot. If that’s the case, then you probably know that the software has a built-in programming language that records tasks as actions that you can replay to complete repetitive tasks. Not only can you record your own but you can also import actions; opening up a whole range of effects and time-saving options.
Whether you’re using an older CS or have signed up to the very latest Creative Cloud version, scroll through the list below; there’s bound to be an action that suits your needs.
This action creates two adjustment layers inside a layer group, allowing you to change the red and blue adjustments, as well as the contrast.
Teeth can sometimes appear grey or yellow in photographs depending on the lighting. This useful action can easily brighten up the smiles of family and friends by giving their teeth a clean white finish.
With hi-res digital images being so crisp and precise, you can now give them that nostalgic glow of film photograph by downloading this free action. You can adjust the colour saturation and create rich, sun-bleached photos that still retain a high level of detail.
Popular in the 20s and 30s, 2-strip technicolor film exposed black and white film behind a green filter and a red filter. By merging the green and blue channels in different layers, this action simulates the 2-strip look without damaging the original image.
Perfect for ouydoor pictures, the Hazy Afternoon action certainly lives up to its name by creating a soft gradient colour layer.
This set of 11 actions convert your night-time images into twilight photos by introducing a colour cast and lightening the sky. The effect is rendered using layers, so you can adjust the degree of twilight by reducing the layer’s opacity, making it nice and flexible.Download
This handy selection of light leaks has been created using gradients, making it very flexible for adding non-destructive vintage effects to your images.
A brilliant action that converts a flat vector map into an isometric 3D map mockup. There are three different styles of map available: sand, ice and grass, and the action also allows you to drop in your choice of buildings, trees, landscape elements and signs.Visit Page
DeviantArt is a great place to find Photoshop actions, as this example from BlackLaceStock demonstrates. Included here is a set of actions that add a classic lomo-look to your images, akin to running an instagram effect.Download
Chris Spooner is well known for his excellent Photoshop tutorials and giveaways, and he doesn’t disappoint with this new selection of 10 free retro-style Photoshop actions. Each of the effects is inspired by 35mm film and processing techniques, and includes some lovely gritty options as well as colour treatments.Download
This free Photoshop action washes out some of the colour from an image and gives it a purpley hue. A good way to give your photographs a dramatically downbeat look.Download
This free Photoshop action gives an intense look to blue eyes and is a great effect for those extreme closeups.Download
This free action from MCP Actions offers a simple one-click solution to sharpening, with the ability to control the degree of sharpening that’s been applied after the fact by adjusting the opacity and masking of layers.Visit Page
This action adds a beautiful warmth to your photographs, bringing out rich tones in hair and skin, and softening colours with a pink cast that creates a romantic, nostalgic feel.Download
This simple filter give your photos a tinted, washed-out look with an extra neon touch that’ll turn lowlights into colourful highlights.
Turn any image into a Polaroid instantly with one of 10 different effects. Includes colour treatments and shadows automatically.Download
Featuring some impressive retro Photoshop actions, plus a kit of light leaks and some vintage Photoshop brushes, the Mini Collection from FilterGrade is a free taster of its larger FilterGrade Bundle.Download
Create a lithograph-style image from your raw photos. This works best on larger images that have already been given a medium-contrast treatment.Download
Photoshop actions are extremely useful for wedding photographers, dealing with a huge number of shots. Here you get a set of eleven actions that automatically create common portrait effects, especially around the theme of wedding photography.Download
This action uses contrast to find the edges in your image and automatically render a pencil sketch effect.Download
Remove the lack of contrast that comes with HDR photography with this set of four actions; HDR fix light, normal, heavy, and clicker.Download
Desaturate the colour in your photography with this portrait action, which creates a gorgeous vintage effect.Download
The area between greyscale and colour is split toning and adding this slight change to your photos can have a dramatic effect.Download
Create an instant action-movie-style colour treatment with a blue-green cast, rich saturation and increased contrast.Download
Create round stickers with a curl in the corner, or polaroid-style images with clear sticky tape holding it in place. Site requires free registration to download action.Visit Site
If you’re after a vintage effect for your photography but you’re not entirely sure what, this collection contains 14 assorted vintage actions, so you’re bound to find somethng to your liking.Download
Turn an image into a stamp automatically using an included Photoshop brush to define how the frill will sit along the edge of the final artwork.Download
Automatically remove white backgrounds with this suite of three actions that allow for different automated processes to strip out the background of your isolated images.Download
Make the focal point of an image really stand out with this action from Christopher Fowler, which will train a virtual spotlight on your picture.Download
Automatically render your artwork onto a trifold paper design in pseudo-3D, complete with shadows and shading on the image. Ideal for rendering paper designs ahead of presenting them on-screen to clients.Download
This free Photoshop action allows you to create a long shadow from your text content.Download
This simple action is based on a tutorial on how to create a convincing page curl effect in Photoshop.Download
This action offers a slightly more refined version of the standard sepia effect by adding a contrast curve to age the final result so that it feels like a faded photograph.Download
This simple action creates a beautiful blockbuster-film look, heightening details in your photographs and increasing contrast, while introducing a blue/green tint.Download
This action offers a number of different styles that are more suitable for use in printed brochures and website design by creating a pseudo 3D anaglyphic image by separating out colour channels within your image and offsetting them.Download
This set of actions creates hipstamatic-style images, each of which creates a recognisable treatment including borders and noise.Download
Create an outer space background automatically complete with space dust and nebulous gases. Randomly colours the scene to produce a different effect every time.Download
Do you have any Photoshop actions that you’ve created and you’d like to share with the community? If so, please do. If you’re looking for more freebies, take a look at the top 10 websites to get free images.
Daniel is an Art Director and Graphic Designer with over a decade of experience in advertising and marketing in the Greater Toronto Area.