April 14, 2009

All About Photoshop Actions

Hi there! I am excited to be a host this week on the Studio Calico blog! Life for me is crazy and busy and fun at the moment and it seems as though I have a million things going at once... but it is all good and I feel content and blessed and grateful and excited.... And on top of me staying busy with scrapbooking and photography, there is definitely never a dull moment around our household... but what can you expect with 3 little boys and a little girl that is holding her own at keeping up with them! :) I LOVE it!!

Anyway, as you may or may not know I have a few sets of Photoshop Actions that I sell through my blog. And I get quite a few emails each week with questions about my actions. They range from "What is an action?" to "How exactly do I use them?" and everything in between.

So, I thought I would share with you some more information about actions and also give you some tips and tutorials on how to use my actions on your photos. Sound fun? I hope so! Over the course of the week I will show you lots of sample images that I have used my actions on and I will give you my insider tips on how to use them to get the same look on your photos!

Today we are going to start with the basics:

What is an action?
An action is simply a recorded set of steps/commands that you can run on your photo to get a particular effect.

In other words, you might see an image and then ask "How can I get my images to look like that and have that same coloring or those same vibrant colors?" If you asked me how I edited a certain photo to make it look that way, I could tell you each individual step I did and how I did it but it would take a while and you might not even understand how to use some of the same commands that I used. In the end you would probably feel more lost and confused and most importantly you would be thinking "Well I certainly don't have time to do all of that to each of my images.... forget it!"

Here is where an action solves the problem! Instead of me telling you all of the individual steps, I can create an action that has all of those steps/commands recorded exactly how I used/applied them. Then all you would have to do is hit play and the action would run all of the steps for you in the right order and you can end up with the same result! Much easier right?

What software do I need in order to use your actions?
All three of my action sets are currently available for Photoshop 7.0, CS, CS2, CS3 and CS4.
Also, they will all soon be available for Photoshop Elements. My Color Set is currently available for Photoshop Elements 7.0. The Elements set also works with the Mac 6.0 version, but the instructions to load them are a little different so email me if you are a Mac user. Soon I will have all three sets available to purchase for both Photoshop Elements 7.0 and for Elements 6.0 for Mac so keep checking back!

How much Photoshop knowledge do I need to have in order to use your actions?
You really don't need to have much Photoshop expertise at all in order to run and use actions successfully on your photos. Most actions, including mine, come with instructions on loading/running them. From there it is simply a matter of hitting play. Then if there is anything you need to do, the action will pause and give you instructions. Later this week I will walk you through running an action and I will also give you specific tips you can use to tweak the action and adjust it to the right intensity for your liking.

The best thing about actions is that they are a lot of fun! They really open up some exciting things you can do to your photos and you don't even need to know how to do the individual steps! It does all the work for you! I love that! Here a few sample images that I have used my actions on. Throughout the week I will share with you the SOOC (straight out of camera) version of the photo so you can see the difference between the original image and the image after the action has been used. (Click on the images to see them bigger and to get a better feel for the actual colors. They look a lot better and are more true to life when you click on them for some reason!)

As you can tell, these were all taken last week at our Easter festivities! It was right in the middle of the day so the lighting was really bright and they aren't the most technically correct but they capture the moment and that is what matters right? But what I love most about actions is that they can really make those colors pop! So fun!

More tips and tutorials to come later this week!


Anonymous said...

I'm so excited to hear the actions are going to be available for PSE users--especially those of us on Macs! Great news.

gladiator007 said...


Jennifer said...

I can't wait to use the actions. I have Photoshop 7 and PSE 6. Will the versions you're selling be able to be used on an older version than what you have listed here?

Carol said...

i would LUV some actions for my PSE6 pc. hallelujah.

Anonymous said...

I am very interested in trying out some actions. Also, where did you get the adorable Easter dress and shoes? I always love the cute outfits you put on Emily!

maggie holmes said...

thanks! emily's outfit is sort of a hodge podge of different things - both old and new. the tank top, sweater and leggings are from old navy (a while ago) and the skirt is from gap (just recently). the shoes are kenneth cole from a dept store. they were on clearance so i got them in 2 sizes!! yeah!!