Installing and Using Photoshop Actions!

Okay my friends. For those of you who have Photoshop Elements 7 there is a feature you can use that you may not be aware of; or maybe you were and didn't know how to use it. I never knew about Actions until I stumbled across it in another blog I was reading and they are awesome if you find the right ones. Here are a couple recent images I used the actions on:

I love it. First off you have got to find some actions that you like. You can go to google or any other search engine and type in "photoshop actions" or something similar. Personally, I found that the best place with the most actions available for download was right here at deviantART. Your downloads MUST be .ATN for it to work properly in the photoshop action player. You will find that some of the actions are already extracted and already saved as .ATN but some are in zipped folders so after the download you must open the folder and click on "extract all files" from the left menu. (When you download you can save the files to where ever you like, just make sure you can find them for the next step.)

Next you must go to the file/folder where you have saved all your downloads. (Personally I save mine to My Documents/Downloads) Once there and you see all your downloaded actions "restore down" that window so that you can open another window adjacent to it. Now, depending on your operating system and computer your Photoshop files and folders may be in a different location than mine so you may have to do a little digging to find it. But on my computer (Windows XP) you follow this path: C:/Documents and Settings/All Users/Application Data(hint: if you do don't see a folder entitles "Application Data" you must show your hidden folders. To do so click here)/Adobe/Photoshop Elements/7.0/Locale/en_us/workflow panels/actions. Whew! That was a mouthful! Once inside the actions folder you may see a few of the default actions that comes pre-installed into photoshop-leave them be..then 'restore down' that window too so that two windows are side by side like this:

What you will now do is drag your .ATN files from the "downloads" window (the one on the right in the photo above) into the 'action' folder (one on the left). Once you have completed this process with all your downloaded actions close both windows and open your photoshop elements editor. Open an image you would like to edit and instead of using "full" edit you will go to "guided" edit. There you will find a list of different things you can do to your image down the right hand column and down towards the bottom of that list you will see "Action Player" (make sure all your drop down menus are open so that you can click on this):

Then there will be another drop down menu where you will select one of your newly downloaded actions that you just moved into your 'actions' folder and hit "play" below.

It will take you through a series of changes to your photo and periodically will ask you if you want to "continue" with the full change or "stop" where it is.

If you choose "continue" it will keep editing and asking if you would like to stop or not and if you keep pushing continue it will go until the final step. If you push stop the result will be the current photo that is on the screen. Here is a complete action played to make a photo into an "aged" photo:

Now you have effects similar to those you can get in lightroom (not saying as GOOD as, but similar!). I hope you enjoy!

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