Adobe Photoshop comes with the option to add new Photoshop actions, plugins and effects to enhance your editing.
There are hundreds of thousands, if not thousands of thousands of these zipping all over the world wide web. Some are free action sets, and some are expensive.
Here are 11 best Photoshop actions, plugins and effects. To save you from sifting through them all.
How to Install and Use Actions
The Easy Method
There are a few ways to install Photoshop Actions on your computer. They all start out like this:
- Download your action. Save the .zip file to your desktop.
- Make a backup copy somewhere. Anywhere.
- Open the .zip file by double-clicking it. This should produce a folder containing the contents of the .zip file on your desktop.
Once you’ve done that, the easy method goes like this:
- Double-click the .atn files within the folder you’ve just created. Anything ending in .atn (if you have TRA2, there will be just one file. TRA1 has four .atn files).
- There is no step #2. Your actions should be loaded into the Photoshop Actions Palette.
If that doesn’t work (because of the way your computer is set up), or you have multiple versions of Photoshop on one machine, then you’ll need to do things the hard way:
- Open Photoshop, and click on the Actions Palette menu button located in the top-right of the Actions Palette;
- Select “Load Actions”;
- Select one of the .atn files from the download;
- Repeat for the other .atn files if necessary.
11. Soft Skin Tones
Used in combination with an existing selection or mask.
This smooths skin while retaining textures and colouring, saving clean-up time.
This cinematic bundle adds that special quality to your images.
Here, we went with Sci-Fi as it gave us that cold and futuristic feel.
This Photoshop action will give your photos a beautiful faded look reminiscent of film photography.
7. Faux HDR Actions
Why go full HDR on your images when they often look overdone and over saturated?
This action just makes your image a little more punchy, without overdoing it.
Clarity in Camera Raw can be too overbearing and High Pass in Photoshop often doesn’t do enough.
This is a happy medium with controlled contrast and basic vibrance.
If you’re looking for fifty shades of grey in your photos, this black and white effect is perfect, as it’s not too severe, but still gives a professional look to your images.
It reacts nicely with portraits as well as landscapes.
The Winter Breeze action adds those cold tones and feeling to a warmer image.
3. Ice Action
With so many stunning warm filters, there are fewer top quality cold effects for your images.
This is one that can give a beautiful coolness to your images and leave the subjects smouldering.
If you want to give your photos an aged black & white look this Photoshop action will make it easy.
It will convert your photos to black & white and give them a subtle vintage or aged feel, without doing anything overpowering.
*Bonus* Old Film Photoshop Actions
This free Adobe Photoshop action from our friends at Shutter Pulse will give your photos an old film style look.
Better to go for this than trying to get the same style using film, where trial and error will eat away at your time.
If you’re looking for Lightroom presets, check out our 21 Best Resources for Free Lightroom Presets.