SIG notes for May, 2015

For the May SIG Meeting 
The topic for this month was Photoshop Actions and using them for batch processing – doing the same thing, such as resizing an image, to a folder filled with your photos. We also looked at how to create, save and load actions that we created ourselves. Finally, we looked at some of the Actions that can be downloaded for free from the internet.

For the June SIG Meeting
Bill Ellemor
from Penfolk publishers will be the presenter for the June SIG. I have heard Bill when he presented to the InDesign Users Group several months ago. He is a delightful and informative speaker.

Actions are simply a set of recorded instructions that can be played over and over as many times as you like.
If you have used MS Office before, then you may have used a macro before. If this is the case, then you will have no trouble with actions in Photoshop.

So what is an action?
The simplest way to start is with part of a video that shows us how to get started with recording and then playing it back to see that it works. We’ll watch part of the video and then stop and repeat the exercise with a different action. This will give us a chance to break it down into smaller parts and make it easier to play with.

So we have just seen how to record an action and then to play it back. Let’s give it a try.

Exercise 1 – Playing an action in PE
(1) Open PE.
(2) Open up one of your images in PE.
(4) Click on Image/Duplicate to avoid the Walk of Shame when you totally destroy the original by mistake. And the owner of the original image posts your mistake on their Facebook page for the world to see!

Image 1 - Window-Actions

Click on Window/Actions to open up the Actions panel

(5) The Actions Panel opens up.

(6) What follows is a demonstration during the SIG to show how to use some of the actions that come already loaded in PE. The bad news is that as far as I can tell, you can only create actions in Photoshop. Please let me know if I got this wrong.

Demo 1 – Faded Ink Action in PE
Demo 2 – Faded Ink with Vignette Action in PE

Note to PE users: Shift + Control + A is your keyboard shortcut for getting your photo to revert back to what you had before. Control + Z does not do the job since the action has several steps.

Exercise 2 – Recording an action in Photoshop
Note: This exercise is based on the video shown at the start of this post.  I wish I could come up with original ideas! But there you are.
(1) Open up one of your images in PS.
(2) Click on Image/Duplicate or use control + J to avoid the Walk of Shame.
(3) Click on the Create New Set button.

Image 3 - Create a new Action Set

Click on the button to create a new action set.

(4)  And call it May SIG Action 1. You should now see it listed at the bottom of the Actions panel.

Image 4 - Naming the new set of actions

Name the new action set.

(5) Next, click on the Create a new action icon.

Image 5 - Create a new Action

Click on the icon to start recording a new action.

(6)  Two things will happen. First you get a dialogue box that comes up asking you to name the action. Type in a name for your action that is descriptive so that when you come back later you have some idea of what it is about.
(7) Click on the Record button and then start your steps that you want to be in your action. Photoshop will remember each and every one. Including your mistakes. It might be a good idea to actually write them out so that you have a guide to follow.

Image 6 - Record a new Action

Click on the icon create a new action and to begin recording.

(8) Once you have clicked on the record button, it changes to a bright red dot to indicate that you have started recording.

Image 7 - Recording has started

The red button shows that recording has started.

(9) These are the steps from the video. They are only an example! You do not have to repeat it blindly.

  • Layer/New Adjustment Layer/Gradient Map
  • Click OK on the New Layer dialogue box.
  • Click on the drop down arrow in the Gradient Map properties and select the Violet, Orange gradient.
  • Lower the Layer Opacity to 70%.
  • Change the layer blend mode to hard Light.

(10)  And now you have created an action in Photoshop. Try it out on some other images and see how you go.

Exercise 3 – Downloading, Loading and saving Photoshop Actions
(1) Go to Google and put in the phrase “free actions for Photoshop”.
(2) I went to this link  ( and selected one called Sunny Photoshop Actions.  Pick one that appeals to you.
(3) It’s time to read the instructions.

Image 8 - Sunny Photoshop actions


(4) In this case you have to go to the upper right hand corner of the page to find the download button.

(5) Click on the Download Button and save the file to a folder of your choice. You could create a folder on your desktop labelled Photoshop actions. Unzip the Actions that you have down loaded.

Image 9 - Download button for deviant art

Confusing isn’t it?


OK. That is the first part done. You have downloaded some actions to try.

(6) Go back to the Photoshop Actions panel and click on the drop down arrow shown circled in red.
(10) Click on the Load Actions text.

Image 10 - Load commands

Click on the drop down arrow on the right. then click on the Load actions text.

(11) Go to where you saved and click on the file with the extension .atn. This will load the actions into PS/PE.

Image 11 - Find the actions

(11) This is what I have now. The large red ellipse shows three of the actions that I have loaded. The smaller red circle shows the Play button that I will use in my next step.

Image 12 - actions are loaded and here is the Play button.

Loaded actions ready to go. Just click on the Play button. Sit back and watch it all happen. Woo hoo!

(13) Select the action that you want to try. I have selected Joyful Action to try.
(14) Click on the Play button and it all happens automatically.
(15) Here is a slide show of the original that I have used and the three actions that I loaded.

Further Information
Here are some resources that you may find helpful to give you a bit more knowledge and experience with Actions in PS/PE.

(1) The most comprehensive set of tutorials that I have found are here at:

(2) Here is the PE 13 help manual:

So there you are! An explanation of you can use actions in PS/PE. So now you can go online and download, save and add different Actions to your PS/PE to help you save time and effort.  You can also try recording your own actions to see how you go.

Photoshop Challenge for July
Have a go with some of the Photoshop Actions  in PS/PE. Send in the Before and After photos as jpgs so that they be posted on the Photoshop SIG website. Please send them to me (

That’s all, folks!


About woldham

Concise! Retired and loving it!
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