How to use Actions in Photoshop


Posted by Lucas Cobb Design in Photoshop, Tutorials on July 31st, 2010 with 5 Comments

In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to use actions in Photoshop. It’s important to know how to use actions because they help automate a process in Photoshop. Say you took a picture of a tree and wanted to make it look dirty and grungy. Well you could take an hour playing around with levels, contrast, brightness and any other thing you can think of or you can use an action specifically made for that task.

The easiest way to use actions is by going out and downloading a pre-made action set up for a specific task like making a photo look dark. Follow these steps and you will learn how to use Photoshop Actions like a pro.

Step 1

Find a picture you would like to end up dark and grungy looking. I’ve chosen this picture and you can download it from Flickr here to follow along if you like or you can get your own.

antique clock

Step 2

Next we will open up our image in Photoshop and open the Actions tab.

photoshop actions

Step 3

Next we will download a custom action to give this photo a dirty grungy look. You can download that action here. The download button is on the right side of the page at the top. The action is called Diabolical.


Step 4

We will now go back to Photoshop and load the action. Click on the arrow in the top right corner of your actions panel and you will see “Load Action” in the drop down list.

actions pannel

Click that and double click on the action you downloaded.

load diabolical

Step 5

Click on Diabolical in your Actions pannel and it will run automatically and your picture will change before your eyes. Quick Tip – (If you want to go back to your original image use your history panel). Your picture will end up looking like this and you are finished. Follow these steps for any other actions you want to use. Automation is amazing.



If you have any questions or anything from this tutorial let me know in the comments and I’ll get back to you. Let me know if you have any other actions you just can’t live without in your Photoshop arsenal. Take care and look forward to more tutorials like this in the future.

Posted in Photoshop, Tutorials using the Tags: , , , ,

My name is Lucas Cobb and I'm the founder of Lucas Cobb Design and a partner here on I look forward to your comments and suggestions. Also, please follow me on Twitter.

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5 Responses to “How to use Actions in Photoshop”

  1. Brett Widmann says:

    Great tutorial! It was very easy to understand.

  2. This was very cool. Had forgotten how to do this whole process because I haven’t used Photoshop in a bit. Love that you provided the image and the action. Thx.

  3. Wendy says:

    Awesome, Thanks! Im new to PS and a Mac. It was just a bit different on the Mac but this got me started and I was able to figure it out! YAY

  4. Kevin says:

    Downloaded one of your Actions for PS loaded into Action Tab ok but when I go to press the button to apply it i can’t press it…
    Any ideas ???


  5. Jayesh says:

    It was like my first hand experience on Ps Actions.
    Understood everything.
    Thanks a lot.


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