Photoshop actions are a great way to add some spice to stock photography or your own photos and designs, and free Photoshop actions are even better! While it’s always important to incorporate your own artistic flair into your designs, actions are good for getting those creative juices flowing. They let you see an image in a different light, making even the most mundane photos into works of art.
You can create your own Photoshop actions simply by hitting the record button in your actions palette in PS, and they’re often a godsend, especially when you want to batch-process a lot of images or give the same effects to a group of photos. The amazing artists below have given back to the design community by creating and sharing their very own free Photoshop actions. I’ve taken one of our photos and applied the following actions to them so you can see what a difference a little lighting, blending, texture, and fills can make. All links to the download sites are in the title heading if you hover over the artist.
Vintage Action by Vindauga
I love vintage actions, and this one is no exception. An oldie but a goodie, this vintage action by Vindauga plays with texture, edge effects, and color overlays, giving the image a truly antique feel.
Vintage Film Action by Fallout75
One of the best vintage actions I’ve come across, this vintage film action by fallout75 groups all effects into an overlay instead of merging layers at the end of the action, allowing you to manipulate all the layers to get the perfect vintage photo. A radial gradient overlay tops it off to create darkened edges, the finishing touch to any retro photo.
Photoshop Action Set 111 by Night-Fate
Night-fate is famous for her Photoshop actions. She’s created around 150 different action sets, all available at her dA site. I especially like how this action (#3 from set 111) works on nature photography as well as portraits.
Photoshop Action Set 26 by Night-Fate
This image was created using #3 from night-fate’s action set 26. Lots of blues and green tones.
Photo Coloring II by Iconmaker91
This action by Iconmaker91 increases overall saturation and gives a yellow wash over your image, creating a strikingly beautiful effect.
Oscar Pilch Photoshop Action 1 by w1zzy
Oscar Pilch is a young Polish graphic artist whose work is reminiscent of one of my favorite artists, Eduardo Recife. He’s put out one of his own Photoshop actions, which creates an aged look on your images.
Movie Effect Action by fraggedICE
This movie effect action by fraggedICE is detailed and dark, adding noise, great black and white effects, and black borders to create an old film effect.
Vintage Actions by love4art
Another beautiful set of vintage actions by love4art, this one allows you to create a light-vintage or dark-vintage effect depending on the tone of your original work.
50 Photoshop Postwork Actions by Manicho
50 Photoshop actions. ‘Nuf said.
Black and White Photoshop Actions by Ma’ani Studios
This action set features varying black and white effects. Try them all out–certain ones are better for certain images depending on light and contrast.
And that’s a wrap. Do you have any favorites we forgot to mention? Feel free to let us know!