Freeware Friday: Photoshop Actions

My work lately has involved a lot of automation and actions, so I thought to introduce you to some good sources of actions ready for your use!

If you’re not using actions yet, you probably should be. Photoshop’s robust framework for building and executing actions makes reptitive tasks much easier. I am using them now to process catalog images for a website I’m designing. Here are more sources for top-quality actions:

Adobe Studio Exchange
From the Adobe corporate website, the Studio Exchange has actions of all varieties and a lot of them are both reliable and useful.

Action Fx’s free Photoshop downloads
This webpage specializes in type treatments, such as adding metal effects and textures to type. There’s also an interesting set of pencil sketch actions. If you visit, you’ll also see a subscription-based members area with even more actions and Photoshop downloads.
A website with a heavy focus on Photoshop actions and offering quite a few downloads (most of them text effects). Some of the featured actions are only for sale.

Despite the peculiar name, this webpage has a set of downloadable actions and a helpful walkthrough of how the actions work. If you’re an action newbie, I highly recommend a visit to this page and some time experimenting to achieve the effects. Side note: this website is built with XHTML and CSS and implements the ability to change the layout and style with CSS switching. A good primer for those also interested in the power of CSS formatting.

Photoshop CS2 comes with a load of great actions that don’t necessarily show up in the Actions palette.

Photoshop’s preset actions
You may not know that Photoshop CS2 comes with a load of great actions that don’t necessarily show up in the Actions palette, like they used to. To access them, go to the Actions palette flyout menu; the action families will be listed at the bottom, and there’s a lot of actions in each family so you’ll spend a lot of time trying each one out!