Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Installing 'Pro Photoshop Actions'

This is a quick and easy tutorial showing you how to install and play the 'Pro Photoshop Actions' on your computer.

First you need to 'Unrar' the downloaded .Rar file(which is similar to a zip file), which will automatically create a 'Pro Photoshop Actions' folder (containing the .Atn file) on your computer. Remember the location of the folder. WinRAR is a good free trial program to unrar the file for PC. Mac users can use the free UnRarX to unrar the file.

There are two simple ways to install the actions on your computer.

Option 1: Drag-and-Drop

  1. Open Photoshop and open the 'Pro Photoshop Actions' folder and position the two windows side-by-side.
  2. Click the action file (the one ending in ".atn") and while holding down the mouse button, drag the action to the Photoshop window and release.
  3. In Photoshop, open the Actions panel by going to the top menu bar Windows>Actions.You will find the 'Pro Photoshop Action' set in the Actions panel.

Option 2: Using the Actions Menu

  1. Another way to load an action is to use the menu in the Actions window. To open the menu, click the arrow in the upper right corner. 
  2. Then select "Load Actions" and browse to the 'Pro Photoshop Actions' folder on your hard disk and click on the action (.atn) file. 
Playing the 'Pro Photoshop Actions':

First, if the action set is closed, as it is in the above screen shot, you need to click the arrow to the left of the action set name to open the set.

Now that the set is open, you select the action you want to run by clicking on the name of the action, for example "B&W Retro" which will highlight the name. Then click the "Play" button at the bottom of the Actions window. The action will run and your image will be converted to B&W Retro in a new grouped layer leaving your original layer intact.


1. This is a simple trick to let you open a dialog box in an action so that it lets you dial in the settings. 

For example, take the Tone Eaqualizer action below, which has a Gaussian Blur command as one of its steps. The action is programmed  for a blur radius of 70pixels, and does it automatically without asking you. 

First of all, click the green circled arrow of any action to show all the steps. Second, to make the Gaussian Blur let you dial in the settings, the red circled box must be checked, like the image on the right in the red circle. 

Mostly this works only one way, when you need to make a dialog box appear. If a dialog box is checked, do not uncheck it, as no settings are dialed in, and the action will skip that step.

2. The black correct 'tick marks' in the checkboxes in the image below means that the steps are active. All the steps which are ticked correct in black are active. Sometimes, by user error, one of it may get unticked, and the action will skip that step. Look at the image below.

In the red circle on the left, the desaturate box is ticked and every thing will work as it should. If it gets unticked like the image on the right, the action will not give the desired effect and might add totally crazy, depending on the importance of the step. 

You will also notice, that Photoshop warns you with the two red tickmars (circled in red on the right image) on the main action and the action set that one of the step is unticked within and being skipped. As soon as you 'tick' on the blank checkbox, all the ticks will be black and the action will work fine.

Pro Photoshop Actions are designed with no blank tick mark, so if you see any red tick, now you know what to do.


  1. where can we download this software

  2. It will be available for download soon right here on this blog.

  3. How can I get the actions to work in a German language CS5??

    Thanks Michael

  4. The actions are designed for the English versions of Photoshop.
    But, there is a trick that might make the actions work in other languages: Just rename the default background layer to "Background" in English instead of German, and then run the action.

    Hope that works. Let me know.

  5. I downloaded UnrarX and it is not creating a .atn for me. Not sure why...any ideas? I work on a Mac version 10.6.7 - shouldn't have any problems. Frustrated, really want to play with these, please help!

  6. Nevermind - found one that works in the app store =) Thanks!!!!

  7. I'm glad it worked...anyway, here are some more options for a mac user:

  8. Sid, I've been playing with the actions (in CS5), but I've found that I need to lower the Opacity to 10%-20%. Is that normal, or am I missing something? I' been using actions for years, but it's rare that I've tuned things down that much.

  9. Hi Dave,It is not normal that you need to tune down the opacity so much. Which action in particular are you talking about? Also, a lot depends on the image it is being used on. You can mail me the before after...and i will retest the action on your image and let you know whats happening.

  10. Do any of these work with Elements. I am particularly interested in the skin actions to correct skin in headshots.

  11. Currently the actions are only designed for Adobe Photoshop CS versions, and not Elements.

  12. You can purchase the action sets here:
    After you make the payment, its available for instant download.

  13. By the way, if anyone is stuck on how to install Photoshop Actions, check out this guide: How to Use Photoshop Actions
    Cheers and happy Photoshopping!