Adobe Photoshop is an amazing bit of software. So amazing that most people never get past the rough surfaces to the really cool stuff hidden under all those tabs and drop-down menus. Among the many useful things are actions for Photoshop, which are just a series of steps that are saved to a file for later use. Adobe Photoshop lets you import other people’s actions as well as write your own. Writing your own Photoshop Actions is a good idea, as your taste in Plug-Ins and Filters may not be the same as everyone else’s. Of course, the core Photoshop Filters are pretty cool all on their own.
Plug-ins for Photoshop have been around forever, and with a well stocked plugin folder(there are hundreds of Photoshop Plug-ins) you can do everything from making an image look like a Silver Print to making it look like a Planet. A lot of plugins are just silly in nature, and don’t add much to Adobe Photoshop. Adobe Photoshop Actions collections have been around for a while as well. There are a lot places that offer Free Photoshop Actions, and give you tips on how to use them.
I recently heard of Kubota Photoshop Actions and they look pretty good. There are a lot of actions in the Artistic Packs and I have a particular fondness for Black and White actions. I took my image of George Washington Carver’s Jessup Wagon and ran in through two of Kubota’s Actions, Sepia with Dark Black and Vibrant Glow. I added a bit of Noise and then put a small broder around the image. This was not a Kubota border, just a simple Photoshop one. Most actions use a lot of Photoshop layers, which is really the power of Photoshop. One my personal favorite Photoshop Techniques is to just click through the Layer Options and see if I can find one that looks especially good.
The trouble with a lot of Photoshop Plug-ins in that they are just as complicated as using the normal Photoshop techniques. The Kubota Actions don’t give a ton of options, you just run them and they pretty much take care of themselves. You do get the option to lessen the effects by erasing them in areas that you want to remain sharp. It is also easy to delete the effects layers and get back to the original image if you change your mind. The effects are fun, though you may find that you don’t have much need for some of them. I find that Photoshop’s noise is good enough for most of my needs, for example. But I would still recommend these Actions, as anything that makes using Adobe Photoshop easier is a good thing. There are a lot Actions to choose from, of course, the better the image you start with, the better the end results.