Saturday, January 14, 2012

52 Weeks of editing in elements: Week 2 Actions

52weeks 200x200 copy

You can view last week's tutorial  week 1 of 52 weeks of editing by clicking here.  I am really excited about sharing today's tutorial!! It turned out a little longer than I thought it would so I'll save cropping with rounded corners and creating new layers for later - today I want to show you some cool things you can do with actions in elements.

First of all I'll let you know - installing actions in elements is a pain. There is no way to get around it. There is an excellent tutorial by my friend Amanda at Everyday Elements which pretty much lets you know everything you need to know.

I'm going to do a mini-version here and share a couple little pointers that I've discovered. You'll want to refer to Amanda's tutorial if this is confusing.

There are actually two places where you can install and run actions in Elements.

One is here:
actions install1.jpg
The path is Program Data (which will only show up if your hidden files are turned on/displayed) > Adobe > Photoshop Elements > [whatever version of Elements you are running] > Locale > en_US > Workflow Panels > Actions

This will cause your actions to show up here:
To get to this pane you need to make sure you're in the "Effect" (orange tab) then you need to be in "Guided" mode and then (you can see it highlighted in the list of options there to the right) click on "Action Player" once you've clicked on "Action Player" this is what it looks like:

Some actions you might buy/download must be installed here. For example - the excellent set of FREE actions from Willette need to be run from here. The action set from Nodding Violet and also the set from Mandi's Actions are just a couple examples of actions sets that I have that need to be installed and run here. Those action sets are one file with several actions. If you don't install it here it runs as just one action.

There is another place where you can install actions and that is here:
actions install2.jpg
The path for this is Program Data > Adobe> Photoshop Elements> [version] > Photo Creations > Photo Effects

This is where the actions you install will appear: here in the " Effect > Full" area
The actions that are displaying are the free ones from the Pioneer Woman you can also get excellent actions for Elements from Paint the Moon (totally worth the price - try a couple for free here) and My 4 Hens (you can see her current freebies here)

If they don't display properly you'll need to close Photoshop Elements, delete the thumbnail database (click up a couple layers in the file folders and you'll see it) and re-start.

Moving on...
I'm going to show you how I run FREE Autumn Action set from Willette
In the Action Player choose the action set you want to run and then pick your action from the drop-down menu and click play action.
If you don't like the look of your action you can click "Revert" there on the lower right.

Pick a different action. If you like it but want to tweak it press "ctrl+z" (which will undo the flattening step within the action)
and then click over to "Full" (from the Guided tab you're currently in) and you'll see the layers of the action (if you don't press ctrl+z then your image will be flattened and you won't be able to edit it) . You can reduce the Opacity of the layer from here.

Here is another action I ran: it has more layers. I reduced the opacity of these layers: here is what it looks like at 100%

Here is what it looks like at 66%action7.jpg

Here is another way to revert to your original Edit> Revert.

You can also run actions from the Effects pane and edit the layers from there.

Okay - so leave your questions and I'll break it down a little further if that would be helpful.

Week 2
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Every week I'll include a task to practice and an image to practice it on, if you'd like, as well as a link-up to show your work! This week: If you'd like to practice you can use this image. Add an effect to it, reduce the opacity of the layers within the effect,  post it on your blog and link up here! If you apply any other edits be sure to mention them in your post :)

Grab a button below for your post and link up anytime before next Saturday!  Next week I'll show you how to create, group and re-order layers. Let me know if there is anything else you've been wanting to learn!

52weeks 200x200 copy

Live, Love, Travel
I'm linking up here


  1. This is a goo tutorial wish this was out when I was installing in the beginning with that being said I now install all my in Photo Creations so that I can see them all at once

  2. You have no idea how much I am LOOOOOVING this. I got Elements last Mother's Day, & am still lost. It's the 1st photoshop program I've used. I always just get super frustrated, & then use Piknik! Seriously, this is like a gift, THANK YOU.

    When I have some "mama time" later tonight, I'll play around & link up! First off I need to figure out how to even install an action. Lol)

  3. Thank you, what a great tutorial!! I'm an action junkie and use them a lot, but I didn't realize I can also install them the 2nd way - it's been quite impractical to switch from the full mode to guided to run actions. Also the tips about the freebies were great. I have now one set of bought actions from Florabella (Luxe) and I love it, I can really recommend it to everyone! I've noticed that not all free actions are worth downloading, so I'll be sure to use your tips.
    I also have a question: do you have any experience on RadLab? Not on their actions, since they're not PSE compatible, but their new RadLab-product with stylets. If you want my email address for commenting, it's

  4. I cant wait for this!! :) very excited :)

  5. Thanks again!! I'm loving this series.

  6. I'm so glad you linked up this tutorial! It goes so perfectly with my post on actions!

  7. Brilliant! Thanks for the tutorial! I have had PSE 7 for years now it seems and now I can finally figure out how to use it:)


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