Frequently Asked Questions

How do I install actions?

Before installing your actions in your software, I recommend you save them in a folder on your hard drive. Maybe have a folder especially for your actions, they will be easy to find, and you’ll have a backup copy should anything happen to your editing program. Files need to be unzipped before installing.
The actions you will find in my shop or on my blog are all designed for Photoshop CS or Elements only, do not try to install them in any other editing software, instead search for scripts intended for them.
If you do not see some of the folders, they may be hidden, so make sure you select Show Hidden Files and Folders through the folder options feature in your control panel.
On Macs, make sure you start in the Library for All Users, not for one specific user.
**If you are using resources from this blog, files listed for CS are intended for CS only. Files listed as PSE 7&UP are the ones intended for the Action Player in PSE. Files listed as PSE 5&6 are the ones that come with the individual action files and thumbnails. Those can be installed in PSE 5 and up using the Photo Effects folder.**

Installing Actions in Photoshop CS (any version) or Elements 11
Open Photoshop, go to your Actions palette. If you don’t see it or never used it, go to > Window > Actions (or Alt+F9). You should see an added panel. On its upper right corner there is a develop button, click on it and you will get the drop down menu for the Actions palette. Select Load Actions, browse through your folders and retrieve your action file. It has to be an .atn file. It will be installed instantly, no need to restart Photoshop.

Installing Actions in PSE 7 & UP using the Action Player
The Action Player is a feature available only in newer versions of PSE, it allows actions to be loaded as a set, and require no thumbnails. It is found in the Guided Edit mode.
Make sure Elements in closed before navigating through your folders.
To install your actions follow this path:

Windows XP
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Adobe\Photoshop Elements\7.0 (or whatever version you have)\Locale\en_US\Workflow Panels\actions

Vista
C:\ProgramData\Adobe\Photoshop Elements\7.0 (or whatever version you have)\Locale\en_US\Workflow Panels\actions

Mac
Library\Application Support\Adobe\Photoshop Elements\7.0 (or whatever version you have) \Locale\en_US\Workflow Panels\Actions

As for CS, file need to be an .atn file, and as I mentioned, no need for thumbnails in the action player. If you are using resources from this blog, make sure you select the actions sets intended for PSE 7&UP, as the features in CS and PSE are not the same and actions designed for CS might not run correctly in PSE.

Installing Actions in PSE 5&UP using the Photo Effects Folder
Installing the actions in the Photo Effects folder require individual actions, not sets. They also require to have their .psd or .png thumbnails. If your action does not come with the thumbnail you can easily make one, make sure it’s 64pxX64px in size, same name as the action file. If you are using resources from this blog, files listed for PSE 5&6 are the ones that come with the individual action files and thumbnails.
Make sure Elements in closed before navigating through your folders.

Windows XP
C:\Documents & Settings\All Users\Application Data\Adobe\Photoshop Elements\5.0 (or whatever version you have)\Photo Creations\Special Effects\Photo Effects

Vista
C:\Program Data\Adobe\Photoshop Elements\5.0 (or whatever version you have)\Photo Creations\Photo Effects

To install in PSE on a Mac

System Library
-Application Support
-Adobe
-Photoshop Elements
-7.0 (or whatever version you have)
-Photo Creations
-Photo Effects
Next, navigate to the following location and rename the Mediadatabase.db3 file to MediadatabaseOLD.db3.
System Library
-Application Support
-Adobe
-Photoshop Elements
-7.0 (or whatever version you have)
-Locale
-en_US
Restart Elements and you are done.

I get an error when running an action, why?

Many actions require working on a layer called “Background”. Make sure your base layer is in fact called “Background” otherwise the commands in the actions won’t be able to recognize the “Background” layer.
Maybe you are running too many actions on top of one another. I suggest you flatten or duplicate the image then flatten, so you’re left with only one “Background” layer for the actions to work on.

I ran the action, but the effect doesn't seem to be applied, why?

The action is probably a paint-on action. That means that the layer mask is painted black, and you need to paint over it with a white brush the reveal the effect. Remember the basic rule of layer masks, black conceals, white reveals.

I feel that the result of the actions are too strong or too light, or do not fit my style. What can I do?

All of my actions are customizable, that means that all the layers are open for you to adjust them. And they need to be adjusted, not one photo is the same, so to get the most professional results out of them, they need to be tweaked to fit your image exposure and toning. Slide the opacity of every layer up or down, use the layer masks to paint over skin to avoid color casts, that way your actions will be perfect for YOU. You can also slide the opacity down for the whole group at once.

Which software allows the use of textures and overlays?

Textures and overlays can only be used in an editing software that allows layering. That means, Photoshop CS, CC or Elements, Gimp, Corel’s PaintShop Pro and OnOne Perfect Photo (with layers). You can’t use textures or overlays in Lightroom unless you add a layering plugin to it.

Which blending modes do you recommend for textures and overlays?

That’s a tricky question. It all depends on the results you want to achieve. Some like stronger texture some prefer a more subtle effect. I tend to use Soft Light and Overlay the most, at reduced opacity. I will sometimes duplicate the texture and blend it in Multiply at a very low opacity to darken some areas.
Overlay, Soft Light, Hard Light and Vivid Light add contrast.
Lighten, Screen and Color Dodge make it lighter.
Darken, Multiply and Color Burn make it darker.

How do I remove unwanted texture from some areas, like a face?

To remove the texture from some areas of your photo, three easy ways.
The first and the one I recommend is painting over the texture layer with a soft brush with a colour you picked from within the texture itself. With your texture in Normal mode and at 100% opacity, use the Dropper tool to pick a colour from the texture, a mid-range one, not too light, not too dark. Reduce the opacity of your layer so you can see what is underneath in order to be able to paint over the surface where you want the texture to be smoother. With a soft brush, at a reduced opacity, between 35-60%, paint over the face, skin, or other areas where you want the texture to lose its details. This method is my favorite because it allows you to keep the tint of the texture in the painted areas.
Second method is using the Magnetic Lasso tool. Use it to determine the area. Then run a Gaussian Blur Filter to clear the texture from the selected area. The higher blur value you set, the clearer it gets. So, go for a 250 value. This is method also allows the skin to retain some of the texture tint, so it looks naturally blended. But it’s a longer process than simply painting.
The third is by creating a layer mask. Remember that where it’s white the texture shows, where it’s black it doesn’t show. Paint with a black brush over the layer mask and the texture will be erased from the areas where you painted. You can adjust the opacity of the brush to fade the texture along the edges of the area.