Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Actions for Elements

Two years ago when I got my camera, I also purchased Photoshop Elements 6. At the time, my brain was completely overloaded with information and something had to go, so I kind of gave up on PSE. I mostly used it for putting together photo collages and the annual Christmas card. I've read on blogs about all the awesome actions that people are running on their photos, but as far as I knew they weren't available for Elements so I didn't pay very close attention. What's the point of learning something you don't have access to right?

WRONG!

Today a friend on Facebook reminded me of a website I'd seen before but never invested too much time in. She was pretty enthusiastic so I decided to give it another go. I spent hours pouring over this website, TheCoffeeshopblog, reading through the excellent tutorials, downloading a bunch of her FREE actions that WORK with Elements and eventually getting them successfully installed on my Mac. I tried this two years ago and promptly gave up because I was afraid my head might explode, but today I did it and my noggin is intact. I think it even grew a little bigger to hold my now smarter brain.

Once we got the boys in bed tonight I was able to sit down and just concentrate for about three hours and I think it's starting to click. I'm working on a photo album for my side of the family for Christmas (don't worry, by the time any of them read this post it will be about three months AFTER Christmas) so I had a batch of pictures from two summers ago I was experimenting on.

Here's some before and afters. Actions can't help a bad photo be good, but they can definitely help a good photo be great.

Before:

After:

Before:

After:



Before:

After:

Before:

After:

I used TheCoffeeShop Vivid action on these. There were dozens more, but I didn't think my brain would handle it well if I threw too many options into the mix. Baby steps into Action Land. It just color corrected, boosted the contrast to pop the colors, and then allowed me to lighten and darken areas of the photo as I wished. I can see there will be a learning curve to this, just like with all things Photoshop related, but I'm encouraged to continue. I was amazed at the vast amount of information available on that site, and it's all free! There was a list of tutorials that makes my head spin, so I'm going to take those on in small bites.

My dream is still to own Aperture 3 or full Photoshop someday, but in the meantime I will not be bored.


For those of you who asked about photo collages last time, I'm working on an easy tutorial to show how I've been doing it. But in the meantime, make sure and pay a visit to this blog. I'm going to be camped out there for a while.













5 comments:

  1. So glad you're enjoying the world of Actions!! The photos you posted on this blog post are awesome! Oh, btw, I LOVE your blog header! So cute!

    Brittney

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  2. Thanks for the info friend. I just got my trial version of Aperture and am going to play around with it tonight. If you had Aperture would that replace your desire for actions or would you still be as interested to learn about them? Looking forward to your post about photo collages!

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  3. Oh you're going to have so much fun with that program. I'm bummed that I used up my trial already, but I'm hoping to get it for Christmas. My guess is yes, it would eliminate my desire for actions because Aperture uses "presets" which are basically the same thing. The nice thing about aperture though, is that you can edit a picture fairly intuitively (without knowing all the jargon) and when you get it looking like you want you can save it as a new preset, which is essentially like creating your own actions. It would take me years to learn how to do that on Photoshop. I'm curious to learn about actions because I think it will help me become a better photo editor in general, but I do admit that it's rather a large pain in the butt.

    I'm looking forward to using Aperture for photo editing and organization and keeping Elements for digi scrapping. After I actually have both programs to work with I'll obviously be able to tell you a lot more :)

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  4. Thank you for reminding me about the CoffeeShop lady! I haven't visited there in quite a while and have missed so much...

    Have you downloaded The Pioneer Woman's free actions for PSE? They're great! http://thepioneerwoman.com/photography/2010/03/pioneer-woman-actions-for-photoshop-elements/

    Also, if you look at last week's posts at writeclickscrapbook.com, there are some very user-friendly tutorials for doing a few different Photoshop techniques. The gal who did them used to be a paper scrapper and just recently went digital, so she approaches it in a very understandable way!

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  5. Melissa, THANK YOU for the links!!!! I adore Pioneer woman but when she posted that I was in the "ignore all talk of actions they are not for you" phase. And I was so tickled to see that article at writeclickscrapbook (which I have never heard of~ love it!) was written by Rebecca Cooper, who I've always been a fan of. I don't know how or when I stopped following her blog, but obviously I've been missing out. Thanks for the great tips, I will enjoy them!

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