Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating Instagram-like effects with actions, part of Photoshop for Photographers: Creative Effects.
This is a photograph that I captured a few years back when I was on a surf trip with some friends down in Mexico. And with this photograph I want to take a look at how we can apply those effects, which we see when we're using Instagram or Hipstamatic. You know those effects that you can create on those different apps that you have for your camera phone. Well, how can we do that in Photoshop? Well, we can do that by using Actions. And the Actions that I will be highlighting here in this movie really represent a larger group of actions that we can use in order to modify the color of our photographs in some incredibly creative ways.
All right, in order to highlight a few actions I'm going to open up my web browser and here you can see I'm at a particular site. This is a blog, it's a blog of Daniel Box. If you do a search for his name and also for the words Instagram Filters for Photoshop, it will take you to this section. Here if you scroll down you can see he shows a few examples of how these filters compare to the incredibly popular Instagram app. In this case you can see that the comparison is pretty close. If you scroll down to the bottom, what you can then do is you can download these actions for free.
And there are so many different actions out there that you can then download for free. So let's take a look at how we can download these and then use them. I've actually already downloaded them to my Downloads folder. You can see that I have this little ACTIONS icons here. Well, what we want to do is once you've downloaded the .atn file. You can simply double-click it. That will then install that action inside of Photoshop. Then to use it in order to apply those settings in to your photographs just click on the Play button here to open up your Actions panel, and now here you can see we have these instagram actions that were created by this particular person.
And it was incredibly kind of this person to kind of put in all the effort of building these actions and then to share them with us for free. Well, what you can do is you can use these or others that you'll find if you simply do a few searches. And many of these different actions allow us to do different things. For example, many of these apps create formats which are square. So let's say that we want to crop this image so that it's square. We can click on the action name and then press Play, and it will then crop the photograph. Next we want to apply a color effect.
To do that you can simply choose one of the color effects and then press the Play button. And it'll go through a number of different steps in order to modify your image in an interesting way. Last but not least say with one of these I want to add a border that's thin and white. So here I'll click on the Play button, and you can see that it'll add that border. And in this case, incredibly quickly, it's stimulated this instagram type of a look with a photograph that I captured with a digital SLR. And by working with color like this it could just help you think about different ways that you might want to process or work with your photographs.
This is incredibly powerful, so I recommend that you do a few searches for some Photoshop actions. Search for vintage color effects or instagram or hipstamatic. And then download the actions which are free and try them out for your self. Last but not least with these if you feel like you don't like what you've done here open up the Actions panel and right next to it on the other tab you'll find the History. Here it shows all the different steps that are involved in this action. We can click on the original image to reset this back to normal.
Let's say, for example, that we want to create our own crop or here we can use the Crop tool. Use a 1x1 aspect ratio then I can click and drag this around to reposition this crop. In a way that's a little bit less arbitrary. I'm deciding how I want to crop the photograph and then after having done that press Enter or Return in order to create that crop. Next we can then go back to those Actions and apply any of these. Here what I'll do is select a different action, go ahead and exit out of that Crop tool by pressing the V key, and then select an action say like Walden and then press Play and see how this one looks.
Next I'll try a different border out this time, I'll try a border which has a little bit of a color in it and then press Play so that we can see how that looks. And again here we have flexibility with these if we simply go back to our history. Yet I also need to point out that when you're working with this it is changing your image and flattening all that's been done to it. So you want to make sure that you're working on a duplicate or copy version of your photograph so that these changes aren't forever embedded in your image file.
And by working on copies or duplicates it can also help you to be a little bit more free or creative with how you use these type of actions in order to modify your pictures.
- Combining HDR (high dynamic range) toning with color effects
- Improving color with Curves and Color Balance
- Creating drama with lighting effects
- Adding realistic lens flare
- Creating a luminance blur
- Blending and masking in motion
- Performing HDR toning and black and white conversions
- Combining infrared with contrast and sharpness
- Crafting vintage color
- Adding borders and edges to a photo
- Finding and installing custom brushes and plug-ins