18 Best Free Photoshop Actions

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Free Photoshop actions transform a regular image into something jaw-dropping in a matter of seconds. Photoshop actions are a series of recorded, predefined steps that can be applied to a file, offering a handy shortcut to a stunning result. Most Photoshop actions handle the entire transformation, while others direct you through the necessary steps to achieve the effect.

Photoshop actions work by loading an ATN file into Photoshop; this file has been configured with all the necessary steps to edit an image, sometimes dramatically, in seconds. Photoshop actions are easy to use and produce stunning results.

For more ways to transform Photoshop creations, check out tools such as free Photoshop brushestexturestemplatesfilters, and shapes. There are also lots of free alternatives to Photoshop if you're looking for an editing program.

Normally, double-click an ATN file to open it. If that doesn't work, ensure the Actions palette is open from the Windows menu in Photoshop, then click its small menu item (near the top right of the Actions panel), and choose the Load Actions option.

Some of these Photoshop actions are downloaded in RAR files. Choose a free file extractor such as 7-Zip or PeaZip to unzip those ATN files.

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Pencil Draw Photoshop Action

Colored image versus a pencil drawn image using a free Photoshop action

This stunning Pencil Draw Photoshop action gives your image the look of a pencil drawing. This action places the sketch layer on top of the original.

Activating the free Photoshop action prompts you to adjust the blur of the new layer. As you adjust the blur to the left, the picture looks more like a sketch; adjusting it in the other direction produces a more realistic photo that simply looks black and white.

Once added to Photoshop, this action is called Propias, or Dibujo if viewing your actions in Button Mode

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Out of Bounds Photoshop Action

Screenshot of the Out of Bounds free Photoshop action

The Out of Bounds Photoshop action does nearly all the work for you to create this cool "popping out of frame" effect.

Two actions are included in this download, one for a flat image and one for a curled image.

This action is advanced; while you can alter the shadowing effects and positions of the frame and image with ease, you must manually select the part of the picture you want to pop out. This isn't too difficult for beginners if you closely follow the instruction prompts.

Register for a free account with PanosFX.com to access the download link.

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Portrait Photoshop Action

Screenshot of the Portrait free Photoshop action

This free Photoshop action is best achieved on a portrait image. You'll be asked to alter the sharpness and saturation manually, so the same image could have different effects depending on how you customize it.

This action is a bit more complex than others in this list because not all the steps are automated, but there are easy-to-follow instructions on the download page.

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Reflections Photoshop Action

Screenshot of the Reflections free Photoshop action

Create a striking image reflection with this tool that comes with three actions: one for a reflection below the image, another that's identical to the first but for transparent pictures, and one that splits the image into three parts.

Adjust the background colors, border size, reflection height, and other effects to get the perfect outcome.

Register for a free account with PanosFX.com to access the download link.

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Teeth Whitening Photoshop Action

Screenshot of white teeth from a free Photoshop action

This Teeth Whitening Photoshop action is perfect if you need a guided tour through whitening teeth, but it doesn't do everything automatically.

After starting the action you'll be told to select the teeth using one of the selection tools. Then select Play to finish the action.

Double-click the adjustment layer icon called Whiteness and adjust the Lightness to make the teeth as white as you want. Just don't go too white or it may not look very realistic.

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Folded Paper Photoshop Action

Folded paper free Photoshop action

This free Photoshop action creates an awesome folded-paper look. The image is readable but sits as if it's in 3D with shadows strategically placed behind it.

Everything in the image takes part in the effect, so make sure nothing else is on the canvas but the paper you want to appear folded. The background, layers, and gradient overlay effects are fully customizable after the action runs.

This action installs with the name www.psd-dude.com (Folded leaflet).

Create a free PSDDude account to access the download.

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Break of Day Photoshop Action

Break of Day free Photoshop action showing two pots and a pitcher with a morning glow effect

The Break of Day Photoshop action adds an old, dusty look to any image.

It's best to use a square image for this action. If you don't, when the action has finished running you may need to resize the top layer so the gradient effect isn't so obvious.

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Vivid Blur Photoshop Action

Screenshot of the Vivid Blur free Photoshop action

This free Photoshop action is very simple yet effective, applying a strong contrast with a Gaussian blur.

The action takes only a moment to apply, creating a new layer on top of the original one. Keep both layers present for the effect to remain or merge the layers before saving.

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Stickers and Tape Photoshop Action

Screenshot of a free Photoshop action with tape

The Stickers and Tape Photoshop action creates an image that looks taped down, as well as an image that looks like a round sticker peeling off paper.

The tape can be created anywhere on the paper because the tape layer is adjustable after you run the action. Add air bubbles under the tape for a more realistic look.

When the action completes, the border and background effects are editable.

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Polaroid Generator

Screenshot of the Polaroid Generator free Photoshop action

Produce a fun Polaroid effect with this free Photoshop action. The action has a few more steps than others in this list, but it's worth it.

First, run the RUN ME FIRST action and then choose another action, such as Type 600 Black&White for a black-and-white Polaroid. Color photo options are also available.

Once this action has finished running, move the image around within the Polaroid frame to get just the right shot without having to re-launch the action.

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Rainy Day Photoshop Action

Screenshot of the Rainy Day free Photoshop action

Use the free Rainy Day Photoshop action to create either a photo that appears to have rain falling or one with rain on the camera lens, depending on how you adjust the settings.

After running the action, you'll have full control over the size of the raindrops, fog, and other settings. Prompts instruct you on making smaller or larger drops and related configurations.

Alter the different effects and opacity of the layers even after the action completes to manipulate the effects without having to start over.

Run Mail Actionthen Little Drops and Condensation to complete the whole effect.

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Abbey Road Photoshop Action

Screenshot of the Abbey Road freePhotoshop action

Use the free Photoshop action Abbey Road if you need a quick and subtle change.

There's also an additional folder of actions in this file that applies a few swift brightness alterations.

If you list your actions in Button Mode, Acción 54 is the name of this particular action once opened in Photoshop.

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Go Boom Photoshop Action

Screenshot of the Go Boom free Photoshop action

Go Boom is a free Photoshop action with different settings to manipulate your image into a cool, retro-like photo.

Some of the prompts you'll be presented with include Gaussian Blur, Gradient Fill, Curves, Hue/Saturation, and Vibrance settings.

Once the changes are made, the image appears as a new Smart Object layer without affecting the layer you started with.

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Old Tones Photoshop Action

Screenshot of the Old Tones free Photoshop action

This free Photoshop action changes the hue, adds a grainy feel, sharpens the image, and creates adjustment and fill layers for charming effects.

After adding this action to Photoshop, find it by looking for the name Lieveheersbeestje Old tones V9.

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Skin Glow Photoshop Action

Skin Glow Enhancement free Photoshop action showing before and after of a woman's face

As the title suggests, the Skin Glow Photoshop action provides the illusion of glowing skin. The action targets the entire photo, not just the skin. The overall effect looks semi-professional and the blur effect may even serve as a quick solution to removing skin blemishes.

Look for the name iscarlett1 or action1byiscarlett in Photoshop to use this action after you've installed it.

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Sepia Photoshop Actions

Screenshot of Free Sepia Photoshop Actions

Warm up your photos with sepia effects with this free Photoshop action. There are seven different actions to choose from with varying shades of sepia.

After you add this action to Photoshop, it'll be called Sepia actions - freaky665, with each different action in its own subfolder.

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Photo Coloring Photoshop Action

Screenshot of the Photo Coloring free Photoshop action

This Photoshop action creates some fill layers, changes the layer mode, and makes numerous changes to enhance a photo's colors, creating an effect similar to the picture you see here.

This Photoshop action requires a particular type of image; it won't work on everything.

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Light Rays Photoshop Action

Screenshot of light rays free Photoshop action

Easily add stunning light rays to your image with a single click. This action also comes with a free tutorial on creating light rays in Photoshop.