How to Create Actions in Photoshop

Post-production is an important part of the photographic process but it isn’t something you should be spending days and days doing. Having a quick yet effective workflow is a distinct advantage when it comes to retouching, and using actions is one of the best ways to do this.

In this Photoshop class Karl looks at two methods you can use to speed up your retouching workflow: batch processing and actions. Karl explains how to use each of these techniques, the differences between them and the advantages of each. You’ll also learn how to create your own actions and how you can modify and delete them.

In this class:

  • Batch processing images
  • How to batch process files in Photoshop
  • Photoshop actions
  • How to create actions in Photoshop
  • The advantages of using actions
  • How to modify existing actions

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.

Common ways to use actions in Photoshop

If you’re not already using Photoshop actions in your retouching, there are a number ways you could be using this versatile and useful feature to speed up your workflow.

Throughout his retouching process, Karl commonly uses actions to perform tasks such as resizing images for web or creating commonly used layers.

Photoshop actions

Actions are a powerful Photoshop feature that be used to speed up your workflow.

Common ways you could use actions include:

  1. Resizing images for web: This simple task can be made even easier with the use of actions. We have a complete course of how to prepare your images for web, so it you haven’t yet seen that, make sure to watch it here.
  2. Create layers: Although it may only take a minute or so to create commonly used layers such as burn and dodge layers, using actions can help reduce this time to seconds rather than minutes.
  3. Applying common adjustments: Common tasks such as sharpening or contrast enhancements can all be done using actions. The advantage of this is that it’s not only quick, but you’ll also ensure consistency throughout your images.
  4. Adding a watermark: Adding this finishing touch to your images can be simplified by using actions. As with the previous point, using action will ensure both efficiency and accuracy.


  1. Hi Karl,

    i didnt actually get the difference btween the “fit image” and “image resize command”

    what would happened if we just put 2500 pixels for the width and height within the image resize command? wouldnt it have gave the same results as in the fit image?

  2. Gary Stasiuk

    One point you could touch on, when you want to record a complex action, you can first create small concise sub-routine actions recorded and saved such as creating your burn & dodge layers, and then activate those sub-routine actions during a recording of the complex action, such as creating a whole setup action which generates all sorts of prefab layers.

    Long way of saying complex actions can be composed or comprised of other actions in a recording. Then you can even reuse the same actions in different ways.

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